Archive for the ‘Vocation’ Category

“The ascension of Christ

is our elevation.

Hope for the body

is also invited where

the glory of the Head preceded us.

Let us rejoice!”

Pope St. Leo I, the Great

Last evening we received word that our Sister Mary Carlann had gone peacefully to God.  Having lived with cancer for five years, Sister continued to live and minister at Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles.  Have you ever read that quote about what a pity it is if we die without never having lived?  Well, folks, that was definitely not our Carlann!  She lived life with gusto, great love for God, her family, community and many friends.  Please join us in praying for her and for those she leaves behind.

Join us, also, in giving thanks for a life well lived!

In Gratitude,

Sister Mary Amy

Read Full Post »

All people long to give their lives and hearts to something that really matters. For each Sister of Notre Dame, at some moment, that something became a Someone. The core of who we are as Sisters of Notre Dame lies in our deep relationship with God, who is both compassionate love and mystery. Our spiritual journey draws us into the unfolding and unfathomable mystery of God’s love. Our need to keep spiraling into God’s love is one with our desire for the transformation of the world. Called to participate in Jesus’ mission, we want to share with others what is deepest within our being: our experience of God’s goodness and provident care—the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame. We strive to be a healing presence in the world: women of God who have come to know Jesus and the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

One of the great joys of belonging to an international congregation is that our world is broken open as we learn the customs, ways of praying, insights and needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. One of the greatest joys and privileges I have had as a Superior was to visit our Sisters on many continents! Aside from many adventures and making lots of new friends, I learned that our ministries may differ and we may not all look alike, but the spirit of joyful simplicity and deep belief in the goodness and providence of God is the same in Africa, Brazil, Europe, the United States and everywhere in the Notre Dame world! As the mission of Jesus continues to give us new energy for the 21st century, we strive to be a healing presence in the world: women of God who have come to know God and the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Take a virtual tour of Notre Dame international at www.snd1.org. Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Our New Video!

Read Full Post »

An insightful meditation on being patient with the now and not yet:

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient on everything; to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually – let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time, (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming in you will be. Give the lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete”.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Read Full Post »

Back in January those of us in formation in the SND Congregation got together in Toledo, OH for a weekend of prayer, instruction and plain old socializing. One of the most memorable days there was a visit to the “Big House”, otherwise known as the Provincial Center. It was a joy visiting with the many Sisters in residence there. A beautiful and very thoughtful gift they gave each of us were bags full of hand written notes of inspiration and encouragement from all the Sisters. What a blessing it is to know that so many are praying for you! Among the lovely notes one struck me as the perfect description of Vocation, and I’d like to share it with you:

A Vocation can best be described as

A Strong Challenge

A Great Gift

A Singular  Joy


Always a Mystery!

Handle it with Reverence.

Note it starts with Challenge! 🙂

Read Full Post »

As we begin this hope-filled New Year, I thought it would be beneficial to write about responding to God’s call in our lives.  One of my favorite bible stories on this subject is the story of Samuel’s call (1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20).  God had to call Samuel’s name several times before he identified that the call was truly from God and then he responded.  In young Samuel’s case, the reason for his delay was that he was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him yet (3:7).  It was Eli, Samuel’s trusted mentor and temple priest, who helped Samuel recognize God’s call.

I believe one of the most common roadblocks to discerning God’s call in our lives is FEAR.  The root of fear is found in our need to preserve our physiological and psychological safety.  There is a lot of information on the topic of stress response (fear), which is defined as the physiological changes which occur when you face a perceived threat; when you feel the demands outweigh your resources to successfully cope.  I remember that when I heard God’s call to religious life I experienced this normal human stress response that was triggered by my fear of this dramatic life change.  Much like Samuel, I had to discern that the call I felt in my innermost being was from God and then seek how best to respond.  Clarity came through doing the following:

• Daily prayer and time in front of the Blessed Sacrament

• Attending daily Mass

• Allowing myself to get out of my “head” (analysis paralysis!) and listen to my heart, meditating on scripture, and reading books on discernment

• Talking with my family and close friends

• Seeking out wise mentors – God placed amazing people in my path (my parish priest, discernment group leader, spiritual director, and vocation director)

I think the counter balance for fear is God’s LOVE.  John states this so well in scripture “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear… (1 John 4:18).” Another powerful scripture reference on this subject is found in 2 Timothy 1:7.  In this passage Timothy conveys that God does not give us a spirit of fear but of love and peace.

