Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Taking Time to Notice

"We must learn to be still in the midst of activity
and to be vibrantly alive in repose."
                   ~Indira Gandhi

I was finally able to get out for a nice bike ride last weekend. The day was brisk, fairly overcast, but really no snow and the pavement was dry and clear! For most of us, our every day days get  on the fast track pretty quickly and are full of business and busyness! How good it is to have a Sunday to step back a bit, relax, reflect and do something fun. 
This is where Indira Gandhi's quote comes into play ... so often we think that we are not able to be still in the midst of the chaos of the day. Even the weekends or the day off can get packed with things to do. It is important to teach ourselves ... train ourselves, to look out the window once in awhile and gaze up at the beauty of the sky, or out over the landscape and breathe, or pay attention the bird hopping along the sidewalk as we walk between meetings. These little things do not seem like much, but they do put us in a contemplative frame of mind! Those are the quick moments that can bring a sense of peace to our minds and hearts and perhaps allows us then to turn strong to meet the rest of the day!

I share with you a wonderful piece of advice that I  found once from Pema Chodron ...
"Let everything stop your mind and let everything open your heart."

In the Spirit of St. Francis ... Pace E Bene ~ Peace and All Good!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Be Kind and Loving

Yes, we are called, we are invited to approach our world and all the difficulties we face with merciful, compassionate, tender hearts. I just read a quote this morning that said something like "... when our eyes are open we SEE and when our hearts are open, we UNDERSTAND ..."

Part of the conversion of St. Francis of Assisi came when he allowed his eyes to see the leper that was coming towards him as a person - a person who felt rejected, but none-the-less was loved by a God of Infinite Goodness. Francis, by the grace of that same loving God, opened his heart and understood! AND THAT has helped to change the world!

In the cold of this winter and in a world that sometimes feels hostile, may we not be cold-hearted! Be kind and loving today .... to yourself and to those whose paths you cross!

Pace E Bene ~ Peace and All Good!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dwell in Possibilities

... Dwell in Possibilities ....
We are at the beginning of a new year ~ a year that is filled with so many possibilities and so much potential! My prayer is that every person strives to bring PEACE to their corner of the world and also
work for the COMMON GOOD of all people ... Just imagine!

St. Bonaventure, a great FRANCISCAN theologian and mystic wrote: "Justice is the restoration of beauty to all that is broken..."
When we have caring for each other, when we have peace in our hearts, peace in all parts of our lives and peace in our world we will have BEAUTY! 
... Dwell in Possibilities ....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Wonder-filled Universe

We have come to that Autumn time of the year once again. Fall seems to be a reflective season for me in some ways. As I walked the other day along a river path near where I live, there was a breeze and the yellow, orange and red leaves were being blown about and swirling in the air to the ground. There was something beautiful and refreshing in that time!

I haven't written in a long time, but want to share a passage I found in a book that fell into my hands a few days ago as I was looking at a bookshelf at my workplace. It is an older book called "Rest Stops for the Soul" by Joseph Nassal. The author wrote ...
"As the word 'universe' implies, each of us is 'one verse' of a greater story linked by the love of those who have gone before us, the love of thousands around us, the love of those who will come after us, and most profoundly, the love of God."

Yes, each person and all of Creation is "one verse" of a greater story linked by the love of God! May we reverence the world ~ the universe around us at all times!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel ... Author UnknownIt has been too long since I last posted ...if I have calculated correctly six months have slipped by since my last post! These months have been filled! A busy spring with retreats and programs offered here in Spokane at The Franciscan Place and then off to Colorado for the month of July for a Spiritual Direction Program which was excellent. So many thoughts and blessings could be included in this post, but it would be too much!

I share with you at this time what I just wrote for a corner of the newsletter that is going out for my ministry at St. Joseph Family Center here in Spokane. A few thoughts as we approach Thanksgiving and move towards December. As you know being outside and going for walks always give me inspiration...

