Foundresses Sr. Mary Aloysia and Sr. Mary Ignatia

Our founding sister, Sister Maria Aloysia Wolbring, put herself into the hands of the dear God and, whether in Germany or the United States, did whatever needed to be done. Sometimes she was a local superior, sometimes not. She taught school, catechized, took care of the aged, managed a farm, struggled with American climate and language, served as advisor to the Superior General (although never a major superior herself), started many new affiliations, and most importantly prayed. In everything she trusted in God’s provident care.

Where are you being called to trust in God’s provident care?

God’s Desire

March 11th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

I had the opportunity yesterday to read a piece on St. John of the Cross, and while it was about the fourth time I read it, it touched me in a whole new way.

In the book, Impact of God, Iain Matthew writes of God’s intense desire to enter our lives and give Himself to us.  He writes: “John dares to place on the lips of his God the words: ‘I am yours, and for you, and I am pleased to be as I am that I may be yours and give myself to you.'”

My reflection on this passage led me to pray the words of Psalm 63, but to hear them as though God was speaking them to me: “O Marilyn, you are my Marilyn whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary….”  What an amazing God who desires us more than we could ever desire Him!

Is God calling you to recognize in a new way His incredible desire to be part of your life?

True Friendship

March 7th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

As we celebrate today the Feast of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, I’m reminded of how grateful I am of the gift of true friendship.  These two women of the early Church had a relationship deeper than owner and slave; they supported one another in a friendship that led to closer union with Christ. Together they lived for Christ and together they died a martyr’s death for Christ.

Our Constitutions as Sisters of Notre Dame remind us that “We appreciate true friendship which has its center in Jesus Christ and unites us in him.”  Only when our friendships are centered in him will they bear fruit.  Our Congregation has a rich tradition and history of friendship from Mary and Elizabeth, Saint Julie Billiart and Francois Blin de Bourdon, to Hilligonde and Elisabeth.  We have been richly blessed by friends who have influenced our desires to grow in our union with Christ and to bring about His kingdom. I thank God today for the friends within the community and outside the community who have influenced my desires.

Who has influenced your desires? For what friends are you most grateful?

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus asks us for freedom of heart. As our country faces economic crises, as our Church prays for a new pope, as we start our day with its unknowns, we need freedom of heart.

I feel humbly proud of the response of religious sisters after the apostolic visitation and later assessments, for after prayer they responded with equanimity and freedom of heart. We sisters felt the overwhelming support and alliance of the laity. Together we must move forward to make our Church and world more receptive to the peace Christ promised. This requires freedom of heart, that combination of peace and courage so that nothing outside us can trouble our hearts.

Ever since Charles Darwin gave us the phrase “survival of the fittest,” we’ve believed that the best, the strongest, the fastest will endure. But is that true? Darwin used the phrase “survival of the fittest” only once in a book that spoke of love 95 times and moral sensitivity 92 times.

Darwin believed the prime mover of human evolution is not natural selection nor survival of the fittest, but rather our capacity for love and caring for one another. If today everyone would start believing that our future depends on love and caring, how different our lives would be. As we go about our day making little choices, let’s be mindful that our future depends upon love and caring.

Many of us, perhaps, go into Lent with a sense of dread about what we can’t do and can’t have. So let’s approach  Lent differently this year.  How?  Let’s go to Cedar Point until March 28. Explore the rides!

The devil tempted Jesus to be self-serving, self-exulting, a real Power Tower. Isn’t that our Mean Streak, too? Jesus responds to the temptations with Scripture. Do we read the Bible regularly? It teaches us to be like the Frog Hopper.  F-R-O-G:  Fully Rely On God.

Lent leads us into the desert, where we become more aware of our egos and how they’re like the Scrambler that mixes up our thoughts so that our needs and wants are more important than those of others. To free ourselves from our small egos that always are afraid and seek control would be a great Lenten penance—a Matterhorn probably. We’ll be transformed into Christ, the Giant Wheel who turned “the worst thing, the ‘murder of God’ into the very best thing, the redemption of the world” (Richard Rohr).

 Traditionally we pray, fast, and give alms.  Do we? Or do we Dodgem? Most parishes provide a Millennium Force of opportunities, such as the Way of the Cross or parish missions. Don’t be a Maverick.  Be part of these events.

The ultimate purpose of Lent is to lead us to the Super Himalaya of the Church Year:  the Sacred Paschal Triduum (March 28-31). We enter into the very life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, an on-going reality, a Kingdom Carousel of joyous victory. One day we’ll meet the Gate Keeper. Will we be recognized as someone who rode the Corkscrew of the Lenten journey into the death and resurrection of Christ?

God Hugs Us!

February 13th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Susan Maria Kusz in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

This morning I began to use a little book entitled God Speaks in Many Tongues.  It contains sacred texts from a variety of religious traditions followed by a meditation on a line or two from the text of the day by Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister.

The words of wisdom for today come from Hildegard of Bingen, who wrote centuries ago:  “God hugs you; you are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.” 

What if we looked at Lent from the lens that God hugs us, each and every one of us on this planet?  What might our fasting look like?  What about our prayer — if we really believed and lived out of that sense of being hugged?  How different might our almsgiving be if we saw “the other” as not “other” but one “just like me?”

Think about it:  God hugs us … how loved we are.  Spread that love this Lent!  Transform the world!  Share a smile!  Impart a blessing!  Happy Lent!

Pope Benedict

February 11th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

We join with the universal Church this morning as we hear the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation as Holy Father in praying for him and for all Catholics throughout the world.

I’m reminded of the times I’ve been privileged to visit the Vatican and the overwhelming gratitude I felt for the universal bond of faith so tangible there.  Our Church is bigger than nationalities, ideologies and manners of approaching the events of daily life.  We are one, holy, Catholic and apostolic. We are united in our common mission – the mission of Jesus. We are committed to making God’s love tangible and real for all those we meet.

Please join me in praying in gratitude for Pope Benedict’s service to our Church and for wisdom for those who will elect our next Holy Father.

Sr. Bernie volunteers for Double ARC.

Ever since Charles Darwin gave us the phrase “survival of the fittest,” we’ve believed that the best, the strongest, the fastest will endure. But is that true?

Darwin used the phrase “survival of the fittest” only once in a book that spoke of love 95 times and moral sensitivity 92 times. Darwin believed the prime mover of human evolution is not natural selection nor survival of the fittest, but rather our capacity for love and caring for one another. If today everyone would start believing that our future depends on love and caring, how different our lives would be.

As we go about our day making little choices, let’s be mindful that our future depends upon love and caring.

Today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel relates the story of Jesus calling the evil spirit out of a man in the Gerasene territory.  I think most of us think of this story as the one in which the pigs were drowned in the lake!  Hopefully, we don’t miss the bigger message.

The man in the Gospel is just one example of someone held captive, in this case by a “legion” of evil spirits.  I couldn’t help but think of the many others in our world who are held captive.  Especially forefront in my mind today is the little five year old boy being held hostage in Alabama and the many individuals who were likely victims of trafficking during the Super Bowl festivities this past weekend. There are also those held captive by addictions of various sorts.

At another point in the Gospel, Jesus reminds us that he was sent “to proclaim liberty to captives.”  As one of his followers, I can do no less.  It may mean actively working for legislation against human trafficking or praying for all victims or freeing someone from my judgments and biases against them.

Who is the captive I will free today?