Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I am a Catholic Sister and I want to share my day with you!

WELCOME, to this happenin' blog! I just love these avenues of communication that connect us across the globe. I want to share with you what it is like to be a Catholic sister in the world today, both the gifts and the challenges through the ole' day to day. I want to share with you this wonderful lifestyle that is either "unknown" or "misunderstood" by many young people. I really do believe God is inviting young women to be sisters and men to be brothers and priests, but they just do not have anyone to talk to about it. So here I am:)

You may have noted in my blog title I use the name "nun", but while I have begun my conversation with you I have used the name "sister". It was amazing for me when I first learned the difference between nuns and sisters. I used "nun" on the blog because that is what most people think of though they are actually seeing a sister. So here is the difference! A Catholic nun is enclosed in a monastary, ususally with 15 other nuns, and their primary ministry is "praying for you and our world" with a specialized internal ministry, as well. We can be deeply grateful for their commitment to prayer for us. They, also, have one or two nuns that "go out" to do the business needed.

The Catholic Sister, on the other hand, like moi, also live in community (anywhere from 3-26 sisters) where together we pray, eat, study, recreate and faith share, yet are active in the world in a varied spectrum of ministries...such as teachers, principals, university professors, campus ministers, social workers, parish ministers, community volunteers, justice promoters, pastoral care to the sick, detention ministry, nurses, doctors, libraians, messauge therapists, sacred energy healers, business managers, lawyers, computer techs, hospice chaplains, spiritual and retreat directors, art therapists, musicians, artists, dancers and many, many, many more ministries, which we can talk about as you are interested!

Feel free to ask any questions, comments, shared reflections along the way! I will ask for your thoughts, too, and may invite you to share on some things I am wondering about. I will just be posting every day (or other depending) what I am about! Here and there I will share my journey B.C. (Before Convent) with you. PEACE, on your journey!


Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Here is my first entry. I missed lunch today and I am eating pastachios and drinking an A&W diet Cream Soda (may fav'). Missing lunch (or any meal) is unusual for me, but I had three people for Spiritual Direction and wanted to get this blog up and running before the sun went down. I am so excited! As I stop and wonder why, I guess it's because I love to share stories and hear about other people's stories,too. I learn so much about the face of God through the telling of stories. I think that is why Jesus used stories, he knew how much everyone loved a good story (and how much they could learn about God from them). That is what "Spiritual Direction" is all about, giving someone a loving, safe, listening space to tell their story. I feel privileged to be the listener. Listening for their God who is so present in all that they share. One of my favorite sayings as a spiriual director is "Everyone needs a good listening to." I know I do, and I bet you do, too! May you find today a warm place to share the story of your heart. I am here to listen:)
God's Peace!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Cool beans. I love this new blog justbebecky! Looking forward to reading your stories and learning more about the discernment process. How do you know if you're called to the religious life? What kinds of feelings/experiences led you here?

5:20 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Hey, Finn, welcome in! Good questions right off the bat. Of course, it will take awhile to answer you, but along the way I shall. (I don't want you up until midnight reading either:) The first thing you look for in being called to religious life is....your OPENNESS to the call in the first place! Usually, we are frightened in the beginning to even acknowledge a desire must less discern it. So let's start there tonight. How open are your three lifestyle doors to God's call? The three doors (and I'm sure more) are single life (with a support community), religious life, married life just for starters. God is a gentle God, and will not be shouting through a closed door...God will let you open it first, then speak, and then will want to know what YOU think about it! We forget how much our God is interested in our will, our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, as well. I often see regret in people around 40 who just did what they thought they should do, or their parents thought, or just to get away from a bad situtiton and never really discerned their true life choice. So, first step to discernment...openness. How open are you, Finn? Stay with that quesiton for awhile, take your time, see what you and God come up with and come on back for step two!
For a little check in, though I work mostly with adults in our parish and their spiritual lives, I got to do some music for our 5th grade class who were having Mass today and I sang "You Raise Me Up" (the Josh Groban one) and we loved it. After Mass they asked if I could do another rap with my bud priest here and I said I needed a theme, they said, "Peacemakers" because that is there theme for the year. I got so inspired by this happenin' God and got it done. I look forward to surprising them at their next Mass, that is if my bud preist can get the hip hop beat! :) Children are such a lift to me! Well, I am hittin' the hay, and may God hold you close tonight, especially if you are feeling low, cold or alone. God is near, let that be your peace tonight and sleep warm.