As I go out for my walks these days I am very aware that we are edging into winter even though some leaves of autumn are still hanging on. Here in Spokane we have had our first blushes of snow. Days have sometimes been a bit grey and with the change of the clocks into standard time it is getting dark way too early! This time of the year can affect our moods and start to bring a person’s spirits down a bit. However, it is also a season of giving thanks for the fruits of earth and the harvest of the fields. It is a time to count our blessings of all that has been a part of this past year and look to new hopes and possibilities. It might also be a time of quietness. Most of the fields lie fallow, there is a hush that happens to the world with a snowfall and before the great celebration of Christmas we have an Advent time of preparing our hearts and homes. As we come towards the end of this year, what is it that you are most grateful for? How can you find a still, quiet space in your life to reflect on your blessings and what brings you hope? In the words of Konrad von Gesner, “Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse - a thanksgiving, and for every breath - a song…”  Peace and All Good!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

“… Happiness can be found in the darkest of time if one only remembers to turn on the light …”
Oh my gosh ... it has been so long since I have written that I didn't know that my blogger site for writing a post has changed, so I hope this post is coming through without any problems!

It is the month of May already, in that beautiful season of Spring! I don't have much time to write, but I will do my best. I passed my six month mark (actually 7 and half months) since I started my new ministry as spirituality/healing arts program director of The Franciscan Place at St. Joseph Family Center. Although things are going quite well, I feel like I am still learning the job and thus the days AND weeks seem to get away on me, thus not getting around to blog writing!

A couple of weeks ago now, I facilitated my third Cancer Survivor Retreat weekend for women here at TFP. These are amazing retreats for women whose lives have changed drastically because of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. The weekends have some enriching input  for the women as well as great deal of support for and from the others attending. The participants have time for rest, meditation, body movement (we had Yoga this time) and they are pampered  with a massage treatment and reflexology from our healing arts department - the women go home feeling renewed and en-couraged to keep plugging along!

After this last retreat I went for a nice walk towards evening time. Some badly needed reflection time for me ... I was tired and had to push myself to go, but as always it was good for me! As I journeyed through the back of the Gonzaga campus near the Spokane River I wandered into a little gazebo on a back lawn. Some very artistic students had made a lovely design on the cement floor with the quote above ~ “… Happiness can be found in the darkest of time if one only remembers to turn on the light …” It spoke to me that evening as I reflected on the women at the retreat (and from the other retreats) and on my own life in difficult times. Turning the light on is so important whatever that light is for you ... turning to one's faith, acknowledging God's love, taking extra time for prayer, connecting with a loved one or a good friend, using a gift or talent for your enjoyment, rereading a card or important letter, or looking up to see the beautiful sun shining through the trees!  God desires for us to be happy ... and yes, sometimes life is difficult ... In the darker times (and not so dark times) where do you find the light for true happiness??
Peace and Blessings!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Life Lessons from the Crocus Flower

Mother Nature has been very unpredictable lately - at least from my observation here in Spokane, WA. Last week I was very aware of that fact as the weather went from freezing temperatures one day, to a lovely spring like day the next, and then to snow and torrential rains in the days to follow.
When it was still so cold with the thermometer reading in the 30s outside I spied one of the first signs of Spring ... some lovely crocuses up and out of the ground! Shortly after that I was out walking and started thinking of how brave those little flowers are! They are the first flowers to poke their heads out of the soil despite the threat of more cold weather and even snow. They give our world some hope of better weather, a new season and adding a splash of beauty to the dismal grey! The next to come are the daffodils and tulips - bigger flowers, but not the first.

There is a good lesson to learn from that little flower (the crocus) for us human beings ... maybe even a challenge to embrace. Am I a person who is willing to brave the elements to be true to growth and to life yearning inside of me and make a difference somewhere or to someone? To take a risk at something new or different? To stand up for something if if I am the only one? Or, do I shy away preferring to "bloom" later like the daffodil or tulip when it seems safer?
We are still in the season of Lent. Maybe during these last days of Lent it might be a good idea to reflect on where and how God is calling me/you to grow or go forward into something even if the "weather" isn't ideal .... trusting that God's light will guide and help in the process.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And The Days Go By ...

Be Praised My Lord .... for everything!
...the busyness of life; snowy days; sunny, winter days, quiet moments, meetings upon meetings, connecting with new people, praying for concerns ~ oh so much!

Paula D'Arcy is known for a wonderful quote that I often remember ... "God comes to us disguised as our life.”
The days since I last posted about a month and a half ago have been filled with so many things I wouldn't even know where to begin, but God HAS been present in it all.

I am grateful that I am able to notice God's whisperings to me in the midst of all my comings and goings. I am very fortunate to come to work each day at "The Franciscan Place" (www.sjfconline.org) where I am surrounded by the beauty of God's creation. Sometimes that is part of my prayer for the day - to stand in awe at the beautiful world that is being revealed to me.
Maybe through these pictures you also can share a bit in the contemplative side of life and begin to notice God coming to you too, disguised as your life ....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Out of Hibernation and into a New Year!

