Thursday, June 30, 2011

The memory of grace...

We’re on I94 East heading toward the Twin Cities. The Monastic Institute, sponsored by Saint John’s School of Theology – Seminary, is over. And now we’re six nuns in the minivan again for the two-day drive home. The blessings of this week are two numerous for a blog. Many unimagined will surface in time as we unpack the experience in the days ahead. From a communal perspective our learnings are manifold and we will share the wisdom at Chapter in October. From a formation perspective I think the trip has been gift for Sisters Mary, Pat and Doris. The Benedictine world gets a lot smaller when you attend a conference like this one. Old friends, new friends, ammas and abbas – it’s all good.

It’s been about a year and a half since my last visit to Collegeville, MN. Every return brings a flood of memories – images, people, and moments from my days in graduate school. In the fall of 1999 I left my life in NJ for full-time study at St. John’s. So long ago…such a lonely time but a time of great grace. It was in the midst of two monastic communities (St. John’s & St. Ben’s) that I accepted the gift of a Benedictine vocation. It was a very long three years of study, but worth it in the end. I loved the learning even though I felt homesick for Bristow. I spent almost every break in VA and returned to MN only because I knew it was the right thing to do. Now, when I return to St. John’s, my heart swells with deep gratitude. When I greet so many sisters by name I am struck by the depth of my affection for them. All my wailing and gnashing of teeth ten years ago has been replaced with awe at God’s loving plan for me. This place, these good monks and nuns, are all part of my salvation history. Funny, how places become part of us. Places that change us or that create the condition of possibility for our changing – they hold the memory of grace at work in our lives. They testify to the Potter’s hands on the clay – proof that God is intimately involved in our journey and determined to bless our lives with peace.

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki

SJU SOT-Sem '02