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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Great Monastic Adventures of Adoro!

It's a new epic story. No one has ever heard of it. There are no rings, or Hobbits, or Lions, or even flying horses. There are no unicorns. And who is this "Adoro" character, anyway? What's she ever done? This story is boring. Why read it? It's not like anyone has to write a paper about it...

Nope. It may not mean anything to anyone else. But then again, people are self-centered, as a rule. (I'm no exception) They often don't want to read stories about things that are alien to their own experiences. But maybe tolerance should come into play here, and maybe that constant slogan about being "open minded" should be key, for I've found that the very first question from a non-Catholic or non-practicing "Catholic" about what I'm doing is this:

"Are you running away from the world?"

The illogic of such a question from a perfect stranger actually reveals the intolerance of the person asking it. It doesn't condemn the person seeking God, but rather, undermines the dignity of the one who chooses to jump to such a random, unsupported conclusion.

I could maybe understand that question if a close friend asked it. And in fact, if that close friend posed it, or maybe my spiritual director, I would answer it. A few years ago, that answer would have been "maybe". In fact, I asked that question of myself, verbally, when I went to see the Vocations Director of our Archdiocese, and I was candid in why I was there; to seek out whether I was looking for escape...or answering a call from God. Now, though...."No." I'm not looking to escape anything but the world that is not my eternal home, anyway.

Doesn't scripture tell us to "Say 'yes' when you mean 'yes' and 'no' when you mean 'no'."?

So to the world, I say 'NO!" and to God, I say "YES!" and I shout it to make sure I am heard by the multitudes who refuse to hear Truth. Isn't that what blogging and other social networking is for?

To everyone, then, no, I am not running away.

In fact, I've done almost everything I've ever wanted to do...and several things I'm ashamed of having done. All this has taught me that I am a pilgrim on this earth, for this is not my eternal home. In fact, I can't wait to enter into the eternal processions of the Trinity.

But it's not time yet. Thus, I am still to seek where He is calling me, and several years of tortorous discernment have finally been brought to a certain fruition. Granted, they are only buds, and some will die, but it's time to finally enter into a new period of intense discernment.

What shall we call it?

Oh, yes:

Denial

This started out in a humble way, with some dear Sisters who asked me, "Are you discerning?"

My response: "Um...."

Well, that wasn't good enough so she invited me to visit, an invitation that was renewed the following spring. And then it was time, and I went, and have, since then, been in contact with them and the Vocation Director of their community. She has sent several invites to come out East, but I was never able to go.

I'm not going to get into the entire story, but let's just say that our "Family Saint" is also involved with this community, these Sisters are dear to me, and they pushed open the door I was afraid to even approach.

At first, I wavered. And this wavering actually had precedent going back to about 2004. Last July, though, in Akron, Ohio, during Mass God hit me with a big stick of some sort. I realized I WAS running away...from Him. It was time to say "yes". I kept this to myself, almost wanting to speak of it to some of my friends, but at the same time...not. As it was I decided to wait, and ponder, and during the flight home I realized that it wasn't a fluke. I needed to move on with what had been asked of me.

The last year has been amazing. People who know me have affirmed this call, have been praying for me, both at work and and at my home parish. Until recently, only a few have known, and of those who know me personally, they are those who will let me be and not offer unsolicited advice.

Only recently did the very real possibility of visiting a community materialize, and I have pursued it. At first, simply...out there...and back to MN. I thought to fly out, visit, and return home, pray about it, and hope to find a few hours' work this summer.

But then other things began to happen, and I realized that this summer project is far bigger than I am

So, what shall we call this? Oh, yes!

The Great Monastic Adventures of Adoro!

What I thought was going to be a simple trip out to visit the Sisters with whom I've been in contact for the last year and a half has...well....snowballed.

I haven't named any names until now, but I guess it doesn't really matter whether I do or not at this point.

Let me preface this by saying I've never been to the East Coast. I'm quite a midwestern girl, and even though I live in the Twin Cities of MN, I would much prefer the beauty of the forest and fields.