9:35 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

TO LIVE IS TO THE RAREST THING IN THE WORLD, MOST PEOPLE SIMPLY EXIST." Oscar Wilde This quote met me in the homily today when I went to mass. It touched me. The priest said that to live is to make a difference and to exist is to exist.

In thinking about this resurrected time of the church when we celebrate our 50 days (we are on our 33rd day) it really is important to LIVE and BE the best good news in the world we can be...wherever we find ourselves...I think that is what makes the difference!

How were you good news today, how did you celebrate your 33rd day of Easter, how did you make a difference. Want to know what I did? I welcomed a single parent from the east coast into the parish today and connected her with our Single and Parenting group. Simple...I know, but it made a difference in both of us and I think that to make a difference is just that simple.

How did you make a difference today?

4:11 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Whoa, it was hard to get up this morning! Sure am thankful for snooze alarms. But, once I got going, all is good. Had a nice, contempletive morning prayer with my sisters (there are 6 of us) with the "Divine Office" which are a compolation of the Psalms and various Old and New Testament readings. We pray together in the morning and evening, kind of a nice way to round out your day.

It is my day off! I am off to have a picnic lunch with a close friend. She is working today so I am going to make the picnic and catch her on her lunch hour and we'll find a nice park nearby. We always enjoy talking about our happennings and all the personal stuff going on inside. Friends are such a blessing! To have someone to talk to like that is simply a gift from heaven!

The rest of the day is up for grabs! Definate exercise (which I love) maybe a nice long bike ride, it is so nice outside! Have a good one and find time to "just be" I think that is one way we come to know who we really are. Peace!

9:44 AM  
Blogger bluesky said...

Okay...here's one for ya'

Is it difficult living with so many nuns? Because living with that many women would drive me crazy!!!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Finn said...

Thanks for Step One of the discernment process, justbebecky. I've been thinking about that one alot. I'm loving the single life, but am open to the married life and quite possibly the religious life as well. So basically I have all my doors open.

I'm also seconding bluesky's question about living in an all-female community. Must be interesting dynamics there.

Hope you had a great day off!

3:34 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Welcome, bluesky, great question! I have to say it made me smile because I thought, "I bet this is one of the sisters having a bad day blogging in!"

All kidding aside...I have always enjoyed the dynamics of women, their care with relationships, ability to grow emotionally and spiritually, able to say, "I'm sorry", "I care for you", "Can I help you", "I welcome your opinion", "You can always feel anyway you like", "Let's eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, tonight, and you both understand why", encourages you to be your best, supports you when you try new things, fosters leadership skills in all areas of your life, builds confidence, good sense of humor and fun, can "let go" and be crazy, can say the truth in a way that challenges you to grow and not chastize you.

Of course, there are all the emotional ups and downs, getting feelings hurt, being talked about, feeling left out, etc., but I have found the maturity of the community always moves to the above "positives" and the relationhsips tend to grow more deeply.

Now, about the "difficulty of living with so many nuns", our communties are all sizes, but mostly around 4, 8, 12, sisters in a community. You have a choice, too, of what may fit you depending on what you are doing in your ministry. I personally have had really rewarding experiences in community. I love living with all the ages of women, it really gives you a path to see how you want to grow and mature.
There is wisdom readily available, a helping hand, someone to comfort you and someone their to listen.

The "driving me crazy" part is again a part of life. But, I have found a lot of that depends on MY mood and disposition that day. I have to say the sisters "that drive me crazy" more often become a "lesson of life" I need to learn. And the good news...your own short comings become their ticket to sanctity!

