Suores Vitae Part I

This was originally published on my old blog, Rebel Catholic that recorded my adventures doing a nun run in 2013. I’m republishing it here in honour of the third anniversary since I returned home and the beginning of life in the married vocation I am called to.

Part 22: Suores Vitae Part I

Originally Published: Saturday December 7th, 2013

It is Wednesday, sitting in my hotel room in Midtown Manhattan and I can finally start detailing my adventure with the Sisters of Life.

It began on the 17th of November. I arrived at on a chilly New York evening, dropped my bags off their Convent on W 51st Street and then headed to meet them at St Patrick’s Cathedral. They were doing Night Fever. It was huge, the doors of St Patrick’s were thrown open, with Eucharistic Adoration going on and confession too. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs) were doing music and more CFRs and Sisters of life were inviting people in to pray and light a candle. It was a good way to begin the next 17 days.

I settled into my room at the postulant house in the Bronx. Not the dodgy part of the Bronx… The really nice part!
Saturday it was up early to go out to Villa Maria Guadalupe in Stanford, Conneticut for the Coworker Formation Day. What a full on day! Communication skills, talks by the sisters, food… 60 people from all over the place to help out the sisters.
The talk that had the biggest impact on me was Mother Agnes’ Delighting in Her talk. It essentially boiled down to this…
We can only truly will the good for someone else (i.e. Love them) when we perceive and receive their intrinsic goodness first. Otherwise we are not working for their good, we are working because we are good.
Kinda makes you rethink your whole interpersonal relations ever. I got a lot out of that day. But alas, it was only a day and we made our way back to the Bronx in the evening for dinner and sleep. It was then up for a regular week. Up at 5 am, morning prayer, meditation and mass followed by breakfast in silence (silence till midday usually). It was then off to the days activites.
Tuesdays it was off to the Mother House about 30 minutes upstate for philosophy classes with a brilliant Jesuit and Sr Mary Gabriel. A rousing game of soccer, ultimate frizbee or football in between, this week it was soccer.
Wednesday was apostolic day where the postulants were split up and sent to what ever tasks needed doing. I was sent to the Apostolic Centre in Manhattan to help sort out a huge load of donations that came in. Mostly clothes. Friday was a day of silence and prayer.
I also had a whole library of spiritual reading and at Sr Antoniana’s recommendation, I dived into Fr Timothy Gallagher’s Discernment of Spirits and Ignatian spirituality.
I was busy. Which was a good thing, considering I spent the entire freaking week in the throughs of spiritual desolation. It was not fun. At all. The whole week was numb and blah, going through the motions.
It was not fun. It was frustrating and discouraging. Being caught in a cycle of despondency is really not fun. I have no idea how Mother Teresa lived and was productive for decades in that state. Thank God for Sr Antoniana. Thursday afternoon she says “Kiara, how do you feel about going on the Young Adult Retreat we were talking about? I’ve signed you up!”
So Friday afternoon, Sr Virginia Joy drives me out to Villa Maria again for a retreat with 40 other young people. The retreat began in the evenin with dinner a conference and vocation story from Sr Filumena, the first kiwi Novice. Following that was a Eucharistic Healing service where the monstrance is bought down and you can get close and touch it.
That was my lowest point. I went up and knelt before Jesus and felt nothing, just blah. Confession was going on so I went and the wisdom of the young priest was just what I needed. I was still in desolation, but I came to grips with it and was able to move to a place where I could resist it.
The Saturday was a much better day. It was a silent day so I walked the grounds and read, there were a couple of conferences and spent every opportunity in the Chapel. I was still feeling the desolation but I had better sense of what this was and perhaps why I was suffering it.
Saturday night was party time! We had an All Saints costume party. Complete with Purgatory, the place you go to ‘clothe yourself in sainthood’ if you didn’t bring a costume. I dressed up as GK Chesterton. It was hilarious. No his technically not a saint, but his cause is open for canonisation.
There you have it! We also had Irish dancing going on in the basement and the we make a fire. Unfortunately we only had green wood so Sr May Karen and I split it into matchsticks to make it burn. No, I don’t have a photo of Sr Mary Karen and an axe.
Sunday was the final conferences finishing with Sr Mary Loretta. This little lady from Brooklyn has the most phenomenal charism for evangelism I have ever seen. No matter who you are, she can talk about Jesus to you. I left that retreat with a shot in the arm spiritually but I was not quite out of the woods yet.
Stay tuned for part II in a couple of days!

