A wonderful woman is entering our monastery two weeks from now. Part of my job is to help her tie up the loose ends of an independent life in the world. While preparing your heart for this life-changing moment is of utmost importance, there are practical concerns that need attention. The cell phone service has been turned off. The credit card has a “0” balance. The car has been given to family and all personal funds have been tucked away safely for the duration of initial formation. Our newest member will learn mutual interdependence. What she needs, the community will provide. While this all may sound simple, it’s not. These are hard tasks that demand trust. That trust will grow over time, but at the beginning, this is really hard.
The ministry I do gives me the opportunity, at times, to see how my own journey is going. Even as I instruct our candidates that they must enter with empty pockets and open hearts, I remember how my own trust in the monastic “system” had to grow. I had to learn that the simplicity of our life frees us from certain concerns so that we can give our greater energy to serving GOD’s people. Sometimes, there must be a “no” for the greater good. The women who direct us can see a bigger picture. Often they know what we cannot when we’re new to the life. It’s hard – REALLY hard sometimes. But from these experiences we learn to trust the community with our lives.
In the Holy Rule Saint Benedict says that when we obey the prioress, we obey the voice of Christ. Whoa… In six years I have never wanted for anything. I have learned more about the difference between what I want and what I really need. When important things have happened in my family or dear friends have experienced a loss, I have always been given permission to be present. I will be there for my niece in May when she makes her first Holy Communion, and I will be with a dear friend in NJ as she buries her father tomorrow morning. In six short years I have come to trust the system – a chain of wisdom that links the women in leadership to Christ, himself. Even when it’s been hard, it’s been right. I marvel at the generosity of my community, the attention to individual needs and concerns, and the primacy of our families. And I bless GOD for this wonderful job through which I often catch a glimpse of my own growth in this beautiful, challenging way of life.
Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki
PS – Off to New Jersey for a couple of days…look for me on Friday.