Dear Finn, hope the above helps! I will get back to your next step tomorrow:) I am off to a night meeting with our midlifers (35-50+) called "The Whine and Cheeze " gathering:) Come again Bluesky and Finn! Chou for now!

8:05 PM  
Blogger CyberSys7 said...

Good morning, justbebecky! Just here checking out your site. Nice job you're doing here. I'll be back later.

10:54 AM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Welcome,Cbyersys7,thanks for the affirmation. Come again!

Sure has been a nice day. It was our monthly gathering of "The Purple Tent" (taken off the book "The Red Tent" which was pretty cool). A nice group of nine women I have grown with through the years, we are single, married and religious. We meet in each other's homes, gathering around the kitchen table sharing our lives journey.

Today, the conversation evolved around Pope John Paul's life, and what our hopes and dreams are for our future church and world. I am sure this is one of millions of conversations happening all over our world. How exciting to be alive at this time!

Your always welcome to use this space for your thoughts. God's peace is with you!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I am curious about your "calling." What was it about your "openness" that set you on a path in a habit? By the way, I think it's kind of cool that you ladies wear the habit. So many of the nuns/sisters I know no longer wear them.

I was living in Los Angeles during the 1994 riots and I remember seeing two sisters walking down the street. My aunt made a comment that people wouldn't spare them from violence just because they were nuns. I thought it was interesting though, because wearing a habit is a walking message - which I think is good.

1:25 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Welcome souljourney! Again, good question! I am remembering when I was teaching special education as a young adult (24 yrs. old) in a college town and became very active at their Newman center liturgies and activities. I felt drawn to the lifestyle of the sisters who would come out to give retreats about “becoming a sister”, yet I would not openly admit my desire or attraction to religious life.

So I think that was my first step in “openness” was to be honest with my deep inner feelings stirrings, even though I knew it would change the life that I knew (single life) and actually quite liked! That was the beginning for me on this “path to the habit”. I guess that is why I see openness so key, because as one opens their heart the truth just pours out!

A note to you, Finn, as you check in, that is really the second step after your openness to these life vocations is to find someone you can “tell the truth to” that is deep in your heart. Someone who can help you listen to that inner voice where God stirs the embers of your heart. It helps to have companions on this discernment journey. Too, to speak to those honestly who know you and can you give you feedback of how they see it fitting you.

As for the habit being a “walking message” it is really true! And I do feel it is valuable in our day of age. As so many have “left” the church, I like that the Church can reach out to them, and that is what the habit does. More people come up to me asking questions, asking for prayers, seeking healing in their lives. I tell the young people it is my “body tattoo”. On the other hand, I like that our Congregation is flexible with the habit, in that we can wear other clothes around and about. For example, I went for a long bike ride yesterday, and of course, I wore biking clothes (spandex and all:). Or if I go to a movie or dinner, I may not wear the habit just for my comfort and those around me.

Today has been a low energy day after yesterday, we had an awesome rock mass last night that was so filled with the Spirit!!! So, I’ve been hanging low. Saw my Spiritual Director, which is always an enlightening and wonderful experience.

God’s peace be with you! Please ask anything again, I am realizing that it will take many entries to really get a the heart of your questions and I am excited to do so! :)

7:20 PM  
Blogger luvJesus said...

This blogspt Rocks!!!!

10:49 PM  
Blogger Sister with Heart said...

Thanks, Luvjesus! Come back anytime and share YOUR love of Jesus! :)

Well, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been named, Pope Benedict XVI. The last Pope Benedict XV guided the Church in 1914 and his messages were of Peace and Reconciliation. They say it is key which Pope they choose to follow in name, as the current Pope will bring "some of the same" to their leadership.

I was listening to Cardinal Walter Kasper, a famed theologian from Germany, whom I admire very much. His enthusiasm for the new Pope gives me hope. I know that there is much despairing feeling among the "emerging" Catholic Church that want the papacy to look at more issues that pertain to North America and do not feel this Pope will.

I had much of the same feeling until the passing of Pope John Paul II. I do not want to repeat it here, but you can go and take a look at it on my other blog...
http://rebeccalistens.blogspot.com. It is entitled "Difficult God Questions".