Greetings for a HAPPY NEW YEAR! It seems that I have been in "hibernation mode" since October ~ oh my. Moving to a new city, having a new ministry and living in a new local community has preoccupied me for some time now. I have a couple of months under my belt now and I hope to do better with my posts in 2012 ...

My new place of work -
St. Joseph Family Center - was closed the week between Christmas and New Years and it has been very much appreciated having the time to "catch up" a little bit with life.
I had a very nice "first" Christmas with my new local community. We invited our other Franciscan Sisters that are in town over for dinner and it was a wonderful time to gather & celebrate Christmas Day, share around the table and pray together.
This past week gave me time to connect with some friends in town, get out for some nice walks and a couple great bike rides and just "be" a little bit!
And now we are into a brand new year, filled with hopes and new possibilities! As I was rummaging around my room this morning (I am still trying to settle in and make my space at home mine) I found a prayer "typed" out on a little piece of paper in my Bible. I share with you now:
A Prayer for the New Year (author unknown)
The old year is gone with its joys and its sorrows; Before us are stretching the New Year's tomorrows. Forgive what was thoughtless and wrong in the past, and grant to our virtues the power to last; that we may go forward with gladness, not fear, to a joyful and worthy and blessed New Year."

This little prayer reminds me of a reflection I had last week on one of my frosty Spokane morning walks. I've been trying to take pictures of some of the beautiful sites I am seeing this winter ... stark trees against a blue sky, thick hoar frost on the tree branches, the sun gleaming on the river, and so much more. Sometimes I run into the problem of not having enough memory on my camera to take a shot because I hate to erase pictures that I have taken - even when I have s
aved them on the computer.
Perhaps that is like life! We have so many memories stored up in our brains. It is good to keep the happy ones and ones we can learn from, but maybe the the ones that bog us down with resentment, anger, or unpleasantness should be erased so we have room for the good and beautiful. Just a thought as we journey into this new year ... I am finding some new building blocks as I greet 2012 to build some new memories - What about you?! Peace and Blessings

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset ,,, A New Chapter Dawning

I'm back .... As I begin this blog entry I realize it has been way over a month since I last wrote "Lost in Transition"! I am reminded of the song from Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye sang:
Sunrise, sunset ... swiftly flow the days. Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as I gaze.
Sunrise, sunset ... swiftly fly the years. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.

In many ways that is how I have felt the past month and a half! The days have swiftly past as I have moved from Portland, Oregon after 21 years, to Spokane, WA and a new ministry. I am about to begin my third week as Spirituality/Healing Arts Program Director of the Franciscan Place at St. Joseph Family Center here in Spokane. My first week my head was spinning having a new job, moving into a new local community of Franciscan Sisters and being in a new city, although I lived here in the late 80's as well as when I was a college student at Gonzaga University.
Anyway, all of that is part of the reason I haven't posted recently ....

Along with moving I was able to take some time to try and renew and refresh myself before starting something new. At the end of August I made my annual week's retreat. This year I spent the week at a beautiful spot overlooking the Puget Sound. It was a preached retreat and a little bit busier than I would have liked, but God was good and graced me with peace and insights as I prepared to move into my new ministry. I was gifted with many gorgeous sunsets during that week including the one above. I saw the sun in the morning, but never was quite up for sunrise ...

After Labor Day I finally got some vacation time. After traveling so much over the last eight years as a Vocation Director I treated myself to some "miles" and got to go to Hawaii! Of course I enjoyed the warm Hawaiian breeze, the beautiful ocean water for swimming and reflecting, some gorgeous sunsets and a wonderful day snorkeling ~ a prayer experience for me as I was awed at the colorfulness and diversity of the stunning tropical fish and sea creatures including a sea turtle! All of that just added to the great experience to visit and spend time with two of my Sisters in Community, Sr. Joan (L) and Sr. Rochelle (R), who live and minister in Honolulu. They were the perfect hostesses and tour guides! We had fun and shared many conversations ... it was very good to be with them and connect :)

There is soooo much more I could write, but it is getting late and I want to get this long delayed entry posted before another sunrise and sunset go by! I close with a Hawaiian sunset and a quote from Ignatius of Loyola that I happened upon yesterday as I walked through the campus of my alma mater - Gonzaga U. yesterday morning ....
"Let your soul hold itself tranquil and peaceful, ready to submit to the action of God."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Lost in Transition"

