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Posts Tagged ‘Vocation’

Sr. Kathleen shared with us her latest reflection series on the Good Shepherd. We hope you enjoy the talk as much as we have!

Good Shepherd Track 1

Good Shepherd Track 2

Good Shepherd Track 3

Good Shepherd Track 4

Good Shepherd Track 5

Good Shepherd Track 6

Good Shepherd Track 7

Good Shepherd Track 8

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photo by Zoe Pollock

“A little girl sat on her grandmother’s lap to listen to the creation account from the book of Genesis.  As the creation story unfolded, the kind woman, noticing that the child was unusually attentive, asked, ‘What do you think of it, dear?’  ‘Oh, I think it’s great,’ replied the child, ‘You never know what God is going to do next!’”  Like the child in the story, we can never imagine what God might do next, but we know that, when we live in a spirit of faith and confidence in our God who loves us so much, God will always take care of us!  If we look at life with the wonder of a child, we see so much that is wonder-ful:  God creates anew each day—are we seeing and appreciating his wonders?

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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African sisters celebrate after taking their vows

The missions of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Africa have attracted many young African women to deepen their faith and to answer the call to religious life. During their religious formation, novices and postulants from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda receive initial instruction together at the international formation house in Njiro, Tanzania. This formation experience goes far beyond quiet prayer, contemplation, and study, to include active ministry and outreach to the surrounding communities.

The Holy Childhood Association engages Catholic youth in mission to neighboring youth in dire need. The program is very popular in Africa and can be found in nearly every parish in Tanzania. The Njiro parish has over 70 children participants. The women in formation help strengthen the program by teaching prayers and catechism, assisting the children with works of mercy, encouraging contribution to the poor, and attending the Sunday children’s Mass. Their ministry to children goes beyond the Holy Childhood Association, however. The novices and postulants have also been asked to teach religion classes once a week in the government school.

SND novices and postulants also meet weekly with villagers in small Christian communities. A community can have as many as 18 families, who take turns hosting the gathering. The community shares Scripture and reflections, and prays the rosary. If a family is in special need, the group offers financial assistance. Special classes are given to the children, who are taught prayers, songs and bible stories. The Novices and Postulants do not all speak the local language fluently, and while that is a challenge for them, they find that they are always able to communicate God’s love to the families they serve.

Once a week women in formation visit neighboring families in the village, where they minister to women, children and the sick. The families find relief in sharing their pain and struggles with the novices and postulants. Those in formation share faith experiences, comforting words, and answer questions about the way they live their life. The visit ends with praying together. Although the villagers don’t always understand what it means to be a sister, they are always grateful for the visits.

The ministry and outreach that the SND postulants and novices perform are a foundational part of their spiritual development, and their outreach experiences are opportunities for growth even in challenges. Ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of their neighbors helps prepare these young women for lives lived for Jesus and his mission.

– Sr. Mary Bernadette Pendola, SND

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On this feast of Corpus Christi, we reflect on how grateful we are (or should be!) for the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Jesus’ presence in our life does make a difference.  His promise to be with us always helps us deal with the many challenges that come our way….

A story to make us think….

A lecturer was giving a talk to his students on stress management.  He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”  The students’ answers ranged from 20g to 500g.

The teacher responded, “It does not matter on the absolute weight.  It depends on how long you hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, it is ok.

If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my arm.

If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance.

It is exactly the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier.  What we have to do is put the glass down, rest for a while before hold it up again.  We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on.”

Whatever burdens you are having now, let them down for a moment.  Ask Jesus to help you carry the load when you pick it up again.  It is not intended that we do it alone…Jesus has promised:  “I am with you always….”

– 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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Just before Easter, we got an unusual donation to our Vocations Office. A St. John’s Seminary student, Thanh-Tai Nguyen gave us a check for a portion of the sponsorship money he had raised by running his first marathon. Through generous donations from his friends, family, and the people of St. Hedwig’s and St. John’s, Thanh-Tai was able to raise over $1,200 in support of his run. After the marathon, he distributed the funds to Vocation Offices throughout Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. The Sisters of Notre Dame were privileged to receive one of the donations.

Thanh-Tai prayed for vocations during his run, and said of the experience, “This is my first marathon and I am very happy that I did it. I was exhausted but I ran with love and joy.”

Many thanks to Thanh-Tai and his supporters from all of us at the Sisters of Notre Dame. Congratulations on your first marathon, and we wish you many more happy years of running!

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“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions…. Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear”.

Herbert Alphonso, SJ

Listening for God’s call to holiness; which is a personal and unique invitation to live our deepest purpose in life; is a lifelong clarion call to a conversion of heart. In the silence of a contemplative, listening heart, we can respond to His gratuitous gift of our life in deepest gratitude. A gratitude that is in actuality a faithful, trusting response to His will. Think Mary’s “Yes!”. Our personal vocations, each lived distinctively, contribute to the prism of Christ’s light shining in our world. A vocation which God has created specifically for you, at this time, now, in history. It is a dance of Creative Love that the Trinity wishes to engage you in, and for a certain part of this dance, only you alone know the steps. As we discern God’s will for us in the quiet of prayer, you realize your questions were always being answered. You only needed to listen for the music.

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Deep within us all there is an inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center a speaking Voice to which we may continually return.
Thomas Kelly

Last evening 29 of my Sisters here in Thousand Oaks began a retreat which will last for eight days. Quiet pervades the house as they devote themselves to prayer and reflection, even taking their meals in silence. It is a time when we religious women remember the old saying, “Why hast thou come hither?” In the business of life we, too, can forget the “one thing necessary.” This graced period is a wonderful time for us to wake up and focus on what has been blurred by the pace of life.

Having made my retreat earlier in the year, I am observer, sensing the presence of God overflowing in our convent as I wait for my broken limbs to heal. The divine presence is alway samong us, in us, around us. Unfortunately, most of us walk around with “spiritual amnesia.” The great work of the sabbath, of a retreat, is to REMEMBER.

We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. He walks everywhere incognito. Ane the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.
C.S. Lewis

Can you find time for a “mini retreat” today? If possible, try to schedule even fifteen minutes is your bust schedule for a pause that remembers.

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The Sisters of Notre Dame invite single women ages 18-40 to their summer volunteer program July 12-16. Stretch Your Heart volunteers will serve the homeless at the St. Vincent de Paul Center in Bakersfield and share in the community life of the sisters at their lodge near Frazier Park. For details, call 805-452-9699, connect by e-mail Sr. Val at sistervalsnd@gmail.com or visit http://www. sndca.org by June 30, 2010.


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“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

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