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Posts Tagged ‘God’s servants’

Over the weekend, three Sisters of Notre Dame were busy picking fruit in a private orchard in Camarillo. They were volunteering for the Food Forward program, which gathers volunteers to pick excess produce to donate to local agencies. Lots of local property owners have more produce on their property than they need or have the resources to harvest. Food Forward donates 100% of the fruit and vegetables that volunteers pick to hungry individuals in the area. Sister Rebekah (left), Sister Shirley (right), Sister Betty Mae (bottom forth from left) and their team of pickers collected large bins full of fruit.

To sign up to volunteer for Food Forward call (818) 530-4125.

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The Sisters of Notre Dame are a congregation of over 2,000 women religious who work in 19 countries on five continents, responding to the needs of God’s people.

Their diverse ministries include:

 

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Find out about the great work the sisters are doing in Uganda.

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What does it mean to be a community of thankfulness! An African proverb tells us: “If we want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk with others.” Bottom line, we can do so much more when we do it in community! Joys are multiplied, sorrows divided—when we share them with those we love! Think of all the ways we “divide and conquer” with many people helping! From the simple things like a potluck dinner, to the fun-raising and fundraising efforts of a school carnival, to rescue efforts at a time of major tragedy…we know that the cliché, “many hands make light work” is true. If we carry that concept over to our efforts to share our faith, to take care of each other, to meet the needs of our local Church and community, we know that if we each did our part, the result would be unimaginable!

St. Julie Billiart, the spiritual mother of my community, the Sisters of Notre Dame, once said, “You cannot do all the good in the world, but just the bit that lies within your power.” Can each of us do our “bit”? Do we even know what that “bit” might be? Everyday we should each spend some time reflecting on what God is calling us to do to be of service within our local and parish community. Thomas Merton tells an interesting story from his childhood: “It was Sunday…the sound of church bells came across the bright fields…Suddenly all the birds began to sing in the trees above my head, and the sound of the birds singing and of the church bells ringing lifted my heart with joy. I cried out to my father, ‘all the birds are in their church –why don’t we go to church?’  My father looked up and said: ’We will…some other Sunday.’”—so what am I going to commit myself to– today, not tomorrow, not next year, not when I am feeling good or things are going better for me? How will I answer God’s call to share something of myself…so that I am contributing to the “potluck” of love and service in my community?

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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Sunday April 29 is World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and we invite you all to join us in prayer for all religious. The Sisters of Notre Dame are also spending this time of prayer saying thank you – to our God for giving us vocations, and to our families and friends who have supported us along the way. We hope you will remember us in thanks and prayer.

We have posted this video before, but we do so again because the words here are so meaningful to us at this time. We hope you enjoy it too!

SND Vocations

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“To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus… The saints bring to light in creative fashion quite new human potentialities… The saints are themselves the living spaces into which one can turn… There is no isolation in heaven. It is the open society of the saints and, consequently, also the fulfillment of all human togetherness… One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light… Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.”

Pope Benedict XVI

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"A Surrendered Heart" by Chip Coates

Last year I spent two happy months at Providence House, our place for formation for new Sisters. Not having cooked in about 30 years, I observed my co-Sisters preparing delicious meals. Part of their culinary secrets seemed to be the marinade. Somehow the marinade and the barbeque would transform the menu into something really delectable.

After watching this for a week or two, I volunteered to make the evening supper. The menu: hot dogs! These were not ordinary hot dogs, mind you; I had marinated them in Greek seasoning and anything else that looked interesting in the spice cupboard. Of course, when this was discovered the “real chefs” really got a good laugh, although personally I thought the hot dogs were acceptable!

This week I am reading Tatoos on the Heart by Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J., the priest who works with thousands of gang members in East L.A. This anecdote about letting things marinate in your heart really touched me.

“Rascal is not one to take advice. He can be recalcitrant, defensive, and primed for the fight. Well into his thirties, he’s a survivor. His truck gets filled with scrap metal and with this, somehow, he feeds his kids and manages to stay on this side of eviction. To his credit, he bid prison time and gang-banging good-bye a long time ago. Rascal sometimes hits me up for funds, and I oblige if I have it AND if his attitude doesn’t foul my mood too much. But you can’t tell him anything—except this one day he actually listens. I am going on about something-can’t remember what but I can see he’s listening. When I’m done he simply says, “You know, I’m gonna take that advice, and I’m going to let it marinate,'”pointing at his heart, “right here”.

Perhaps we should all marinate in the intimacy of God. Genesis, I suppose, got it right–“In the beginning, God.” Ignatius of Loyola spoke about the task if marinating in “the God who is always greater.”

Ignatius writes, “Take care always to keep before your eyes, first, God.” The secret of course, of the ministry of Jesus was that God was at the center of it. Jesus chose to marinate in the God who is always greater than our tiny conception, the God who “loves without measure and without regret.” To anchor yourself in this, to keep before your eyes this God is to choose to be intoxicated, marinated in the fullness of God. An Algerian Trappist, before his martyrdom, spoke to this fullness: “When you fill my heart, my eyes overflow.”

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