So I began to arrange a flight to and from Connecticut to visit the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church. Yesterday morning, I received an email from a Dominincan Sister who had seen my bleg post. We'd exchanged a few emails a month or so ago, and so she invited me to visit their Monastery in Summit, NJ. Of course, I love the Dominincans, believe I have a Dominincan spirituality, and how could I turn down such an invite? The opportunity to meet these wonderful Sisters cannot be passed up! Nor can I pass up the opportunity to see if perhaps, really, this is the Order and community to which Our Lord is drawing me?

Then, this afternoon, after Adoration, I received an email from the Vocation Director for the Cistercians in Wisconsin.

As I had mentioned, I recently read, at her direction, the book, "The Cistercian Way" by Andre Louf, and sent her a short email to advise her I'd completed the book and thorougly enjoyed it!

She wrote back today with this question: "So, what next step toward the edge of the cliff are you willing to take?"

I was seriously tempted to write back a short response: "BOMBS AWAY! BANZAI!"

In the end I decided against it and gave her a more rational response, even if it did equal the same thing!

So it seems that, this is the summer of adventure for Adoro.

What began as a simple flight to and from has turned into a flight to one community, a train through New York to New Jersey (I've never been to NY or on a train), a vist to a cloister (not admitted to the enclosure, though), and then, once I'm home, a drive into the next state to experience the holy austerity of the Cistercians of Common Observance. (The Trappists are the Cistercians of Strict Observance, FYI)

In any case, yes, I will be writing my experiences, impressions, and what I learn in a journal. Not everything will be bloggable, but to those who wonder, certainly I will share what I can of these retreats.

So...let the great Monastic Adventure of Adoro begin! Convents and Abbeys and Monasteries, oh my!
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8 comments:

Hidden One said...

"Not everything will be bloggable, but to those who wonder, certainly I will share what I can of these retreats."

I am the sort who wonders. Also the sort who doesn't ask but does appreciate answers. Especially ones he likes!

In any case, at this rate you could end up visiting more convents than the Apostolic Visitator! ;-)

Karinann said...

Truly an adventure! I will keep you in my prayers. This Jersey girl welcomes you to the East coast.
(Don't believe all those stories you hear about NJ :)
May your visits be fruitful and blessed!

Kathreja said...

Ahh yes, I had suspicions it was my Summit Peeps! :) Sr. Mary Catherine is AWESOME! The Bathroom in the guest quarters is tiny and to open the windows in the bedroom you have to use this pole with a hook on it. It is awesome there... and so much time with Jesus. And they FEED you, A LOT! :) They kinda reminded me of my mom's grandmother in that way.

I was continuously lost during LOTH but it was cool.

Which reminds me I owe Sr. MC an email.

Brother Charles said...

Looking forward to it! Religious life is a curious kind of adventure on the human level. Not all of it is shareable, but enough of it is--and maybe just enough--to preach the goodness of Providence of God.

a newly consecrated virgin said...

Hi Adoro,

Don’t worry; even though the east coast is more urban than other parts of the country, it’s still really, really beautiful. And the cities might actually start to grow on you, especially if you become a contemplative—because it means more nearby people to pray for! Too bad you won’t be stopping in New York. ;)

By the way, I went to college about twenty minutes away from the Summit Dominicans. I think you’ll like northern New Jersey, since I don’t believe there’s a more densely “Catholic” part of the country. (Where I went to college, we had forty-four resident priests and about four different parishes within five miles of my school, not counting our on-campus chapel.)

Maureen said...

It's just like jobhunting, apparently. When you're desperate, nothing. Once you get a nibble, everybody wants you. :)

Good discernment and safe traveling, Adoro!

Associate said...

I don't know about anybody else, but I would love to see the prequel to the adventure along with the adventure put into a book. This has been fantastic spiritual reading!

Thanks for all the wonderful posts and for being willing to put your struggles (that I think so many of us share if we are willing to admit it) out there for all to see. You continue to be in my prayers. God bless you!

The Ironic Catholic said...

:)

I'm not a Northeastern girl, either, but I did visit NYC and Conn to visit grad schools and then later to attend a wedding in North Jersey. Even with the buses, trains, etc., its really doable. People will help you: people are people everywhere. Um, keep your cash in traveler's cheques in your deep pockets to be safe.

Very glad the conversation with your mother went fairly well.