Send me your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, concerns you have about the new Pope!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Habemus Papam everyone!

Glad to see more people posting messages. justbebecky, you definitely rock a phat jam!

Speaking of tattoos - do I get to keep mine if I join the Dominicans? There's no laser removal program, is there? I don't have a maori tribal tattoo on my face or anything, but thought I'd ask ;-)

Thanks for Step Two. I do have a spiritual director but he happens to be my confessor as well. I have a feeling he'll choke on something if I tell him I'm seriously interested in the religious life. I'll ask him what he thinks tonight. Most of my friends & family think it's a hoot when I bring up the possibility. Especially since I've been been engaged a few times. So you know, I'm like this commitment-phobe/dilettante/ goof. (I'm sure they mean that in a loving way.)

How did YOUR family and friends react when you shared your calling with them?

3:13 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Hey, Finn, thanks, and you rock as well! :) And, your tattoos come in right along with you! No removal program necessary. So what and where is it, if you an say, you have peaked MY curiosity. :) I personally think tattoos (and body pierces) are pretty cool because usually they have a real significant meaning (I know there are the drunk, put anything on my arm thing going on...but that’s more rare). A poor guy, I just heard that he had gotten a tattoo on his arm for his fiancé and spelled it wrong! Haven’t heard the outcome, yet! Anyway, I love asking people (and usually do) what their tattoos and pierces signify, I have gotten some really heart warming stories. I considered one for a few years, but then realized I lived in one!!! :)

Glad you have a spiritual director/confessor, that is cool! Maybe you will feel led to ask him about it sometime, someone who can be there with a serious ear.

I know the family thing...It was hard for all of them on one level to believe it, but on another level they saw it fit for me. The one hard level, was that they saw the sisterhood so strict, conforming and binding. They were afraid I’d loose my joyful, free, life lovin’ spirit. Again, their gauge was harkening back to the 50 and 60 nuns of old and TV. But, I had visited the sister of MSJ and said they were not like that (which they are not:)

The one level they did believe it would fit, is I have always had such a “universality” about me. Kind of a “reaching out” to all with a compassionate hand and listening ear. A good and loving friend, but always needing that time to be, and be with my Lord.

Now for the blessing part... hope this isn’t getting too long, but you can always read it in stages...As I said, or maybe I didn’t, I was 27 when I entered. I wanted my parents blessing and so asked them. Dad was cool and said, “Well, Becky, all I know is that if you want to be a nun, you’ll be a hell of a nun!” Now THAT is a blessing I aspire to live up to! :) and pretty much have some would say!

Now, Mom was a different story, she took the notion hard, we are very close and she depended on me in a lot of ways to “be her JOY!” Well, after a lot of conversations and reality checks, one day I was talking to her how I needed different things to enter, like a black coat and I noticed she had a nice black cashmere coat (the vow of Poverty thing hadn’t kicked in, yet:) and wondered if I could have it. My Mom is an expert seamstress and had made it. She was agasp of course that I would mention it and that was that. And time went on, but I still wanted her blessing.

If you are still with me :) ...one night I had gotten home late, out with some good old friends, and I came in exhausted, flipped on the light, and crashed on the bed. As I slowly sat up and thought I need to get the ole’ PJ’s on and get to bed...there it was right in front of me, all my clothes in the closet were pushed to either side, with this lone black, cashmere coat hanging the middle. I cried, my Mom’s blessing.

Thanks, Finn, for your question, it brought back a wonderful memory in the telling. We will catch, Step 3 on the flip side. Peace to you, your JustBeBecky

9:41 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Here I am inthe heart of Chicago at our National Dominican Sisters Federation! We meet every three years and celebrate our commitment, joy and care for the planet and all people. Twenty-three Dominican Sisters Congregations joined from across the nation; from California to Washington, to New York to Florida and everything inbetween!

Our theme this year is: One planet, One people, One preaching! We have the initials O.P. after our names, which stand for Order of Preachers. St. Dominic Guzman is our founder who in the 1200's was an avid preacher of the Word, speaking for the common folk and their needs. That is what we continue to do in a variety of ways as I listed on my blog front.

