I sometimes wonder about how much I take for granted when it comes to freedom and democracy, standard of living, and the many blessings that I experience each day.  Even in the midst of the aftermath of the storms this past week, I was blessed to have a home, electricity, food and a place to cool off in the excessive heat.  Days like this when we celebrate these many gifts call me to a twofold action: 1) I, like Mary, acknowledge that all I have received is because of God’s goodness and love, and 2) I renew my commitment to prayer and action for those who are subject to the effects of  poverty and injustice.

A Happy and Grateful Fourth of July to all!

Migrant Ministry

June 24th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

I leave in a couple of hours for our first week of migrant ministry in Leipsic/Miller City, Ohio.  Sister Susan Marie and I have ten high school volunteers who will be joining us for this week of service.  This program has been in place for years and is a wonderful way for us to help make a difference in the lives of these migrant children and families.  Even greater than what we provide for them is what they provide for us!  It’s a great joy for us to be able to spend a week learning a bit of the migrant culture and experiencing their simple, strong love for life!

Pray for us this week and check back for pictures early next week!

Holy is God’s Name

June 21st, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew takes us back to the basics of prayer as Jesus teaches His followers the “Our Father.”  This is certainly not new to any of us, and yet I find myself wondering how much I really think about the words I pray.  The line that jumps out for me today is “May your name be held holy.”  What does it look like to hold someone’s name as holy?  I picture holding something very precious and sacred, cradling it in the palm of myhand, and guarding it with my life.  It certainly has my undivided attention. 

I also wonder how Mary must have prayed to the Father, the Father of her Son Jesus, who has given her life and placed the life of Jesus within her?  Certainly, she knows a unique intimacy with God. I could envy her relationship with the Father, but then I recall that God has also given me life and I have the privilege of daily receiving the life of Jesus in Eucharist.

Perhaps we relate to God under the title “Father” or perhaps we have another name for God.  The important piece is the depth of our relationship of  love and that we daily call God by name.

What is your favorite name/title for God?

If it’s true that the heart holds the essence of a person, then I, for one, certainly want to know the heart of Mary.  If anyone is in tune with Jesus, the Father and the Spirit, it’s Mary.  As we celebrate today the feast of her Immaculate Heart, let us pray for the grace to be truly generous in offering our hearts to God at all times and in all the events of our lives.

Special prayers today for our Immaculate Heart of Mary Province in Covington, KY!

True SND Hospitality

June 14th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

As I sit at this computer in the Provincial Center of our Chardon, OH province, I can’t help but be thankful for the wonderful hospitality I’m receiving from our Sisters here.  Coming from one workshop and now here for another meeting, I feel as though this is a second home.  Each Sister is so kind and welcoming and gracious – truly sharing our Notre Dame spirit.  I can imagine Mary doing the same as she must have been most gracious in welcoming others into her home at Nazareth.  No wonder Jesus’ ministry was marked by such a sincere spirit of hospitality.

How will I help to welcome another and make her/him feel at home today?

While reading the first reading for today’s liturgy (2 Peter 1: 2-7), I was struck once again by the generosity and extravagant love of God.  Peter begins his letter saying, “May you have more and more grace and peace as you come to know our Lord more and more. By his divine power, he has given us all the things that we need for life…”

I find this message particularly encouraging as I embark on a new week.  As I look at my calendar and note the various meetings, events and travel, I am reassured that I will have all that I need. Even more reassuring is knowing that I will have all I need for the many encounters I don’t know about yet!  It’s almost as though God is saying “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back!”

Mary knew the peace that comes from this promise as well.  It was this that enabled her to pray “God has done great things for me. Holy is his name!”

What lies ahead of you this week that God will be taking care of?

I love today’s feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.  It highlights for me the beginning of a long line of friendships that have marked the history of our congregation over the years.  The presence of Jesus was the central focus in the friendship between these two women. They were united because of Him and it was in Him that together they glorified God.

This history of friendship continued for us as St. Julie, our spiritual mother, worked closely with a friend, Francoise, to found the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.  Some years later, it was in the sharing of a dream between Hilligonde and Elizabeth that our own congregation in Coesfeld was born. We continue to live today the words in our Constitutions: “We appreciate true friendship which has its center in Jesus Christ and unites us in him.”

One of the many ways we are better together is by inviting our Associates to join us in living our Notre Dame charism and spirit.  These 100+ women and men in our Toledo province, as well as many others throughout the world, are friends and companions with us as we proclaim God’s goodness wherever we are. For more information about our Associate program, visit www.toledosnd.org and click on the Make a Difference tab at the top.  Today’s feast of the Visitation is our Associates’ patronal feast and we join them in grateful prayer today.

Who are the friends in your life who recognize Jesus living within you and support you in proclaiming the goodness of God?

We Remember

May 28th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As we celebrate this Memorial Day, I’m mindful of the many women and men who have more than generously given their lives as the price for our freedom.  Whether these individuals died while serving or continued to live fully the Gospel mandate of laying down their lives for another, I am grateful for their service.  I thank God for my Dad who fought and was wounded in World War II as well as my two nephews who more recently served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

I’m taking time today to also say a prayer for those family members who have sacrificed and supported these individuals.  Spouses, parents, children and siblings have also given generously to support our basic rights and freedoms.  Perhaps Mary knew this well as she witnessed Jesus leaving home to speak out for justice and freedom in the lives of those he encountered.  How well she must have known anxiety and concern as news trickled back to Nazareth.

Who are the individuals in your life who have served our country?  How will you remember them in prayer today?

It is such a great joy for us to welcome our Sisters participating in the SND International Health Care Conference as they visit our province!  After finishing their meetings in Covington, KY, they have visited our Sisters in Chardon and are now spending a couple of days here in Toledo.  It is at times like this that we are made especially aware of the blessing of our internationality.  Welcome, Sisters!

I have to smile when I hear the words from today’s Gospel: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  It always seems to bring to mind the song:  “Don’t worry. Be happy.”  While I doubt that Jesus sang this particular message, I do believe He wants us to be happy.

As Sisters of Notre Dame, we strive to live the spirit of a deep experience of God’s goodness and provident care.  We are challenged each day to trust in God’s incredible love for us.  While a certain amount of concern about people and situations is appropriate, God invites us to trust Him enough to believe that He can handle whatever is before us.

Mary is our model for this daily loving surrender in trust. May she intercede for each of us the grace of true joy that results from entrusting our lives to Jesus.

Undue worry only wastes energy.  I once read that conserving our inner energy by not worrying is an important expression of stewardship.  How will I steward my energy today?