Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dialogue

S. Renée Domeier welcomes an immigrant
 family to dinner at the monastery.

Recently when I heard angry, distancing, exclusionary words coming from the mouth of our president with reference to our Latino immigrants, I also read the exact opposite sentiments coming from our Pope Francis. In fact, the latter presents saving words, backed by his own example, instead of the incendiary words or decisions made by some worldly potentates today. Pope Francis says: “Start the beautiful adventure of dialogue...Becoming acquainted with other people and other cultures is always good for us, it makes us grow. And why does this happen? It is because if we isolate ourselves, we have only what we have, we cannot develop culturally. But, if we seek out other people, other cultures, other ways of thinking, other religions, we go out of ourselves and start that most beautiful adventure which is called ‘dialogue.’ Dialogue is very important for our own maturity, because in confronting another person, confronting other cultures and also confronting other religions in the right way, we grow - we develop and mature...This dialogue is what creates peace. It is impossible for peace to exist without dialogue.”

These were his words to students and teachers from a junior high school in Tokyo on August 21, 2013. His words ring true today, June 2018. Let us listen to him and act!


Renée Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Wanton Acts

I cannot "shut off" my mind or heart from what is happening these days to our brother/sister immigrants. Twenty-five email messages daily reveal no significant change in the status quo. Every newspaper photo depicts crying, confused children, as well as crying, confused parents, who remain incredulous about our heartless treatment. Not only the U.S., but the E.U. has dug in its heels while brutally shutting out, even refugees.

Photo provided by Pexels.com

Cardinal Cupich of Chicago says it like it is: "There is nothing remotely Christian, American or morally defensible about a policy that takes children away from their parents and warehouses them in cages. This is being carried out in our name and the shame is on us all." Pope Francis follows suit: "I am on the side of the bishops’ conference in their calling this practice 'contrary to our catholic values and immoral.'"

Although we are told that family separations are required by the law or court decisions, "that is not true," writes Cardinal Cupich. "The administration could, if it so desired, end these wanton acts of cruelty, today. We are told, too, that this policy is supported by Scripture. That too is false. There is no biblical justification for building internment camps for children torn away from their parents."

"The administration could, if it so desired, end these wanton acts of cruelty, today...Every day it doesn’t deepens the stain on America’s soul and reputation."

What will we do to be clean of sin?

Renée Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Loiter with Intent

Sisters Dorothy Manuel (left) and Margaret Maus share a laugh.
As I was reading an article on the value of time, the words "loiter with intent" jumped out at me. I had to pause and ask myself, "What does this mean?" As I thought about the saying, the words became a more positive phrase than the more common one I often catch myself saying: “I am wasting time.” Loitering with intent and wasting time seem to be the same thing. Yet in all honesty, the phrase "loiter with intent" gives me a chance to look at how I use my time and to see loitering as an adventure or openness to whatever happens next. Another thought that comes to mind is that it also allows me to see the loitering time as a time of prayer. Therefore, as I encounter people during the day, and if I loiter with them for a moment, I am actually encountering the God within each of us. Moreover, in our conversation together, we have an experience of prayer. With my new insight, as I walk around the monastery or on campus, I still may be loitering, or wasting time, yet I now recognize the time as sacred. As I recognize the time as sacred, I am developing a greater appreciation of what is happening in the moment.

If you would like more information about our community, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.

Lisa Rose, OSB

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Blue Bonnet: The Love Radiator

Blue Bonnet has an official badge as an employee of Shodair Hospital. Her job title on the badge is the Love Radiator. Blue Bonnet goes by “Blue” at the hospital and her presence generates a lot of smiles, hugging and petting from children and staff and a sense a calmness in the units. The work that Blue Bonnet does is simply love everyone just as they are – with no conditions or judgments.

Blue has the training and ability to be with me in a meeting and fall asleep. She somehow knows when the meeting is getting too intense because she will chime in with her perspective and let out a snore and we all start laughing. It breaks the tension and calms the room. Her effect naturally creates a sense of grounding and call to the basics of our humanity.

Our patients love Blue. They are learning to be safe with Blue and to keep her safe with boundaries and hand sanitizer. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing children call Blue’s name with glee and come running to pet, hug or try to teach her to retrieve. Since she is a golden retriever, we would expect she would love to retrieve, but not so – she would rather be petted or crawl into a person’s lap. After all, she is the Love Radiator.