It is pretty inspiring to be gathered with near 500 religious women singing praise with full voice and soul to our Loving God and Mother Earth. The energy is just incredible!

Tomorrow we have several choices for morning prayer like: centering prayer, praying with Scripture in art form, prayer with song and gesture, Qi gong meditation, contempletive silent sitting, praying with our body and lectio divina. Which would you pick? :)

Some of the sessions are: Experiencing oneness through the human energy system, Celebrating the Holy Days of Earth, Planning for the next generation of Dominicans, Peacemaking through building relationships, Interdependence: Preaching with our lives...and many more! I will let you know tomorrow which ones I chose and how they went:)

God's peace sleep with each one of you tonight. Remember, God is always near "Just Be" peace. Always, me :)

7:33 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Hey Becky!

I'm glad to hear that you're having a fun time in Chi-town!

I think that I'm always interested in how religious people ended up in that lifestyle because it's so different than my own experience. For as long as I can remember, I have known that I need/want/must be a wife and mother. I considered becoming a nun/sister for a while in elementary school and high school, but it never really took root.

So thanks for sharing! Rock on!

9:41 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Hi Souljourney, glad to hear from you again! It warms my heart to hear you say you always knew you wanted to marry and always have kids. That is the deep desire that you have and I am sure God is wrapped all around it!!! :)

I think sometimes why it is hard to discern single life and especially a call to religious life is because there are fewer models and our culture does not support its lifestyle. So the journey sometimes is a little more travelled to discern if it's right for you. That is why it is important to have mentors and role models of happy and integrated religious and singles if you are feeling led in that way to kind of help you sort it all out.

I am hoping this blog will get a little more info out there for people feeling alone in their feelings and do not have a support system in place to take a look.
I love your coming though souljourney, so please come anytime!!! :)

It has been a cool two days in Chi-town as you said souljourney:) Went down to the pier last night and got back a little late for a log in, went to Joe's Be-Bob Jazz bar/resturant and had a great time, just a lot of laughs and fun.

Our sessions have been really fruitful, today we looked at the theme of ONE PEOPLE, knowing we need to come together and realize that we are all the same in goodness and heart and want the best for all across the planet...some hard issues, like the trafficking of women and children, this one we are really are studying and moving on.

I think what touched me the most today, was one of our sisters from Iraq. Her homily was on inner peace and how they obtain that inner peace in Iraq. The first being that they realize peace is not something they can count on getting from the outside because of the constant wars, so they cling to Jesus' promise, "I will give you a peace the world cannot give." Their mothers and fathers model that to them from their toddler years on.

The second one was the powerful one for me. And that is peace can only come if you are willing to forgive. She said we have a world where two sides are against each other...the Israelies and Palestinians, Iraq and US, Africa's civil wars, all around us there are two sides. She said we need to start forgiving each other. There was a hush when she said, we need to ask forgiveness of the United States because we did not knonw how to stand up as one people to stop tyranny and abuse in our own country. This has cost so many deaths for you. And she continued on. So gentle, so firm, so sure that peace would only come when we forgive all. It is a new way to think, let us start with anyone we may have in our own lives.

It has been a good day! A lot of unity and a strong sense of belonging. It is exciting to think that wherever a Dominican is I am there with them. To be connected to thousands upon thousands of men and women making such a difference all across the world is awe inspiring!

And as always we closed the evening with a great dinner and impromtu dance with sisters playing piano, singing, dancing all around the hall. I think the waiters were a little shocked to see 500 women having such a great time :) Then the CD's started and the night took off with some rock, disco, line dancing and of course the Macarena and "We are Family!

I'll be home tomorrow, but know that I have made a whole new set of friends in the US Dominican family! God's sweet peace to you tonight! Love, your JustBeBecky :)

8:36 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Wow, 500 sisters doing the macarena? Please tell me you took pictures.

