Friday, December 30, 2011

The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!
Numbers 6: 24-26

It's that time of year... A time to look back and reflect - on lessons learned, experiences shared, grace given, horizons expanded and challenges faced. It's also that time of year during which pop culture gives us top 10 lists ad nauseam. Don't get me wrong, some times they're very humorous... and may even be poignant. But you have to admit, there are an extreme number of them.

Thursday, I was driving listening to NPR and the guest on the show was talking about making top 10 lists. He's a movie critic in Dallas and had composed a list of top 10 movies of 2011. As I was listening, I began to consider what type of top 10 list of 2011 I could make. I haven't seen 10 movies. I have read 10 books, but I could only rank them if I could remember all of them (my very poor memory is always an issue!). But, for whatever reason, I was inspired to compose my own top 10 of significant events or happenings of 2011.

In no particular order, here is my list...

1. The death of Osama bin Laden and the days that followed...

Yes. It's an odd first choice, I agree. But, it was the first one I thought about, so that has to say something. I remember the night fairly well. I was sitting at the Novitiate chatting with one of the novices and a few friends. We had completed an evening of prayer and sharing. I can't remember why the tv was on - the fact that it was on is rather strange now that I think about it.

The news appeared. We watched in rapt interest. Then we began to see the celebrations... we went to Facebook and people had posted things I never thought I would read about some one's death. Such rejoicing... comments about the nature of evil... the patriotism that it inspired. Honestly, I found most of it very disturbing.

Sometime in the weeks surrounding that event, I returned to San Antonio for a visit. I had dinner with a very good friend with whom I went to high school and college. I don't remember how it happened, but we argued about whether or not the US had ever made errors in judgment concerning foreign policy. Really?...

In Catholic tradition, January 1st celebrates Mary as Mother of God... and also is a day to pray for peace. Indeed... peace in our world, our country, Church, communities and peace within our hearts. "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us..."

2. Running
I've always said, "I am not a runner." Or "I don't run." I can no longer
say that. Well... sort of. In August I started the Couch to 5K program.
At first I couldn't run 45 seconds without feeling winded, defeated and bored. Now... I'm at a little more than a 5 K (at a slow pace!) and I'm thinking of a half
marathon in May. Miracles never cease, it seems. I feel pretty good about it. I
like setting goals and working towards them. We'll see what happens.
3. Particular Movies
I saw a few movies in 2011 that were more than just mere entertainment - "Waiting for Superman," "Of Gods and Men," "The Way," and "Descendants." These are the kinds of films that make you think... about God, about human nature, courage, forgiveness, love, and justice. I recommend them.
4. Tragic deaths
This was a year that ended with a few tragic deaths that were difficult for me
and for people with whom I am close. I believe I blogged about it sometime in November... I continue to pray for peace for those who are mourning
these losses.
5. Leaving the Univ. of Dayton
It wasn't an easy decision. It took a lot of discernment... talking with people who know me well, sharing and conversation with our Sisters... and personal prayer. And while I miss many people connected to UD, it was a good move for me. Sometimes, taking a risk is the right thing to do...
6. Returning to high school ministry
Who knew when I left CCHS in May of 2004 that I would return to a high school? I certainly never would have guessed. And yet, here I am... And although many things are the same (I still procrastinate in grading and embarrass easily etc.), but I'm seeing it the ministry with new eyes... a little more maturity, perhaps... and a different sense of mission.
7. Finishing an MA
It takes a lot of energy to work full time & go to school - even if school is part time. But, I enjoyed my classes, for the most part, and I learned a great deal. Every once in a while I miss that type of learning... but not enough to get another degree... :)

8. Sharing in the Marianist Women's Summit
The gathering of Marianist Lay and Vowed Religious women in San Antonio in March 2011 was a fantastic weekend. Wonderful moments of insight... the sharing of stories... examining our unique role in the Marianist family and in the Church... and lots of laughter filling our home... What could be better?

9. Going to El Salvador while reading Dorothy Day
I can hardly believe that a year ago I was preparing to go to El Salvador with a group of UD students I barely knew. I haven't thought a lot about the trip since returning... which is, honestly, unfortunate. However, at this time, I feel the desire to tap into that experience once more - to read my journal and the insights gained from reading the words of Dorothy Day while I was there, thus opening myself to the possibility of God's grace to enter and transform memories into change.
10.Young Marianist Sisters' Gathering in Rome & various locations in France
Of course, those of you who read this blog every once in a while, cannot possibly be surprised that this trip would make the list. An unbelievable trip... a humbling experience... and an amazing opportunity for growth... There is not much more to say about it than that. I am deeply grateful for the experience and for the great blessing of meeting other young, visionary, enthusiastic, committed Marianist sisters from around the world. I hold those women in a special place in my heart and look forward to a time that we will be together again.

And there you have it. I am grateful for the year that is coming to its close and I look forward in hope to what God will do in 2012. May all of us be open to the blessings and the grace of God in the new year!

Happy New Year!
Sr. N

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