Changing the only person we have the power to change

Sr. Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

Wow! I’ve been thinking about this since last week’s gospel. It’s hard to do … even as a Catholic Sister!

We all have people in our lives we’d rather not have to deal with. Maybe they have been harsh with us, maybe they have been cold. Maybe we’ve been unkind to them in return. Continue Reading

Pull off the covers and get up!

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

We are called eventually to get up, pull off the covers, get out of our comfortable existence. It is life-giving to go outside. – Br. Guy Consolmagno (Give Us This Day)

I remember the day as clearly as yesterday. I was sitting in a meeting with my superintendent, my principal and other teachers learning how wonderfully our Catholic school system was doing. We were thriving; the future was bright. My future was … unknown, to say the least. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #5: Keeping "death" private … and sharing resurrection with the world

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

At last the sun is shining as we gather on our final morning for retreat. The sky is a brilliant blue, the leaves below are many shades of green waving in the breeze. Heaven!

After 4 days of wandering in the Old Testament wilderness, we come into the New Testament. Here, the word for wilderness is cross. Our way now is to follow Jesus … to complete the interior dying that he modeled. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #4: Wrestling in the Wilderness

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

The scent of coffee fills the dining room as the Sisters gather, by foot and by wheelchair, for our 4th day of retreat. Today we are treated to the story of Jacob, which we are reminded to read as our own story.

Jacob, whose name means “to grab,” spends a goodish portion of his life taking advantage of others, and controlling whatever he could control. Indeed, when God visits him, Jacob says he will worship Him if God makes good on his promises. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #3: Trusting our Guide along the way

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Overhead lamps cast a warm glow in the dining room where we have gathered for Day #3. It’s been raining, gently and intermittently, for 2 days. Sister Mary Schmidt’s lettuces are thriving!

Abbot Jerome opened our session this morning by saying there are 2 steps to accepting a vocation. The 1st is to ACCEPT it, but we can get stuck there when we accept it with bitterness or halfheartedness. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #1: The Wilderness is the Way

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

At long last, retreat time has arrived at St. Mary Monastery. A profound quiet fills our hallways and rooms. Many smiles and pats on the shoulder replace conversation. The sense of relaxation is palpable.

What do we do during retreat? In some ways, nothing different from usual. We follow our same schedule, give or take an hour. That is, we gather for Lauds, Noonday Prayer, Vespers and Eucharist. We pray Lectio Divina. We take our meals together at noon and 5:30. Continue Reading

Listening with renewed vigor on Pentecost

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Today is the feast of Pentecost. What does that mean? As Father Karl Rahner wrote, “God is ours…he has given us His whole being without reserve; He has given us the clarity of His knowledge, the freedom of His love and the bliss of His Trinitarian life. He has given us Himself. And His name is Holy Spirit. He is ours … God is our God: that is the glad tidings of Pentecost.”

If God is ours and has given God’s whole being to us, what does it mean? What should we do?

We hear that God expects nothing in return, which is comforting but not an answer.

Think how much we expect from God. Should we not give back? Should we not live our lives as we are called? Continue Reading