When Blue Bonnet is at the hospital, she takes her work serious and is ready to go home at the end of the day. When her Shodair working vest comes off, she’s a dog and often will ground herself by rolling around in the grass. She loves hiking in the mountains, going on long walks and finding her own canine pals to play with and release energy. She is only two years old and still has a lot of puppy in her!

Blue Bonnet has taught me so much on my spiritual journey. I remember hearing from canine assistants – don’t limit Blue Bonnet’s love. Blue is generous with her love and I am learning to be generous with her love. As a result, I am more generous with my love and less judgmental or selfish. As a result, she has softened me to radiate the love and light of Christ within which seems to flow so naturally through Blue Bonnet – God’s wonderful creation.

Trish Dick, OSB

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Marie

S. Janet Thielges (right) with sister Marie (center). 

Marie, the family glue
Kept siblings’ special days 
Cherished her children 
Reached out to hurting
Prayed, Welcomed, 
Listened 
Communicated, Played tricks 
Shared homemade bread

I know, God, it was her time
And she lived a full life
Ready to come to you
She’s with you now
What more can I ask?

Well, God, maybe something for me.

Marie and I, 
“Two peas in a pod”
Bosom sister and friend.
Grew up together
Shared our faith
Popped popcorn,
Cleaned house
Played Hide and Seek

Shock riveted my heart
She wasn’t sick that long
Grief winds in and out.
“You don’t get over it. 
You just get used to it.”

But my dear God 
what am I missing here?
Some eight sisterhood decades
Years I’ll ne’er forget. 
Yes. Thank you with all my heart! 

Janet Thielges, OSB

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Saving Mother Earth


All of us have heard of and try to practice the so-called corporal and spiritual Works of Mercy that help to draw us out of ourselves into the lives of the poor, the imprisoned, the homeless and the discouraged brothers and sisters that surround us and increase in numbers daily. Pope Francis would add a complementary Act of Mercy to these! Recently he said, “The poorest of the poor, the very poorest, is our Mother Earth.” We abuse her, thoughtlessly, mercilessly and irresponsibly, grabbing from her but not replenishing her needs! In his encyclical, Laudato si, he categorically declares: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth (#21).”

Is that what we see also? I do - and so I rejoice in his adding an additional exhortation to the fore-mentioned seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy: “Take care of our Common Home.”

In these wonderful summer months when we care for our individual lawns, gardens and homes, how about extending that care to our Common Mother when we are tempted to toss garbage out of car windows, on the beaches or wherever? A little challenge? Yes, but when we consider how one tiny step begins the walk of a mile, we may yet take a serious look at how our consumerism, our grasping of more and more, better and bigger products, depletes the total supply, dulls or destroys our need to discipline our individual tastes. We may be given a kaleidoscopic view of the hungers of the poor, among them our Common Mother Earth. She wants to save us; when and how do we plan to save her? Today? This summer? We must become responsible, merciful, thoughtful in returning that care and help save her!

Renée Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What's Your Name?

Sister Stefanie Weisgram greeting a
guest at Gratitude Day 2017.

A few months ago, I was meeting a friend for lunch in the college dining center. As I was making my way to the tater tots, a woman stopped me. She said, “What’s your name?” She did not look familiar to me. I thought, am I supposed to know you? I was uncomfortable in the situation, a stranger asking me my name. I noticed that she was wearing a name tag; her name was Betty. Once again, she asked me, “What’s your name?” I told her, “My name is Lisa,” then we parted. This brief encounter left me very puzzled. As I reflected on it later that evening, everything made sense. Betty is a mentally-challenged adult, yet she knew I was not a college student; in her eyes, I was someone new and she simply wanted to know my name. By asking me my name, she welcomed me into her space; she was living the value of hospitality. I was a guest in her work place. I realized that I had missed the opportunity to welcome her into my life. The more I reflected upon this encounter, I wondered how many other people I have failed to welcome into my life. How many opportunities have I missed in not recognizing Jesus in all people? So now I ask myself, “How will I live the value hospitality from this day forward?”

If you would like more information about our monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.

Lisa Rose, OSB