This spirit of fear is very prevalent in our country today.  We are bombarded by the media’s grim reports about our economy, terrorist attempts on the U.S.; the list goes on and on.  Wouldn’t it be great if we heard stories about letting go of our fears by placing our faith and trust in God?  The founding fathers of our nation did not let fear stop them from forming a nation based on Godly values of freedom and justice FOR ALL.

When we allow our fears to paralyze us, we limit God’s ability to work in our lives.  I am not advocating that we live our lives with reckless abandonment, but rather that we listen to God’s call in our lives and respond in the same way Samuel did by saying,“Speak Lord, for your servant is Listening” (1Samuel 3:9).  In Ruth Burrows’ wonderful book Fire Upon the Earth, Interior Castle Explored, she writes, “We are called to love God above all things with our whole heart and soul and mind.  Love is not a mood of delight or contentment, it is not a warm feeling, it is not an inner glow.  Love is choosing.  I have to choose to Love God.”

If you feel God is calling you to religious life or the priesthood, I encourage you to put God in the driver’s seat.  Please do not allow fear to block your vocation discernment and limit what God can do in your life!  I love being a Sister of Notre and if I had allowed my fears to block me, I would never have found my true vocation.


Sister Valerie Marie SND

Read Full Post »

Our Foundress and first Sisters were social mystics, women rooted in God and sent on a mission to help poor children. Time has not dimmed the witness of their lives…lives that testify that authentic prayer leads to care of the most vulnerable and action on behalf of justice. Today women responding to the call to religious life likewise desire to be rooted in God and sent on mission. We, too, with God’s help will be social mystics in our own day.

Read Full Post »

rt_nuns1_070510_msAlthough many women are attracted to a common life with other Sisters who share their vision and commitment, it does not take long before they realize the truth of the old saying, “It’s grand to live with the saints in glory, but here on earth it’s another story.” We know full well that the community gathered in Christ is a fragile and cracked vessel. I have never been a perfect Sister, or superior, or community member. Then again, nobody else has been either!

Yet, community is the place that the Spirit of God forms us over time. It is the place where we are made whole and we are made holy. It calls us to a deeper wisdom and a deeper sense of why we are together.

“Our living of community in this spirit witnesses to the love of the Father for all people, revealed in Jesus, his Son. It is a sign of the goal toward which we are all moving, the new Jerusalem, where all will be one in the love of the Triune God.” (SND Constitutions, art. 62)

Read Full Post »

images“There is a need for heralds of the gospel who are experts in humanity, who have a profound knowledge of the heart of present-day humanity, participating in humanity’s joys and hopes, anguish and sadness, and who are at the same time contemplatives in love with God.”  by Pope John Paul II.

This is a great description of who we are as Sisters of Notre Dame and gets at the heart of what it means to be contemplatives in action!

Read Full Post »

saintsofrussiaThis morning in prayer I came upon a favorite passage of mine in the book of Jeremiah. The passage (Jr 20:7-9) speaks perfectly of the fire within the Saints, that burning urgency to serve the Lord, and a passionate love that compels one to action.

“You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced; You have overpowered me: You were the stronger… ”

“For me the Lords’ word has been the cause of insult and derision all day long. I would say to myself, “I will not think about Him, I will not speak in His name any more”, but then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not do it.”

Let us pray with our companions in Heaven that we too might cultivate a fire so bright as to be unable to suppress its light.

All Gods’ Angels and Saints, pray for us.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »