Thursday, July 2, 2015

25 Years a Daughter of Charity

by Sister Nora Sweeney, D.C.

Sister Nora Sweeney (second row from top, third from left)
surrounded by members of her community during
her 25th jubilee celebration.
My story begins with my parents, whose love and own vocation inspired me in my call. My mom stayed home and sacrificed her life for each of her children–Billy, Tommy, Joseph, Jimmy, Bobby, Kathy, John, Patricia, Mary and Michael–while my dad worked to support the family, but rolled up his sleeves at night to help each of us. My parents guided my brothers and sisters from the day we were born through childhood as young adults and into adulthood.

Sister Nora Sweeney, D.C.
These past 25 years as a Daughter of Charity have presented me more joys, challenges and discoveries than I could have ever imagined. I was inspired and deeply touched by the personal gifts of the Daughters of Charity who celebrated with me this jubilee and those who have been called home. Each one of them was compassionate, took the time to listen, understood, shared reflections and challenged me on a personal level. Their life-giving presence truly made me aware of God's presence in my own life. I became more reflective, hungering for a life that was meaningful in service to others.

Prayer, especially community prayer, is my source of power and energy. As Daughters of Charity, we are "doers," but without being grounded in prayer, I could not share God's love with those I serve and with my co-workers. My ministry has provided countless opportunities to daily experience God at work in the lives of people of all backgrounds. In my ministries, I have had the opportunity of seeing, listening and touching the face of God. I have learned there is no limit to God's creativity, love and ability to bring good out of even the most tragic of circumstances.

When I said "yes" to Jesus' invitation, I could not imagine being anywhere else. I love my life as a Daughter of Charity. The Congregation of the Mission together with the Daughters of Charity are known as "the Double Family." We each are united by our charism of Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. Our lives are ultimately committed to the service of the poor. We are dedicated to daily celebration of communal prayer, Eucharist and community life. In my experience with the Vincentians, I have felt the growth in the Vincentian charism and witnessed a deeper desire of the Double Family to live this charism in service to those most in need.

Twenty-one years ago, I made vows for the first time and Sister Mary Fran Martin gave the reflection. She said, at that time, speaking of my parents Alice and Fred, that they were still in love after 50 years of life together. And when I celebrate my Golden Jubilee it will still be obvious I am still in love with God, with my community and with the poor I have the privilege to serve.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Finding Renewal in Prayer

by Sister Julie Kubasak, D.C.

Sister Julie Kubasak, D.C., shares at the Daughters of Charity pre-postulants' retreat
in Los Altos Hills this March. 
"A highlight of their day is the time of personal prayer: listening to the Lord, praise and thanksgiving, contemplation, seeking to know his will, and presenting to him the life and needs of those who are poor." –Constitutions of the Daughters of Charity, #21
It's hard to believe it has been three months since I was in California for a retreat with our Vocation Directors and our pre-postulants, Michelle, Cynthia, Martha and Kara, to focus on praying as a Daughter of Charity. Since then, I have been praying daily for them and for all of you in discernment with the Daughters of Charity.

The quote above from our Constitutions is a great one, isn't it? Often, I'm asked this question: "How do I make it as a Daughter of Charity?" My answer is simple: Daily prayer will be your sustaining force. Daily prayer is daily renewal.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ends. God's kindness is new every morning." –Lamentations 3:2, 23
I think daily prayer is what inspires our day–keeps us going, gets us back on track when we're a bit off. Oh, sure, there are times in life when we may be feeling like we are just "putting time in" rather than praying. And that is our big mistake! Prayer is not about feeling. Prayer is about being and a Being.

Even if during the day I forget to think of what I prayed about that morning, when I do bring it to mind it's always a great moment. During the Examen, I often see a connection to an insight from my morning prayer that really applied to my whole day. The Examen is taking time to reflect on your day before the Lord, and remembering that God was there...that you noticed. God is always there!

So how has your prayer life been going? Have you taken time every day? It's O.K. if you only do a short prayer time daily, and build it up. The important thing is to do it. Remember: God is just waiting for you. He's already there.

Which prayer style appeals to you, "works" for you? Whatever way seems right is the right way. Don't worry about trying to use a prayer style you think you should be using. Additionally, our prayer style changes over time. Just be open, try your best and God will do his part.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

5 Daughters of Charity Vocation Videos

Making an Impact

In this short video, Sister Carol Schumer explains some of the great blessing that have been accomplished with the help of the Fathers' Support Center St. Louis. This center does amazing work reaching out to mainly men with children, teaching them to be self-sufficient, allowing them to become better fathers.

60 Seconds with Sister Marjorie Shelvy
Sister Marjorie enlightens us about her favorite years in the ministry when she worked at O'Connor Hospital in San Juan, Texas, serving patients and ministering to them.

Learning to Pray as a Daughter of Charity

This clip shows a video montage of the kind of life that the Sisters hold dear to them, and how what they do daily. Some of the pre-postulate women talk about what living with the Sisters' has taught them; things such as learning to pray or being mindful of the things that they watch or their choice in music.

60 Seconds with Sister Renee Rose

Sister Renee tells us about the importance of community life and how it brings so much joy to her and the other Sisters', which in turn allows them to share that joy with those around them.

Be a Daughter of Charity...Me?

In this video, a few Sisters divulge their stories of how they knew that they should become a Daughter of Charity and the feeling that came along with it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Visitor from Taiwan

The following was originally shared in the Spotlight on Taiwan newsletter produced by Daughters of Charity. 

Sister Martin Dehlinger, David Sachse and Sister Kathleen Grimley
Sister Kathleen Grimley and Sister Martin Dehlinger, who both arrived 50 years ago to serve as missionaries in Taiwan, have recently transferred to the Province of the West in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

With computers, iPods, iPhones, emails and Skype, contact between the Sisters, friends and parishioners in Taiwan is always near at hand. But the nearest and best is when one shows up in person for a visit.

When David Sachse, a parishioner from the Tien Mu parish and a good friend of the Sisters, found his way to the Labouré residence in Los Altos Hills, our two Sisters welcomed him with much joy.

David was able to attend Mass with the Sisters and enjoy dinner with them. David also served as carrier across the ocean for the Sisters, bringing their prayers, affection and California treats to their companions back in Taiwan.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Celebrating the Tiniest Life

by Sister Denise LaRock, D.C.

Sister Mary Louise Zollars, D.C., one of the Sisters
who attended the burial service.
Often what makes a Catholic hospital Catholic is below the surface of the hustle and bustle of what is going on in patient rooms. One such event recently was an infant burial.

I live with some of our Sisters at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. We received word of an upcoming infant burial graveside prayer service. I was very disappointed I would be out of town that day. However, several of our Sisters were able to attend the prayer service with the families whose babies died before or at birth. What a beautiful occasion for prayer and healing for those families. It puts into action the belief that life indeed has dignity and value before birth.

One Sister wrote: "The infant burial service is a tender moment when our precious children are laid to rest. Their mothers and fathers, grandparents and family friends all join together to celebrate the child's tiny life and commit them to the earth. It is a sad and touching ceremony when all those present recognize the holiness of their children. Their parent will one day be united to them in heaven where they live with Jesus forever. The Lord sees our grief and accepts our prayers. He blesses these children as he blessed the little ones who came to him in Jerusalem."

Take a moment to pray for the families who recently lost their tiny infants.