Friday, April 3, 2015

Do you realize I have the power?

by Sister Roberta Treppa, D.C.

“Do you not realize that I have the power to release you and I have the power to crucify you?”

By the time Pilate said this, he had already given in three times to the crowd who kept handing Jesus over to him.  

Three times, the people pushed Pilate to crucify Jesus. 

Three times, Pilate went back to speak with Jesus. 

Three times, Pilate returned to the crowd to say he found no guilt in Jesus. 

But each time, Pilate gave in to the crowd. 

He yielded to the power of the crowd, and used his power to crucify Jesus. 

Jesus' power was love. How do we use our power?

“Do you not realize that I have the power to release you and I have the power to crucify you?”

Jesus said to him, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above.”

We have power like Pilate.

We each have the power to release, and the power to crucify. 

We can release, through forgiveness, love, comfort...

Or we can crucify, through hate, abuse, neglect...

All this power is given to us from above…it’s called “free will.” 

Jesus died to release us from the bonds of sin.

And all too often, we use our power poorly…

And Jesus, the one we crucified, still has–and USES–the power to release us from the power of sin.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Foster Care: A Story in Ministry

by Sister Liz Sjoberg, D.C.

I work in the overnight emergency program at Marygrove, an agency in St. Louis that serves abused, neglected and homeless children and teens. The kids we see in our program are ones experiencing a major crisis, such so that they cannot live in their family home or foster home anymore. Their stories are heartbreaking and dark.

One of the girls at Marygrove shared poems she wrote about her experiences. This is the third poem we've shared over the last couple of weeks. Please keep Marygrove and the children we serve in your prayers.

Foster Care

They take you away from your real mom and dad, then expect you not to get all mad.
They try to place you in a home with a stranger, every time for me I'm sent away because I'm the danger.
I maybe finally found the one place I belong, I've been progressing and happy, it's been so long.
I'm growing and learning to be more free, trying to become the best I can be.
My past may form me but it's not who I am, so watch out foster care–I'm taking a stand.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Celebrating Our Vows: Sister Whitney

As we prepare to renew our vows this year, three Sisters share their perspective about our annual vow renewal. Read the first two posts in this series by Sister Joanne and Sister Meg.

Part III by Sister Whitney Kimmet, D.C.

Sister Whitney Kimmet,
2 years vocation
As a young Daughter of Charity, I love Renovation (Vow Day). Early in my discernment, a Sister jokingly referred to annual renewal of vows as our "escape clause." That could be true, but after several years of being with the Sisters during Renovation, I've come to see it more as a "strengthening clause." I've seen the grace that comes with making a formal request and a conscious choice to re-commit for another year, especially as the Church celebrates the Annunciation and Mary's own "yes."

At two years vocation, even though I have not yet made vows, during the formation process I've experienced a similar cycle of reflection, request, commitment and grace. It is a powerful, challenging, beautiful rhythm in our lives as Daughters of Charity. During Renovation, that cycle culminates in an almost overwhelming sense of community-wide joy as each Sister emerges from holy discernment to give her "yes."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Celebrating Our Vows: Sister Meg

As we prepare to renew our vows this year, three Sisters share their perspective about our annual vow renewal. Read yesterday's post by Sister Joanne and check in March 25 for the last post in the series.

Part II by Sister Meg Kymes, D.C.

Sister Meg Kymes,
4 years vocation

When I was beginning formation with the Daughters I was invited by the local community I lived with to come to their Renovation (Vow Day) Mass. I remember sitting in the back of the chapel surrounded by the Sisters I lived with and other Daughters from the area. After the homily the priest invited the Sisters to renew their vows. All at once everyone in the chapel, except for me and the priest, stood for a few moments, not saying a word, then sat down again and Mass continued. I thought to myself, "What just happened?"

Today, I am a Daughter of Charity, but am considered "under vows," which simply means I have not yet made my vows for the first time.* Most days my life doesn't look any different from the other Sisters I live with. I wear blue and white just like they do, I go to chapel and pray the same prayers they do, I go to my ministry every day. Nothing seems different at first, but I can't vow my life to my Lord like my Sisters do. I have signed over everything I owned before I came to the community and feel like the vows are part of my life, but I can't pray the same words they do every March 25. Instead I try to live out the vows to the best of my ability by practicing chastity, poverty, obedience and serving my masters, the poor, as my Sisters do.

On March 25, I pray for my Sisters around the world renewing their vows and pray to our Lord that when my time comes, I can say my own vows to the Lord and mean them with my whole heart.

*Daughters of Charity are 5-7 years vocation before they make vows for the first time.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Celebrating Our Vows: Sister Joanne

As we prepare to renew our vows this year, three Sisters share their perspective about our annual vow renewal. Check in March 24 and March 25 for more posts.

Part I by Sister Joanne Vasa, D.C.

Sister Joanne Vasa,
39 years vocation
March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the feast day that honors the angel's announcement to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was the one chosen by God to bring Jesus Christ into the world. This is also the day thousands of Daughters of Charity around the world renew their commitment to a life of service of the poor, poverty, chastity and obedience. As a Society of Apostolic Life, the Daughters make annual, simple vows. This is not simply a refreshing of an original commitment, but rather a new pledge each year.

One of the ways I imagine the vows of the Daughters of Charity is to think of them as "pillars" that support my ministry and everyday life in the community. From the early days of the Sisters in the 17th century, the vows were seen as a framework to support them in their efforts to serve the poor. Making vows was a way to ensure the way of life and ministry of the Sisters would continue and not weaken with time.

How does this happen for me today? I think of poverty, chastity and obedience as three supporting columns and my service of the poor as the surface or "arena" where I respond to God's call each day. In fact, these structures are so much a part of my everyday life I often forget their impact on me. The time of vow renewal puts them front and center. Poverty is a commitment to embrace a simple lifestyle and a means of being in solidarity with poor persons around the world. Chastity places the person of Jesus Christ as first in my life and ensures all other relationships flow from that primary one. This makes me more conscious of how I proclaim the power of this relationship in each interaction as a celibate woman. Obedience–not a popular subject these days–challenges me to offer my service for the common good of the people I serve, the Church and the community. This means I choose God's will freely, no matter the cost. These three pillars are not so much "what I do," but really form the fabric of who I am as a Daughter of Charity. It's one package!

In my ministry I encounter persons who are homeless, people seeking a deeper relationship with God and our own Sisters discerning God's call in their lives. What I notice in these three diverse populations is they have something in common: They have a strong desire to be "at home with God." For me, the vows are an anchor around which I can extend myself in service to each person, confident in the way God will be present. Promises give stability and purpose. If I can be a source of encouragement and a person who deeply listens, then the vows are doing what they do best: giving meaning and direction to my life.

I am grateful for the vows because they both test and stretch me; they affirm me some days, but most often they remind me authentic gospel living does not come without cost. I pray for the grace to continue letting them provide the basis for "washing the feet" of those I serve.