On the lookout for joy!

September 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Susan Maria Kusz in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I’ve been reading the Rule of Benedict ….  Benedict really does not like grumblers … complainers … he has little use for such smallness in the monastic life.  Joan Chittister, OSB, in her reflection on this part of the Rule, says this about the complainers and grumblers in community life:  “We become a living lamentation.  We become a lump of spiritual cement around the neck of the group.”  WOW!  Have you ever met a “living lamentation?”  What about a “lump of spiritual cement?”  We might call them “sad sacks.” I’ve met a few in my life;

in fact this morning even before I read the Rule’s segment for the day, I was actually praying for one, that this person might know a bit of JOY in life.  This is Sunday … the Lord’s Day … a day for joy … a day for relaxation … a day to spread some good cheer … a few laughs ….  We might take a moment to call to mind a person or two who fits that description of a “living lamentation” and lift her / him up in prayer.  Drop by for a visit.  Take something homemade and delicious.  Pick a flower and share it.  Be on the lookout for opportunities to share your joy.  And watch how it brightens YOUR life too!

Profound and Simple

September 21st, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Today many of the educators of the Toledo Diocese are gathered for an inservice at Seagate Center here in Toledo. Our Sisters are among this group of professionals who continue to daily offer our young people the hope of a promising future.

Education has always played a significant role in who we are as Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Maria Aloysia and our first Coesfeld Sisters were professional educators even before they entered religious life. They were formed in the spirit of Fr. Bernard Overberg for whom school learning and faith were deeply connected. Overberg recognized the dignity of both student and educator and advocated an education that was clearly linked to daily life. We continue today to educate in his spirit and principles.

I am most grateful for our Sisters and collaborators who educate in many different venues. They offer an invaluable gift and truly make a difference in our world!  Thank you!

Who is a teacher who has made a difference in your life and has helped you to change the world for the better?

Fragility of Life

September 17th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

My brother and sister-in-law were in a serious car accident this past week. We are so fortunate that they are on the road to recovery and doing well.  It’s amazing how life can change in a matter of seconds.

As we navigated this past week with them through emergency rooms, surgeries, physical therapy and rehab, I was touched once again with the reality of how very fragile the gift of life is and how much I take for granted. Their new struggles shed a very different light on my small aches and pains, fatigue and busy schedule. I don’t want to miss this opportunity to be renewed in gratitude for the life I’ve been given. God is indeed very, very good.

I’m also aware in a new way of the tremendous support system we have among family, friends, co-workers, Sisters and so many others.  It’s good to know we have wonderful companions on our journey through life.

May you experience in some small way today a renewed awareness and gratitude for the amazing gift of life.

Love and Rejection

September 14th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Recently I noticed how often in Scripture Jesus experienced rejection. Passages were easy to find: the skepticism of religious leaders, the disciples who left after the Bread of Life discourse, the choice of Barabbas over Jesus, even the feeling of abandonment by his Father, and many more.

But Jesus does not reject.  I can imagine Jesus saying to us when we feel rejection:

“There is nothing you can do that would cause me to reject you. No, today and always you are my friend, and I will stand by you. I will not only stand by you, I will protect you, guide you, help you in your decisions. I am not a magician that will make your problems disappear. I am not a repairman who will fix every mistake. But I am one who loves you intensely.”

Holy Listening

September 12th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Susan Maria Kusz in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

I’ve been reading the Rule of Benedict …. This morning Joan Chittister, OSB ended her commentary on today’s reading from The Rule with this:  “Imagine a world that was run by holy listeners.”   I began to think about the gift of “holy listening.”  I reflected on the places I’ve been in the past few days … here at the monastery … up the road at the Family Dollar store … in our teeny tiny post office … at San Antonio parish … at a local restaurant … at a busy Jiffy Lube … in very ordinary places with very ordinary people.  In each place I can truly say I experienced the gift of holy listening!  Wouldn’t that be something if we could say that about every place we go?  Today I’m going to try to give that gift to someone along the way.  How about you?

Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining in the celebration as we gave thanks to God for the Double ARC ministry of the past 20 years.  What an incredible group of people gathered for this event!

One of our Notre Dame Education Principles is based on the Human Dignity of Each Person as an Image of God. Certainly this lies at the heart of our Double ARC ministry as those involved reverence each person – each client and each family member – and seek to find ways to encourage a positive sense of self-worth and the full development of each person.

Our foundress, Sister Maria Aloysia, knew what it was to have her heart broken by the plight of hte children she taught who experienced various needs. The staff of Double ARC sees the unique needs in those they serve and I witness their hearts breaking as well. They can’t help but do everything in their power to help these children and families. I’m convinced that Sister Maria Aloysia would feel very much at home with the Double ARC ministry.

We celebrate with deep gratitude the gift of Double ARC and its role in keeping alive our mission of proclaiming God’s goodness in our world.

Miracle Making

September 8th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Susan Maria Kusz in Uncategorized - (6 Comments)

I’ve been reading the Rule of Benedict …. The other day I came across this gem from Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB in her commentary on Benedict’s Rule: “Work is not just a job; it is our exercise in miracle making.” That got me thinking: I’ve just begun a “new job.” I’m “in transition.” This is all “new ministry.” I’m going through all the mixed feelings one experiences in a new place, doing new things, longing for “the old,” for the “tried and true,” for what “worked” in the past. But it is in the present that God IS. And so I’m trying anew today to practice the spiritual exercise of “miracle making.” How about you? How are you making miracles today?

Cactus in New Mexico

September 4th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

(from left) Sr. Dean, Sr. Valerie and Sr. Karen are part of the Lial Renewal Center team.

Recently I changed my e-mail address, making my business cards useless. Of course, I could build a tower of business cards or write math facts on the back for a youngster learning multiplication tables or store them somewhere. What do you do with useless business cards? A more perplexing question is the content of a new business card. What is my real business? More than liturgist/musician at St. Richard, more than team member atLialRenewalCenter, more than a community member with the Sisters of Notre Dame, I am the created expression of God’s love. I am an initiator of free energy radiating out to give life abundantly to all. I am Christ in evolution. I am an indispensable member of a living body, which is the Body of Christ. Well, if that’s what I am, please excuse me. I better get down to business.

What would you write on a new business card? What is your most useful business?

Ready or not

August 30th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with the nitty gritty of each day and forget that the real reason I’m here is to encounter God. The “catch” is that I don’t know when and how God will choose to be present.  I need to be always prepared and on the lookout for God. It reminds me of the games of tag we used to play as children when someone would call out, “Ready or not, here I come!”

Today’s Gospel reading reminds me of the importance of being faithful each and every day for “I know not the day or the hour” when God will come.  Not only do I not know the timing of the final coming or the time of my death, I also do not know when and how God will choose to enter my life.  It is for me to be faithful at all times and so to be prepared.

I’m reminded of Mother Teresa’s saying that the important thing is to be “faithful, not successful.”  Anticipating that God is indeed just around the corner, eager to be part of my day, can help me live a more faithful life.

Where will God appear in my life today?  Will I be ready for His coming?

One of the Sisters with whom I live has a favorite coffee mug with scenes from The Lion King and a handle with “just the right shape.” Most coffee drinkers have a favorite cup, I suppose.

Do you have a favorite mug or cup?

When Jesus asked James and John, “Can you drink of the cup?” they quickly assured Jesus that they could. Just as quickly Jesus assured the two that they would indeed drink of the cup that he would drink—the cup of suffering and death. Then at the Last Supper the apostles drank of the blood of the new covenant, thus sharing in the covenant sealed by the death of Christ.

The next time you sit down with your cup of coffee or tea, ask yourself, “Can I drink of Christ’s cup?” It will mean accepting death as the way to life, crucifixion as the way to resurrection