The end of July ... the beginning of August marked the end of my vocation ministry and the transition into something new. After eight years as a Vocation Director for my religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, I have "closed up shop" in my Portland vocation office. Two other Sisters are moving into the ministry on the west coast - Sr. Christine Still located in Tacoma, WA and Sr. Elaine Thaden who will have an office in Spokane, WA. I have really enjoyed the ministry which has allowed me so many opportunities and the chance to meet many wonderful people, so this ending is kind of sad for me, but also exciting as I anticipate a new ministry. It is not totally settled right now what the next ministry is going to be so, for right now, I wait patiently.

Shortly after I cleaned up my office space and had the adventure of taking furniture and materials to Tacoma in a big U-Haul for the new vocation directors, I had my last "official" trip east to meet with the Formation Team one last time bringing closure to my ministry with a beautiful prayer service and blessing, to celebrate and share in the joy of the renewal of vows for one of our Sisters, Sr. Rose Mare Eve and connect with with our new members especially our two novices, Srs.Sara and Simona before they left for St. Louise to begin their novitiate time at the Third Order Regular-Franciscan Common Novitiate (TOR-FCN). Whew, I had some good, but whirlwind days at the Motherhouse the first week of August!

Following those busy days at the Motherhouse, I did take a few days to spend with some Franciscan Sister friends who have just moved to the Maryland country side to live on a farm. Sisters Kathy and Libby have the desire to live a simpler, more contemplative and sustainable life-style right now and found the perfect place to rent. They don't have the whole farm as they do have other ministries, but have the farmhouse and a fair amount of land around it to have a great garden which was lush with tomatoes when I was there! A few weeks before I was there they had a "party" of others sisters there to help harvest their nice little potato crop ~ I did get to enjoy the fruits of that harvest while I was with them :)The "farm" was a great place to be for a few days. I enjoyed sharing in their new endeavor and just having a little down time. The past week I have been on the road quite a bit ... down to Southern Oregon, a quick trip to Spokane and now tomorrow I head off for my annual retreat. I am so looking forward to that retreat time! I need that quiet time and space apart to be with my God and to continue my own discernment about my next ministry and where God is leading me. There is a quote by Dr.
Howard Thurman that I have come across several times in the past week or so, and which actually has been a good thought for me and anyone who is discerning something in their life. I think it is worth sharing and so close with these words to ponder: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." That is how St. Francis lived his life and that is what God desires for us! Pace E bene ... Peace and All Good!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sometimes Life Can Be Just a Blur

It has been about three and half weeks since I last posted right before I headed to the east coast for a week of meetings and Community gatherings. The picture here, taken a couple of weeks ago at a retreat for single women kind of shows what the past few weeks have felt like - full and a blur! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so since I still seem a little pressed for time to write too much right now I am adding pictures of my life the past few weeks ...
On June 25th Sr. Mary Beth Antonelli - the other vocation director in my Community - and I gathered six of our Sisters together for our annual Congregational Vocation Committee. We had an excellent meeting with prayer and some wonderful sharing of ideas.
I was back in Aston, PA at our Motherhouse for a week which not only included this meeting, but a beautiful Jubilee celebration for our Sisters marking 25, 50, 70, 75 and 80 years of commitment as Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia ~ wish I had a picture to share, but didn't have my camera :(
Our Jubilee celebration was followed by our Community Assembly in which almost 400 Sisters gathered for three days of prayer, input with some excellent speakers, sharing and celebrating around the theme "From Blessing to Blessing"! ... and it was indeed a blessed time together!

I returned back to the west in time to take a little break in southern Oregon to celebrate the 4th of July with some members of my family. Here my nephew enjoys a bit of relaxation after several of us took a fun canoe ride ~ it was a beautiful day up at Rocky Point! It actually was a wonderful and needed ahhhh time for me.
Then it was off to Olympia, WA for the first annual VIVA retreat for women interested in knowing more about religious life. Meet the team of Sisters from various Congregations and the participants .... It was a wonderful weekend and event!

