Saturday, June 28, 2008

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants.
The question is: what are we busy about?
Henry David Thoreau

It's been a week. One week ago today I was about to head to the church... setting things out... listening to the choir rehearse... practicing the profession of vows... talking to the priests...

In many ways, last weekend seems like it was a month ago. And in other ways, the emotions are still strong enough to make it seem like yesterday.

Prior to professing vows, as you may recall, I went on an 8-day silent retreat. Immediately after the retreat our sisters had our assembly. Then my family and friends were here until earlier this week. Since then, it seems I've been "making up for lost time"...

I've been catching up with friends and working. Working? Yes...

Each summer since 2001, except for last summer, I've been working with a program called Marianist LIFE. It's a national program for small groups of high school students. I like to call it an immersion into the Marianist charism. The students build community, learn leadership skills, get in touch with their relationships with God and others, and learn about the Marianist charism so that they can take what they've learned and build Marianist community in their school or parish. Feel free to check out the website at:

This summer, I have the humbling blessing of serving as the regional coordinator for the program that happens in Texas. There are 3 sites - northern California, Dayton OH, and Central Texas. This is my first summer to serve in this capacity.

Throughout my second year of novitiate I did bits and pieces of work for LIFE - a meeting here, a conference call there, a few typed resources. However, during the first 3 weeks of June I did absolutely nothing for LIFE. I think that's how it should be, right? Preparing for vows takes priority, obviously.

However, since vows and since my family has gone, I'm am certainly making up for the 3 weeks... But... in the 3 weeks, time was not "lost."

That brings me to the above quote. Today I am reflecting on the busyness of this week.

What am I busy about? Reconnecting with friends and tying up loose ends for a program that starts in less than a month. Both good things, yes? I believe so. I'm realizing that I would not have the energy for any of it, though, if were not for the 3 weeks of not doing it at all.

When I first started novitiate I prayed with a mantra based on a story from the Old Testament. The mantra was, "Drink deeply from the wellspring of prayer, else the journey will be too long." How true, how true! The energy, zeal, passion for ministry can only come from a life deeply rooted in prayer and reflection. Otherwise... I may as well be an ant...

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N
(by the way, I will post more pictures from last weekend soon...)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life gives us brief moments with another...
but sometimes in those brief moments
we get memories that last a life time.

As promised, I'm posting yet again. This time, I have a few pictures to share with you about the weekend. 

[Disclaimer... This post has changed several times in the past 24 hours. I couldn't get the pictures to come out the way I pictured them. So, I uploaded them into a photo album through Picasa.]

Celebration of First Vows

I have to admit... I haven't taken the time to sit and truly reflect on what this past weekend (and the weeks immediately preceding) have meant to me. My "practical" side has been in high gear in since Thursday. I say this because once I've had the time to reflect and pray about what these days have meant, I will most likely post again!

The Night Before: The Trahan Family meets the Sister...

First Profession of Vows - Liturgy

Because I've been in a number of choirs, I know some pretty awesome singers & musicians... and most of them were able to be a part of the choir. They were REALLY good! There were 3 prelude songs by very important people in my life. My sister, Grace, sang the Ave Maria and gave the whole congregation chills...


We decided to keep the reception somewhat informal... it was finger foods, a cake, and beverages.

The quote on the cake, "Do whatever he tells you" is a very important quote in the Marianist world. It is our motto, of sorts. As Marianists we vow to serve the world's needs in whatever way God leads us to serve.

What's not pictured here is that on Sunday morning we had a Sunday liturgy in our Sisters' chapel. My family who were still in town and a few friends were able to stick around were present. That liturgy was followed by a very festive (and tasty!) brunch. Then... my sister, Grace and I took her two children to a water park in New Braunfels.

Monday morning I took the last group of people to the airport...

So, now here I sit. I'm left to ponder, like Mary, the meaning of these things in my heart. And believe me, there is much to ponder! Not only was the first profession this weekend, but two weeks ago I was on a FABULOUS retreat and last week our sisters had our Assembly gathering (which was also WONDERFUL!).

I will leave you now... there is much more to say, but the pondering needs to come first.

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N

... let all those who put their trust in You rejoice: 
let them ever shout for joy...
Psalm 5:11

Wow... it's been quite the two weeks! If I wrote about everything, you'd be reading for a very long time!

I have been trying to post pictures and a few comments for about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, I don't have time right now to keep working. However, I wanted to let you know that this weekend was BEAUTIFUL and JOY-FILLED as we celebrated my first profession of vows.

Many of my family and friends were able to be here with us, which was phenomenal!

Either later today or tomorrow, I will post pictures and more comments. Until then...

Blessings on all who read this!
Sr. N

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My heart is steadfast, God, my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, my soul; awake, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn.
Psalm 57: 8-9

Today is June 1st. June, already?!

This month I will be 33 years old. This month I will profess first vows as a Marianist Sister. It's all just a little surreal...

Three years goes very quickly, it seems, when one is in formation. July 2005 I moved into the community and began pre-novitiate... August 2006 I became a novice. At the time I thought, "I won't profess vows until summer 2008. I'll be 33." And now? Wow. Here I am.

Today I find myself excited and in awe. God has done marvels in my life and I am grateful. The scripture quote above is one of my favorites. There's a version in some translations that reads, "My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready." And I thought about using that translation. But, when I thought about it more, "steadfast" seems more accurate than "ready."

Who is ever truly ready to vow a life of poverty, chastity, obedience, stability in a community? I'm not sure about others in formation or preparing to take this step, but I'm not sure it's possible to feel "ready." There's always room for growth... I could be more loving, let go more, trust more, increase in faith... perfection does not come this side of heaven for us, though. So, ready isn't the right word.

But, I'm steadfast, I think. When I think "steadfast" I think committed... resolute. Do I know where this journey will lead? No. Do I feel that I am living this life perfectly? No. But, by God's grace I'm here and with God's continued grace we'll keep walking this path.

So, one week from today I will begin an 8-day silent retreat. I really like silent retreats and I'm looking forward to the time of prayer. After the retreat, our sisters are having an assembly here in San Antonio. All of our sisters in the US will gather here in San Antonio for a week of being together, praying together, and visioning about the future. The assembly begins on my birthday (happy coincidence)... and it ends on the evening before my vows.

The weekend of vows will be a full weekend. I'm so excited about friends and family who are able to join in the celebration. I will write all about it and post pictures to share with you. Most of the guests from out of town (including our Dayton sisters) will leave town Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. So, things will calm down for me a little by that Monday or Tuesday. I'll try to post then.

Well, I have to leave you now. Hopefully I will have a chance to post again before profession. However, I can't say that for sure. Mutual prayers, okay?

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N