What have I discovered?

This was originally published on my old blog, Rebel Catholic that recorded my adventures doing a nun run in 2013. I’m republishing it here in honour of the third anniversary since I returned home and the beginning of life in the married vocation I am called to.

Part 21: What have I discovered?

Originally Published: Sunday October 27th, 2013

So its about time I wrote a bit more about what happened over the last couple of weeks. I had an awesome time in Steubenville, unwinding, watching TV, hanging out with mates. Oh how I missed the company of menfolk! I literally spent two weeks with women. Which was wonderful but I have never been that long without the company of boys in my life.

All that aside, I spent a lot of time in prayer. No? You don’t say? Yeah, yeah I know… stating the obvious right? On Wednesday I was having a bit of a hard time. I was frustrated and anxious with this whole thing. I just wanted a damn answer! Is that too much to ask? So anyway… around rolled 5pm and it was time for Holy Hour so I went and I threw it (none too gently) at Jesus.

Continue reading

Oh Ma Gawd I’m in Bawston!

This was originally published on my old blog, Rebel Catholic that recorded my adventures doing a nun run in 2013. I’m republishing it here in honour of the third anniversary since I returned home and the beginning of life in the married vocation I am called to. 

Part 14: Oh Ma Gawd I’m in Bawston!

Originally Published: Wednesday August 14th, 2013

*As a note for the future; I will try and post things week by week now instead of everyday. Much more achievable on my part!

Now I arrive in Boston reasonably refreshed having napped in the Miami airport and my God was I greatful for a Daddy who loves me and was willing to go halvsies on a nice hotel. I had a bed and a working shower and I had to be shocked out of half-arseing Portugese too but it was glorious!

I wake up feeling on top of the world and head out to explore. Boston is just simply beautiful!

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Every little corner hides something beautiful. Its a place that has seen many people and has a real sense of its history and its place in it. And this evening I am introduced to Barbara, the most beautifully hospitable person I have met (barring my Mardi). We had dinner in the North End, which is the home of the Italian migrant community that dates back to the 1850s.

I had spent plenty of that week exploring the north end on foot. There was an Italian feast on at the same time and it was awesome. Barbra and I went in one afternoon after a pedicab tour of the South End given by her hilarious son Christian. Barbara also introduced me to baseball and the Red Sox. She managed to get us last minute tickets in seriously awesome seats. We were so close we could practically spit on the players!

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Barbara and I had some lovely adventures and talks. We also went to the beautiful coast on Maine with her 20 year old granddaughter Amanda. It was fantastic day with lobster (very reasonably priced lobster) sorbet and candy!

The coastal walk that we did in Ogunquit (yes that is it’s name) was lined with primroses just growing wild. The scent was just heady, with the salt and this sweet and slightly musky perfume from these happily blooming roses!
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So In summary, my week in Boston. It was a wonderful time of rest and recuperation from the hecticness of WYD. But the best thing about it was Barbara. She showed me such hospitality and looked after me as well as if I was family. I know Americans are hospitable, but she blew me away! To give you some context, Barbara’s husband of fifty years passed away three months ago and in the midst of her having to deal with the grief she just gave with such generosity! I want to be like her when I grow up!

I had many little adventures which are too numerous to catalogue here, but the overwhelming sense of my time in Boston has been one of profound gratitude. Just when I thought God was done with the surprises, I am surprised yet again! Surprised by the generosity of complete strangers and the beauty of everything around me. This ‘little’ church became my friend in Boston.

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St Leonard’s was the first Catholic Church in New England built by the Italian migrant community in 1873. It is was a great quite place just off the main road in the North End. I spent quite a bit of time there and it was a really good time for me to reflect on what had been happening over the last three weeks, to be thankful and to gather the memories.

But finally of all an apology! Now that I am finally on my way to being settled, I will get much more regular with these blog posts.

I finish with a massive Thank you to Barbara for her hospitality and generosity! (She is also going to hate me if she sees this photo… Well I promise I will replace it as soon as I am able to get a better photo! (If it helps, I’m not looking all that crash hot either)). I am definitely returning to Boston as soon as I am able. Thank you Barbara for making my experience of this beautiful city so unique and joyful! Love ya lots!

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