Finally, this past weekend I went to a potluck picnic with our Franciscan Companions ~ those who belong to our Associate program here in Portland. It was kind of rainy here in Portland, so the picnic was indoors, but that did not dampen the spirit of this group. The sun did shine a little bit and we could go outdoors. Meet Sisters Theresa, Florence and Companion Marti with St. Francis!
So, I would say it has been a busy few week! None-the less, it has been good ... filled with many blessings! In the Franciscan spirit I say, Pace E Bene ~ Peace and All Good for now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A quick hello from the City of Roses!

It is the month of June, the month of leaves
and roses, when pleasant sights
salute the eyes ... and
pleasant scents the noses!
~ Nathan Parker Willis

I am suppose to be packing at the moment - I'm heading to the east coast in the morning for some meetings, the celebration of our Sister Jubilarians and a Community gathering. It will be a busy week, but no doubt a good one as I connect with many sisters and friends! Anyway I wanted to share briefly before I leave. It seems that spring ... oh I mean SUMMER has finally arrived in Portland. We have had so many grey rainy days this year. I am ready for some good weather! Close to my office there is a lovely little rose garden and last week I was able to take a little walk in that direction. The roses were beautiful! Wanted to share a couple of them ... getting late, lots to do before I lay my head on the pillow.
Please remember though , in the busy-ness of everyday ... don't forget to stop and smell the roses. Contemplate their beauty and praise the creator! Peace and Blessings!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Overflowing abundance!

Oh my gosh! It seems like it was just a couple weeks ago since my last post and now I am fully aware that it has been a whole month! Sorry about that :(
A LOT of water has gone under the bridge since then, or to go along with my visual aid - a lot of water has gone over the Falls ... My life has certainly been moving at a fast rate since May 6th! Almost a week in the Seattle/Tacoma area for meetings and gatherings, a trip to Southern Oregon for the wonderful occasion of my nephew's wedding and some fun family time, a trip to Philadelphia for meetings and "Sister" connections at my Franciscan Motherhouse, and a return to Portland in time for the Memorial Day weekend and some enjoyable time with east coast company. In the course of all my traveling around I have been blessed with some spring time "ahhh" moments of being in the Cathedral of God's beautiful creation.
As I was playing "tour guide" to two "Sister" visitors from the east coast - Sr. Pat and our Candidate, Sara, we spent a beautiful, sunny day at Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast and then spent a day driving up the scenic Columbia River Gorge stopping at a number of gushing waterfalls along the way. That day brought to mind a very powerful image of God that St. Bonaventure captured and that I was reminded of as we visited Latourell Falls (shown here).

I'm not sure right now of the exact words, but he said something like, "...the revelation of God is the outpouring of the 'fountain fullness' of God's self and of Divine love for us..." Or, as I read somewhere else, "God the Father is the 'fountain fullness' overflowing with goodness and love..."
All of the waterfalls on this day trip were gushing with water and were so beautiful and really did speak of God's outpouring of love and goodness! In all my busy-ness this past month God certainly has had a way to shower that love on me and to let me know I'm not alone! I celebrate the generosity of our God!
*Sisters Guadalupe, Pat and Sara enjoying the water spray at the bottom of Latourell Falls

Friday, May 6, 2011

God's Life Abounds!

"Everything that lives is holy, life delights in life."
~ William Blake 1757-1827

As we continue in this beautiful Easter Season, I wish you many blessings!
It has taken awhile, but it seems spring is finally making it to Portland. I love this beautiful season even if it causes a bit of a challenge to the allergies....

This has to be a quick post as I need to leave shortly for a five night stay up in the Seattle area. I'm heading up for several meetings next week, but first I am looking forward to a fun weekend to be with family and to help my great nephew celebrate his First Holy Communion! On Saturday morning St. Monica Church is going to be "a buzz" as 74 children participate in this First Communion - it will be a wonderful celebration! A good contrast to a couple of billboards I have been passing on my way to work each day...
I have been a bit disturbed by these billboards that say, "You don't need God to hope...to love...to care...to live". I know that there is and can be a lot of hope, love and care that non-believers have and show, but my question is about the "to live" part. I deeply believe that to live, to have life is so much a gift from the One who created us! I believe that our good and loving God has created all of life ... I have experienced too many affirmations and confirmations in my life to doubt God's presence. God's life and love abounds!
As I look around me every day at the miracle of life that surrounds me, especially during spring and in this Easter Season of new life, I pray and proclaim as St. Francis of Assisi did:
"Most high, all-powerful, all-good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honour and all blessing .... All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made ...through Sister Earth, our mother, who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs ..." All praise be yours my God! Touched by Your hand, O God, our world is holy!