Last night, I was not feeling well. I know it’s June, but the sore throat with headache and low-grade fever seems to be going around.
When I say sore, I mean SORE. My glands have been feeling inflamed, and simply put, awful. With these symptoms, I had trouble sleeping last night. I woke up around midnight and my aggravated throat would not me the refreshing slumber I so needed.
At some point, I realized the futility of laying there and trying to sleep. I decided, instead of wasting time laying there, to get up and go to chapel. I normally try to do do this “first thing in the morning,” and it was technically morning, by now.
I knew I would not be able to get back to sleep for at least a half hour so I figured that I might as well get my rosary in for the day. Since it was after midnight, it would “count” for the coming day and would allow me to sleep later once I finally got back to sleep.
Our constitutions as Dillingen Franciscans instruct us to daily “devote a half hour to meditation before God, and a further half hour to other private prayer.” So, having fulfilling the latter part of this statute, I returned to my bed. After a little struggle, I was able to sleep until the real morning came.
Hopefully tonight, I can sleep soundly and restore the habit of praying “first thing in the morning” to its original meaning.
After some reflection and discussion, I will be cutting back on posting here to once a week. I think this is for the best. I am hopeful that it will help me as I seek a healthy balance in my life.
Speaking of stepping back…I am leaving Sunday for our annual retreat. Your prayers would be appreciated during this time away for reflection and renewal.
As I step back for retreat and also modify my posting schedule, I pray you continue to step forward on your own personal journey with Christ.
This morning, I got up and headed over to St. Anne’s before 5:30 a.m. I had been planning to set up what I could in advance for 9 a.m. Mass and have a chance to pray before coming to the front desk by 6:45 or so. I was scheduled to work the reception desk then until 7:45 a.m., at which time we were heading off for Hankinson.
Meeting one of the night aides on my way to chapel, I was informed that one of the men’s floor aides had called in sick. Boy, did that through a monkey wrench in my day!
Instead of praying after doing the sacristy work, I rushed up to the men’s floor with the clean laundry cart…If I was to help out the other aide and still get to the desk and be able to go down for our community gathering in Hankinson, I had better get a head start! (I did finish up my prayer while on duty at the front desk late this evening (not the ideal, but it could hardly be helped.)
I was able to get people up and even help with a bit of cleaning before returning to the front desk, grabbing breakfast, working a bit and heading off on our mini-road trip.
This wasn’t just any “mini-road trip;” this one was quite special. We went to attend the Mass at which our new provincial administration took office.
We were even able to stick around for dinner and visiting with our sisters. It was very nice. I even got to go shopping :), picking out some blouses and a jumper which had belonged to other sisters.
We got back here to Grand Forks on time for me to take over at the reception desk and do my p.m. aide duty. Now, I am finishing out the evening, working at the front desk until ten.
Despite the hectic schedule, this truly has been a blessed day. I guess it could best be described as “good and busy.”
Now that the days of Easter are over, we find ourselves returning to Ordinary Time. The altar cloths and vestments are green and we return to some of the “ordinary” hymns.
Another way we can tell that the days of Easter are past for another year is in the Marian prayers we use.
At table, we have once again started praying the Angelus, a beautiful prayer reminding us of the wonder of the incarnation. At the end of Night Prayer, Compline, the Marian antiphon Salve Regina is again utilized.
I don’t mind that too much. I like both the Regina Coeli and the Salve Regina. The latter has some special memories for me. I can remember attending evening Mass at the local minor seminary when I was in college and being touched by the beauty of the seminarians’ voices joined in song honoring Our Lady in this hymn.
I also have memories of playing this on the organ (I think this was at a summer course out east). Another connection I’ve had with this lovely prayer/antiphon is having used my Spanish knowledge to try to understand it in Latin. This was quite a nice experience as well.
It is fitting that, in whatever season we find ourselves or whatever language we may be using, we make it a point to honor Mary.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with a troubling relationship. On top of the difficulty this poses, I was also feeling blamed for something I had nothing to do with.
My time of prayer this morning was largely spent in praying about the situation and even writing about it in my prayer journal (which I only use occasionally).