Becks, I love how rich and interesting your religious life is. It is so different from my personal experience with nuns, I mean, Sisters. I had 12 years of catholic school and most of the religious sisters were very dour, grim types. I'd meet a happy novice once in a while. Or a really cool sis from Africa or something. (All the cool ones were always from far far away and were just visiting). Now, I've actually grown to love most of the sisters who taught me. But back then it was so hard to make a personal connection. I guess I was too busy being scared of getting caught. You know how catholic schoolgirls can be ;-)

So I think it's great that you are in a position to mentor young people and guide them on their journey. The religious life can seem very mysterious and baffling. I'm glad you're here to clarify things for us lay peeps.

Thanks for sharing how your family took the "I'm gonna be Jesus' bride" news. Our parents are so alike. I can see why you adore your mom & dad!

OK, I'm now ready for Step 3.

p.s. As for the tattoo, it's a small yin-yang thing on my upper back. It WAS a drunken spur of the moment thing. Hee. My cousins & I were bonding one summer in Santa Cruz & decided to get inked together. We almost got "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" on our backs to honor our jesuit teachers but that would've hurt. Alot.

4:54 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Hi Finn, you make me laugh! Ying-Yang and all:) Yes, we should have taken pictures! But,National Enquirer just wouldn't know what to do with them! heehee

I, too, had some "rough" nuns on my day of my 12 years of Catholic school. Through the years, the good ones have risen to the top, thank God!

I do take this moment to ask forgiveness of anyone who has been hurt by a sister in the past. I am sorry for your pain! May this blog give you a "little bit" of a new memory to treasure.

Finn, here is number three... Be emotionally honest about the full range of "positive" and "negative" feelings. (about being a sister) Let me know how you do! Take your time.

PEACE within and HOPE all around to our wonderful world this night!

10:14 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Wow! The days have flown by, but not without me! I always make it a point to...stop and just be...when I feel I am out of sinc with my soul rhythm, do you know what I mean?

When a woman's "outside" is out of sinc with her "inside" an inner anxiety occurs that will require a choice, either, to go with the outside or listen deeper to the inside and make the outside match it!

As a woman I think it is key to be on pace with our "own soul". So often we get off our soul path by trying to keep up with others or by being someone we're not or living a life we really didn't choose.

The day has been good! Lazed around in bed for a good while, headed out to Curves to weigh in and I was excited to know that I lost the pounds I have been working on, came home for a bowl of cherrios (my fav' honeynut even better) strawberries, almonds, cranberries and banana, began a jigsaw puzzle I liked, set up a new bird feeder in the patio garden, watered the roses, lazed around some more, received 2 calls from 2 good friends, one from college days and another special Dominican sister, talked to my Mom and sis, decorated the front parlor with some black and white photos we were given along the way (looks nice), got the sing-a-long together that I am doing tonight with young women who are visiting us at the Motherhouse who are interested in "the life of a nun" :) also, baked a carrot cake for our gathering, visited with one of our dear elder sisters, vocalized the ole' voice so I can hit those "higher"notes, checked my four email sites and lighted upon you for you for awhile! :)

Wow! Sounded like I did a lot, yet, it felt just like a nice, putterin', low key day...God is good! I'll be back in touch, until then let God be your light, love, and all around vision, for God loves you so tight!

4:34 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Whew! Good day and I am tired. A lot of music these days, had around sixty little 3-5 year olds this morning for preschool religion. They are so cute and sing so well and loud and still love “Itysy Bitsy Spider” and “Twinkle, Twinkle” along with the best of Jesus songs. That’s what I love about children, their is no “secular” and “sacred” with them...all is sacred; spiders, rain spouts, stars, Jesus, light, love, clap your hands if you’re happy...all sacred.

Tonight we had the other end of the spectrum, our rockin’ youth mass! A lot of energy and praise packed into a wonderful Mass of JOY! I love the dialogue that God has with us through the language of music...sometimes, I think Music is God’s Language. Music surely has always been a global and uniting experience! It would be like our God to choose such a universal, accessible to all, in their own personal language, way to communicate, to love and comfort us.

Went to one of our sister’s art shows where she submitted some of her oil paintings. It was great to see her so happy and proud of what she did and to be a part of a show. It was her first!

God’s gentle peace to you! May you hear God’s voice in the words you need to hear in the next song God sings to you. :)

9:49 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Well, I am on my way to CURVES, yes, the fitness place. Did you know as we speak, there is a Curves to every McDonald's? (9,000 to be exact) Pretty cool! Now maybe if there were no more McDonald's we wouldn't need Curves! Just kidding! :)

Anyway, I am playing for a "Mass for GLobal Peace" tonight and we expect a good crowd. I am blessed to share a few of my own originals, "More and More You Fill Me" (a song on the corporal works of mercy) and "Gentle Prophet", (song inviting people to conversion of heart through invitation not condemnation).

I am excited as it is for all denominations! Again, we are ONE people, on ONE planet, with ONE God! How wonderful to be a part of it all; to be alive at this time in our planets history is extraodinary! Let peace reign in our hearts and our beautiful world as we continue to make choices to grow towards peace and harmony in all things!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

You're seriously an amazing woman and I'm glad you share all these great thoughts with the community. :)

12:21 AM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Thanks, Soul Journey! I appreciate your affirming words:) Been doing a lot of little odds and ends at my ministry site. Nice. One thing is I set up another BLOG, just love these avenues of communication:)

I have three others in case you are interested (I am working with my hi-tech pal to get them all linked:)
They are
http://rebeccalistens.blogspot.com/ it is titled "Difficult God Questions"
http://KidsGodQuestions.blogspot.com/ it is titled
"Kids God Questions"
http://midlifercircle.blogspot.com/ it is titled
"The Whine and Cheeze Midlifer Circle" if you are in midlife (35ish-55+) you will know why the whine!
(a friend runs that one:)

Now, do not get midlife confused with middle age. People always equate midlife with getting old, not the case, or the point of the midlife journey! You want that baby over before you HIT middle age!

Midlife is that time in your life when you really set those priorities straight, your "outside" matches your "inside", you can usually tell you are on it, when nothing seems to satisfy anymore and you say there must BE more.

Now, middle age, on the other hand, is the happy, peace-filled, awesome place and result of a successful midlife passage.

Now, wasn't that more than you bargained for today? :)

Well, off to a birthday celebration with some friends, doing Chinese food tonight! (After, Mexican, it rules:)
Peace and Love, me

2:11 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

What a great day! Started with a grand breakfast with my loving soul friend and then two BIG first Communions in our parish. Easily over 100 children!
Just to see their deep faith glow in their eyes, I would look into each of their eyes and say, "Come here now and let me see Jesus in yur eyes!" Just to see those pairs of eyes looking up, shining with such love, innocence and grace...oh my Lord, they grace my life! :)

Then I took a little respite....as in a nap! :)

Then, tonight, at the past parish auction, our Sisters put in a "Game Night" with the Sisters. Well, the three families came tonight that won it and did we have fun...playing Operation Shreck, Disney Trivia Pursuit, Twister (not a challenge for us "Twisted Sisters" , sorry, couldn't resist:), Junior Scrabble, and drawing special pictures. It was great! Then came out the good old fashion root beer floats and awesome cookies we made and our special "Nun for the Road" napkins with a nun on a motorcycle, I let them believe it was me when they asked:)

Children are such a blessing to us! As they were leaving, after a story read and a few songs on the guitar (with picks for all:) one little 4 year old boy said, "I want to stay here with you forever!" and, as his Mom got him on his way, he called out, "I love you. I love you all!" "And, we love you, too, sweetie," we called back!

So I am sure my dreams will be "sweet" tonight as I thank our loving and gentle God for the blessing of our dear children in our world today!

Sweet peace and dreams to all of you this night.

9:52 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

A rainy Mother's Day is a wonderful reminder of how often through our lives our Mom is the only one who can bring the sun out!

THANK YOU, God, for Mom's! YOU must of been one of the BEST! :)

8:54 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Wow! It has been a great two days! Full and Fun! I played and sang with a happenin’ young adult group in San Francisco Monday night! About 80 strong, men and women, our topic being “Our image of God and how that affects our relationships, personally, communally and globally”. We sang a lot, prayed and shared, and I was lifted up by their wisdom and love of the Lord!

