Friday, August 8, 2014
Sister Meg Kymes, D.C., shares about the Provincial Assembly for the Province of St. Louise-USA.
Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to gather with more than 270 of my Sisters in St. Louis for my first Provincial Assembly. We all gathered for a week to discern what direction our Province as well as the worldwide Daughters of Charity community needed to focus on for the next six years. We spent time in reflection and prayer to help us be more open to the Holy Spirit's voice among us.
Coming to this Assembly, many of my Sisters had been through a very difficult time. The community had just closed multiple missions this year. We were able to celebrate all that has been accomplished at those missions and lift up in prayer our partners in mission and the poor we had served whom we left behind, being able to lift up our losses to the Lord and allow His presence to heal those wounds. After letting go of our losses, we were able to look at the future of our Province.
As I journeyed through this meeting with my Sisters, I knew the Holy Spirit was with us. Our shared insights were honest and personal while remaining focused on the greater good of our community. We were able to reflect on what was the core of our identity and build that into our ideas for our future. Even in times of relaxation and meals together, there was a sense of joy in being with each other. We were able to enjoy time with old friends while building new friendships with Sisters we did not know as well. The whole experience of our Provincial Assembly brought me back to why I became a Daughter of Charity and gave me great hope for the future of our community.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Sister Mary Felice shares an update about her ministry in Lukolela in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I have been in Lukolela for nine months now. We don’t have Internet access there thus I have lost touch with many people. I am now at our Provincial House in Mbandaka and the Internet is working, so I am taking advantage of the situation! ...
In Lukolela we have a 128-bed hospital. We have 4.5 doctors and we recently hired another. Sister Marie Cecile is the medical director. She is 74 years old, from Italy, and has been in the Congo I believe more than 40 years! Our hospital has the usual departments: internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, an emergency room and laboratory. Each doctor has the responsibility of a department – mine is internal medicine, where we have 30 beds. Besides doing rounds in our department we also take turns covering the emergency room, we each have one day per week in the operating room, and we take turns being on call at night. Myself and Sister Marie Cecile also do ultrasounds and we may be sending another doctor to be trained. We treat much malaria, typhoid, malnutrition, HIV, tuberculosis, amebiasis, filariosis, hypertension and trauma.
One of our largest challenges since I have been here is a lack of physicians because we are rarely all present, thus those who are must be on call frequently at night and the days are busy. I continue to pray that it will improve. I also continue to hope that one day we will have Internet access!
We have nine Sisters in our community in Lukolela and one postulant. We also have a school.
... I am including some photos from our hospital. I left unexpectedly early, thus I did not have the occasion to take specific photos to send but I’m sending some nonspecific photos I took earlier of patients – a young woman with malnutrition and diabetes, a child with an eye injury, of family members collecting water falling from the roof, and some goats seeking shelter from the rain, outside internal medicine department.
We are a reference hospital for a large rural area. There are health centers located in some of the small villages that give basic care, but when something is beyond them they refer it to us, thus many of our patients come from far, by bicycle, taxi, motorcycle or by the river in a pirogue. (We are located on the Congo River.) Our operating room is quite busy with appendectomies, hernia operations, cesareans, gynecologic surgeries and bowel perforations from typhoid. We also do many blood transfusions, especially for children, because of the anemia caused by malaria (secondary to hemolysis).
Love, Sister Mary
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
We get asked a lot: What do you do for fun? Yes, being a Daughter of Charity is serious business. But God also invites all of us to have some fun!
We'll chat about what we do in our free time during our next Holy Hangout on YouTube, set for Sunday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. CDT. Share what you do for fun and where you see God in those fun moments, or ask us your questions about what we do as Daughters of Charity by joining the conversation. Tweet us or share an Instagram post using #HolyHangoutDC, post on our Facebook Timeline, or comment on this blog with your questions.
For more information, join our Facebook Event.
Got questions about discernment and vocations? Visit our website and connect with us--we'd be happy to answer!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
|Sister Meg (second from left) with some of her students at|
Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg, Md.
"The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them."
- St. Vincent de Paul
- St. Vincent de Paul
This past school year, I had the opportunity to teach second grade religion. This was my first year teaching, and like most first-year teachers, I learned more than I think I taught my students.
Pope Francis met with students from Jesuit schools throughout Italy and Albania in June of last year. He said, "...The main element in school is learning to be magnanimous. ...This means having a big heart, having a greatness of soul. It means having grand ideals, the desire to achieve great things in response to what God asks of us..." I learned to not just expect the minimum from my students, but to expect great things from them because that is what God would expect from them.
One of my students had some issues with his reading ability. However, in discussions, he would come up with amazing insights into God's presence with us in all things and had a deep love for the Eucharist. God had given that child a very special gift of a deep love for our Lord and His laws and it was a stunning gift for me to witness. It inspired me to go deeper within my own faith life.
My first year of teaching also encouraged me to be more trusting in our Lord. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" My lead teacher and principal entrusted me with the awesome responsibility to pass on the "good gift" of our faith to my students, which is what Jesus would give to these children if he were still on Earth.
One of our retired Sisters who became a mentor to me told me to remember to trust that Jesus was with me every step of the way. I also had to remember the Holy Spirit had inspired my lead teacher and principal to make me these students' teacher. On especially difficult days, I tried to remember that, for a reason yet unknown to me, the Lord had chosen me to be these children's teacher and I needed to do the best I could while remembering that he was with me every step of the way.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the special people God has placed in my life--from the three individuals who challenged me to consider a vocation in religious life, to the Sisters I've met along the way, my spiritual director, friends and family.
In reflecting on my discernment journey, my need for interaction with others has changed and deepened. One of the hardest obstacles in my discernment was the initiation. I knew God was inviting me to discern my vocation, but I didn't take any action for two years because I was afraid of where it might lead.
I decided to begin by taking a leap of faith and sharing my intent of discerning my vocation with a friend who shared my faith. That was the best decision I ever made because she immediately encouraged me to look into a particular community and sent me information about an online discernment retreat with the Daughters of Charity, which was another important part of my discernment. I would encourage anyone in the process of discernment to find at least one person to share their journey with who they trust and who walks closely with the Lord.
The online discernment retreat with the Daughters was perfect for me because it allowed me to take one step further in my discernment journey without having to let a whole group of retreatants know I was considering religious life. Speaking with Sister Sharon Richardt for those five days opened my eyes and heart to possibilities within religious life. Before the retreat, the idea of religious life was very intangible, but after speaking with Sister Sharon, I realized Sisters are real, down-to-earth people called by God to live their lives in a special way.
As I continued my discernment, it was very important for me to visit with different communities to learn about their charisms and apostolates, and to spend time talking with their Sisters. Events like Nun Runs and Come and See weekends helped me get an initial idea of how different communities live, but as I've continued my discernment journey, I've found spending more time with Sisters on special visits and talking with vocation directors to be most helpful. It's been invaluable to spend time with Sisters doing everyday things, like helping clean up at a local Catholic school, because it helped me better understand the heartbeat of their lives. This has been important for me because it will allow me to find my home as I continue to reflect on the desires God has placed on my heart and discover the person He has created me to be.