I gave a little note to an individual, who was indirectly involved, and whom I felt was holding me responsible for this troubling situation.
Her few words, her kind response, expressing that she understood and she did not blame me, really made a difference. This helped restore my peace of soul and gave me new fortitude to deal with the situation.
The power of her few words, her gentle touch of understanding, gave me insight into my own actions. My words and actions, small as they may be, can be a force for good as well.
I will try to be more attentive to providing words of encouragement, support, and joy to those around me. It is wonderful that we can each be co-workers with the Holy Spirit in bringing peace and strength to others!
Sr. Christina M. Neumann
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Since first coming to community, I’ve always felt a special connection to and fondness for our dear Sister Carmelita Sauer. Her kindness and sense of humor would make it difficult not to.
This Pentecost Sunday, though, I got some sad news; our dear Sister has died.
Although I haven’t lived in the same convent as her for several years now, I know I will miss her. On visits down to our Provincial house in Hankinson, it was nice to stop in and visit her again, even if her health had declined.
When I think of Sr. Carmelita, one thing apt to come to mind is a favorite saying of hers. When taking dessert (or being offering something with a high glucose content), she would say “Sauer likes her sweets,” or some similar words, indicating that, despite the connotations of her surname, she was not apposed to sugar intake. I guess I can’t blame her.
Please join me in praying that our dear Sister. Carmelita may soon be enjoying the sweetness of heaven.
We received some donations of linens a month or so ago, as you may have read in another post here. Sr. Rebecca had asked if we could use any of them for chapel.
Some pieces were the right size for chalice veils, so I decided to trace a design and embroider them.
Yesterday afternoon was my second experience of this. (I completed one for Marian feasts some weeks back.)
I decided to try to make this one match the priests’ vestment.
I didn’t do a perfect job (Sr. Rebecca’s satin stitches put mine to shame), but I am moderately pleased with the results. It will be so nice to have a “pretty” chalice veil that matches the chasuble. I like coordination.
Some days just seem to go better than others; some Bible studies with our residents do also. This morning, things did not start off the greatest…I was still not feeling too well; I must have caught some sort of bug.
Sleeping in to try to recover, I hurried through the morning, not even getting in my full time in chapel yet.
Things seemed to turn a little at Bible Study, however. We had a nice session, singing songs and going over the readings from last Sunday (Ascension).
Before closing with a few more songs, we made our own acrostic poem. I reminded the residents of Jesus’ promise to the disciples prior to ascending to Heaven: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We thought of certain actions, emotions, and states that we may experience during which Jesus is with us; He is with us always, after all. I spelled out the phrase: “W-I-T-H–M-E–A-L-W-A-Y-S” on a transparency and we worked together create the acrostic.
It is good to remember that Jesus is truly with us, amidst whatever kind of day we might be having.
We have a handy-dandy “cheat sheet” inside one of the shelving cabinets in the back of our chapel, advising us as to when we start those preparatory novenas which we are to pray prior to certain feastdays.
One of these is for Pentecost. (Others include: St. Francis, Immaculate Conception, and St. Joseph).
Sr. Rebecca may have glanced at this little list; I am not sure, but recently, she reminded me that we start the one in preparation for Pentecost tonight. This is a very good practice; I am glad we do it. This intensifies the practice I like to have, throughout the year, of calling upon the Holy Spirit.
At some moments, I make a special effort to do so. One example is when I sit down to write one of these posts.
There is no wrong time to invoke the Holy Spirit’s help.
I found myself doing so this afternoon when I was asked, unexpectedly, to give a tour to family members looking for a place for their mother.
I was totally unprepared and caught a bit off-guard. I invoked the Holy Spirit! Things seemed to go alright, despite the fact that I did not have the right key to show one of the rooms (a few rooms are on a special lock system since they were added later.)
I am so grateful for Jesus’ promise, which we hear in these days leading up to Pentecost. It is so wonderful to have the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in our daily lives, whether it be in giving a tour, writing something, planning my day, or even interacting with residents.
I invite you to join us in a more intensive prayer to the Holy Spirit during these holy days as we near the end of the Easter season.
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