Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

Heavenly Sounds

August 5th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Annie, a friend of mine, was singing with some teenagers.  A man questioned why a gray-haired lady would be part of the group and asked her age.  Hearing she was 65, he said, “She has a voice and heart every bit as young as the teens with her.”  Another time Annie was in the choir loft, invisible to the assembly.  Someone said, “That has to be the voice of an angel. There’s no one up there.” Annie is the cantor for funerals, and her voice surrounds the grieving with peace.  Annie’s voice is an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

Today how will you use your voice? Let God sing in your heart. Let God be your song.  And let the world hear through your lips how good God is.

Peace of Pizza

July 31st, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

One day during the Sign of Peace at Mass a little girl shook the hands of persons nearby while saying “Peace of Pizza! Peace of Pizza!”  Besides being cute, the words can be interpreted as a blessing. May you experience the Eucharist that you will soon eat as your spiritual nourishment. May you have daily bread, all that you need today for health and happiness. May you have some fun and camaraderie stemming from the joy springing from deep peace.

Share a “peace of pizza” today!

Our Pastor Pope

July 30th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Pope Francis stamped the trip to Brazil with his signature seal—the world’s pastor. Today’s newspaper described Benedict as the world’s theologian, John Paul II as the world’s philosopher, and Pope Francis as the world’s pastor. Saint Francis de Sales, I believe, claimed that we can catch more souls with a spoonful of honey than a barrel of vinegar. In a similar vein, reaching out with a soft touch may draw many to the Church. There’s a time and a place for every style of leadership and relationship. God has given the Church the right style in Pope Francis. Now is the time for all of us Catholics to extend the soft touch of Jesus and his Vicar Pope Francis.

How will you extend a soft touch today?

Our footprints remain

July 16th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As I was walking along the sand dune trail in Oak Openings, I noticed the great variety of foot prints in the sand.  I walked more slowly to consciously look at my own tennis shoe prints. I reflected on the footprint that I was leaving on earth. How was my carbon footprint trampling the face of Mother Earth? How have I left footprints across people’s hearts? In all the schools where I have taught and in all the churches where I have prepared liturgies or played organ, what still remains for good or ill? There’s a song that claims “I may never pass this way again.”  But my footprints remain.

O most holy and prosaic life!

July 15th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

I got up, unlocked LialRenewal Center, prayed Morning Prayer and meditation, helped prepare three meals for 27 retreatants, prepared liturgies for St. Richard Church, played a card game with the sisters with whom I live after praying Evening Prayer with them, phoned and wrote e-mails, and went to bed.

Although the particulars change, this sounds like everyone else’s day. Work, play, pray, rest. Rather prosaic, I’d say, until I remember that God has been with me through it all in what Elizabeth Johnson calls “unspeakable nearness.” God’s energy flowed through me as I sat at the computer. The beauty of creation smacked me in the face when I brushed entrances free of webs. The relatedness between the living God and me took form when I peeled the carrots. O most holy and prosaic life!

Heart Transplant

July 8th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Recently I attended a lecture by Wendy Wright who spoke on qualities of the heart. Wendy said the Christian life is a transformation of heart. We exchange our heart for the heart of Jesus. We must beat in the rhythm of God, aiming to be like Jesus whose heart beat in perfect rhythm with the Father.

Afterwards I reflected upon Christ’s willingness to exchange hearts with us. Wouldn’t that be the kenosis, the self-emptying of Jesus’ suffering and death, who though God did not cling to God but emptied himself and gave everything?

What would I do differently today if I had the heart of Jesus Christ in me?

The question of the week

June 26th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Some argue that this is THE question of the gospel. We all need to answer the question again and again along our spiritual journey.  For me, Jesus Christ is my Life, my Enough. Probably every sister claimed the same once upon a time and vowed her life to the Only One.

Vows deepen in meaning in religious life just as they do in married life. The surface level of poverty is that I claim no money for myself; it all goes for the common good. On a deeper level poverty’s detachment allows attachment to God. Obedience means more than

going to the place of ministry assigned to me by my provincial. It means listening to God’s call daily. Chastity means much more than not marrying. It means giving my whole life to God and letting God be my Enough, my Everything. That’s who I say Jesus is.

Young persons are being called to religious life, but they need your encouragement. This week please take the time to encourage someone you know. It can be as simple as “Have you ever thought of being a Sister? Let that be THE question of the week!


The Here and Now

June 24th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Brian McLaren said, “The Gospel is not an evacuation plan for the next world.”  How true!  The Gospel tells us how to live here and now.  Love your enemies.  Pray for those who persecute you.  Cross the road to help someone lying in the ditch.  Feed the hungry.  Help the sick and dying.  Be patient and humble. The Gospel is a how-to book.  Its subtitle could be “How to Make This World aBetter Place.”

Can you think of other sub-titles for the Gospel?


Notre Dame Logo

June 4th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The Notre Dame logo puts the ND on the edge.  I’m happy to say that my religious community is willing to live on the edge. We have gone to so many new places in the past 20 years: Mozambique, Nicaragua, Uganda, Peru, Guatemala, New Orleans, and more.  We have ministered where others would rather not go, such as AIDS centers. Retired Sisters look for new ways to share their skills and wisdom. The edge is a good place. We’re not the center of attention. We’re not at the top. We’re not at the bottom. We’re on the edge. Come to think of it—Jesus was on the edge, along with everyone else on the margins: the poor, the unacceptable, the people of the “wrong” religion. May Sisters of Notre Dame reach out to those on the margins of society. May we always be on the edge.

How do you feel about being on the edge?

Horizontal Rain

May 30th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Like rain, life generally comes vertically: we get down to work, papers pile up on our desk, we come down with flu, we settle down to a good night’s sleep, we get up and dress up. Life is full of ups and downs.

But sometimes life has its “acrosses” like horizontal rain. Like the more destructive horizontal rain, life’s acrosses can send us reeling or at least step back momentarily off balance. Horizontal rain cannot be dodged easily. We can’t put up an umbrella or stand under an overhang. The choices are limited: stay indoors or take the full brunt.  All or nothing.

Facing God is like facing horizontal rain: all or nothing. When we accept God, we have to accept God’s People: “…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40). When we follow Jesus we follow him the whole way: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mk 8:34). We must forgive “seventy times seven times”–always, not just when it’s easy.

Will you face what comes across your path? God, yell “Come” above the winds, and we will follow.