HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I don't know about you, but I can't believe it's already THANKSGIVING! But, it's finally setting in... and I have a great deal for which to be grateful this year. It's great timing to give thanks...
Wow, do I have a lot to write about. God has been so good... and I have news to share!... First things, first, though.
This past weekend, Sr. Laura, the 3 SM first year novices, the SM novice director and the SM assistant novice director headed up to Cleveland, Ohio for a few days (Friday - Monday). Why Cleveland? Besides the fact that 3 people in our group have strong connections there because of past ministries/community involvements, we traveled there to come to know the Marianist Family in the area, to serve, and to experience another ministry of the Marianists.
It was a GREAT weekend. The ministries with which the Marianists Brothers & Priests (Society of Mary... "SM") are involved are so life giving and necessary... in my humble opinion. They serve in a high school (Villa Angela - St. Joseph's, which is on Lake Erie, by the way), in a parish (St. Aloysius) and in a parish grade school (St. Agatha-St. Aloysius). What great work! Not only that, but the people in the parish & the Lay Marianist presence are welcoming and warm. Even though I had never met most of these people before, I felt at home there.
We had a busy weekend - meeting people, helping distribute close to 700 bags of food to people in the neighborhood (yes, close to 700... once a month... and it's SO ORGANIZED!), going to the art museum, meeting friends of one of our SM novices, etc. It was a good initial immersion, in a way, to the culture/environment of inner-city Cleveland. I could go on for a while about the experience. However, I'll spare you the details. I'll end my thoughts on the trip by stating that I never cease to be amazed... anywhere I go, if I meet other Marianists in the area (Lay, SM, or FMI) I feel a sense of being at home. That's a good sign.
This week in our community we are having what's called our Provincial Visitation. Members of our Provincial Administration are here on their official visit with our community. Sr. Vange, our Provincial, and Sr. Gretchen (novice director and member of our leadership team) are here with us. In addition to communicating information and "checking in" with the community, there were meetings and much conversation concerning my stay here in Dayton (evaluation and planning). And a decision was reached by the Provincial Council and the Formation Personnel.
So, what's the plan, you ask??? Well, let me fill you in...
I will remain in the Dayton community until April. Next semester, though, will be a little different in terms of ministry so that I can focus a little more on my own formation, some vocation ministry and on the Marianist LIFE program (for information about LIFE see: http://www.marianist.com/ministries.php?pid=47).
In mid-April, I will return to San Antonio for a more reflective time to prepare for my first profession of vows. The 2 months of vow prep will look a lot like my first year of novitiate... with a lot of prayer, reflection, discernment... it'll be like a mini-sabbatical with God. That's something to look forward to!
God willing, I will profess vows on Saturday June 21st in San Antonio. I can hardly believe that. Wow! Of course, I will formally request vows and then there is a process the Sisters will enter before that request is granted. Hence, "God willing"...
After vows I will have some "down time." In that time, I'll go visit my dad and sister (the one who lives in Austin), I'll sort through all my boxes etc. that I left behind in San Antonio and I'll prepare for Marianist LIFE-South 2008 (July 19-29).... THEN...
I will be a member of our Dayton Community as a temporary professed sister. Yes, you read correctly. I'm not going back to San Antonio for ministry.
So. How do I feel about that? I'm excited... I'm nervous... I'm sad about not being with the people in Texas who are family/friends... I'm happy/at peace... I'm glad not to be living in ambiguous territory... Overall, though, I'm happy with the council's decision.
Well, I have to get going. There is much to do today... And much for which to give thanks!
Many blessings to all who read this!