Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

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.

The Universe’s Baby Picture

May 21st, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

God gave birth to the universe in the Big Bang, the first instant in the universe’s baby book. At its birth Baby Universe, perhaps an inch long, probably weighed a thousand tons. There was a lot for Divine Parent to love! And Baby Universe grew rapidly. At about one one-hundredth of a second Baby Universe measured the length of our solar system.

God must have been delighted! Everything was going according to plan, a beautiful birth. Every particle newly born expressed God’s loving spirit. Everything was filled with Love. If only we had the universe’s baby picture, wouldn’t we say, “Looks just like its Father”?

Delight in the photos of God’s Baby! You’ll be caught up in the same loving spirit.

“Lord, Give Me All That I Need Today”

May 14th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

“Lord, give me all that I need to do what you would have me do this day,” Lisa has prayed each morning since October 15, 2004, when the Casualty Operations Desk verified that her son Matthew was listed as VSI (Very Seriously Injured). His tank was attacked inIraq, and all the other soldiers were killed.

Over the years Lisa knows that Matthew’s progress can stop anywhere. Her prayer continues to be, “Lord, give me all that I need to do what you would have me do this day.”

What do you need today? Just ask. God will dive in when we’re drowning in sorrow. God will walk by our side when we need companionship. God will carry us when we can go no farther.

Risen Lord, Creation Rising

May 9th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


Spring clean-up at the PC with Sr. Ruth and Tom!

Today I took newspapers for recycling. Ilia Delio in her book Care for Creation claims that we encounter Christ crucified at our hands by pollution and waste. So did I encounter the Risen Lord through recycling? I believe I did. Christ was in the persons who lifted the bundles onto the truck.

Christ’s loving pride in creation—“See what I made!”—was in the people working in their yards to remove the debris of winter, their hands itching to plant.

Christ was in my thoughts as I planned a route with multiple stops to conserve gasoline. May earth’s green gems rising remind us of Jesus risen from the dead.