Thursday, July 7, 2011

Be Still and Know...

I just came back from an amazing week-long visit in Macon, GA, which will be my new community for the next year. I couldn't have picked a more perfect place for me to start formation with the Daughters of Charity. It was if the Sisters on the Council looked into my soul and knew exactly what I was looking for - a chance to live completely among with the poor, a mix of different ministries, and a house with a rich history (St. Katherine Drexel stayed in my house!)

At one point during the week, my Sister Servant (that is, the superior of the house) and I were talking. I'll be a very busy pre-postulant, working four days in the school and one day in Hispanic ministry and probably doing odd things on the weekends. But my Sister Servant emphasized having time at the house to relax outside of my jobs. I agreed, saying that "yeah, I would need time to do lesson plans and grade".

And she said "and you need that time to reflect and discern"

Oh yeah.

Personally, I'm a person that loves being busy. I love it when my calendar is full. And between thinking about teaching Spanish and religion and working in Hispanic ministry, I had forgotten that I needed time to just sit still. Just time to sit with God and put my whole life before Him. Just time to listen to what He has to say.

(Drawing from
St. Vincent de Paul Image Archive)
The Daughters of Charity are obviously all about the apostolic works - hence the name and all. But St. Vincent emphasized that just as much as we are daughters of Charity, we must be daughters of prayer. While the Daughters were the first successful religious community to live and work outside the cloister (others tried but either eventually grew cloistered or disbanded), they were founded with a very strict prayer schedule set by our two founders, St Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. Today, the Daughters have morning meditation, Lauds, Vespers, evening meditation as well as the Rosary privately. And of course, while other religious communities have a specific devotion, the Daughters of Charity have the (daily) Mass - the most important part of their day.

St. Vincent de Paul gave a numerous amount of Conferences to the first Sisters, which amazingly has been preserved to this day. In those Conferences, he says "always do what you can so that, prayer being your first occupation, your mind may be filled with God for the rest of the day." (v.1, p28-29) And Mother Suzanne Guillemin, Superioress General during Vatican II, wrote "work and prayer, that is our unique spirituality, the spirituality of full life."

All I can hope, as I start prepostulancy, is to follow in the steps of the founders and Sisters - learning how to be a daughter of Charity, but foremost being a daughter of prayer...a daughter that knows how to be still every one in awhile.

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