It was refreshing to see that the image of God this generation has been raised with is a loving, forgiving, comforting, “I am with you all the way” kind of God. A God that believes in them to make a positive difference in the world, to make it a better place for all people to live as ONE. I just love the spirit of our young adults these days and wish to support, mentor and learn with them as much as I can! Their goodness shines out and their sincerity authentic and true nurtures my own. I have complete confidence in their spiritual, social, political leadership that is now and to come!

Then, yesterday, I spoke with our moms of the parish, who have little ones, it was called, “Mary the mother of Jesus was a mom, too!” I think sometimes we forget that most of Mary’s day was filled with cooking, sweeping, changing diapers, holding, serving, sewing, comforting, healing wounds of heart and body. As all our mom’s do today! As was with Mary, our mom’s deepest prayer and finding of God will be in their ordinary tasks and unconditional care of their children.

It was a great sharing with our moms and it all resonated deep within them! I have such a deep awe and reverence for the profound love and energy that goes into the care and raising of our children. I am with you mom’s, in unconditional prayer and support!!! And, as a bonus, I played guitar and sang with their 18 little ones, do you just how many verses you can do to “Old McDonald had a Farm”?!! :)

Well, it is the beginning of a bright, beautiful, sunny day California way! Blessings upon you wherever the sun shines upon you today! :)

Feel free to come on in with any questions, comments, reflections YOU may have! :)

8:17 AM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

A lot of listening these days, to the hearts of many people. These are quiet, holy days when people share their faith journey's with me. I feel I should take my shoes off for I am standing on holy ground.

May God be with you close! Let God take off his shoes and hold your heart as you need this night, we do have a God who knows how to bend very low.


10:23 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Today is a nice, slow, quiet day. Went into the city, as in San Francisco, for my spiritual direction. It is always such a blessing to have someone within your life to share your spiritual walk, just keeps your spirit, mind and body grounded in the way of the Lord! And then I took a nice long walk, talked to my two sisters and Mom and Dad and now just ready to have to a nice evening with my sisters:)

Remember you can jump in anytime with a comment or question for me:) Have a wonderful evening!

7:37 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Nice day! Did my CURVES and lazed around in the garden for awhile. Then, played guitar and sang up at the community cemetery for the monthly memorial liturgy. It was very moving!

So hard when a loved one goes home, yet, on the cusp of the Easter season and Pentecost, we are reminded that our loved ones rise and return to us in spirit and love. I like the idea that their souls touch heaven first and then return to reside within us until we make our journey home.

God be with you in peace, especially if someone you have loved has touched the heavens before you. Say thank you for the "spirit of heaven" they live within as they continue to love you so dearly each day.

9:46 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Such beautiful skies these days! One of my sisters said today as we were biking out at Shoreline, how she was always drawn to the water. It was like coming home to her. It made me stop and think, yes, I really do like the water, but I looked up....and thought, I really am drawn to the sky!

I guess, coming from New Mexico, there is so much sky there and changing weather, colors and shapes of clouds. I remember as a child taking a whole roll of film just on the sky (my parents could not quite understand why:) but, I loved it!

What kind of person are you? Water, sky, mountains, desert, trees, hills, etc. Why do you think that is? I have to think more of why the sky speaks so to me.

May your night be one of peaceful dreams and rest, whatever the terrain:)

10:23 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

What an absolutely FANTASTIC day! So many gifts along the way, I could not even stop and pick them all up! It began by volunteering at the Kiwanis “Special Games” XXVII, this is for the handicapable children that could not even qualify for Special Olympics. They were just awesome, they were ecstatic for each ribbon they won and tried their best at every event. The teachers and parents were phenomenal and blessed as well!

Often tears came to my eyes as I looked around and thought," I am truly standing on holy ground, I am surrounded by complete holiness." I could just feel, taste, hear, see, touch God every where! It was like I had gotten to heaven early. At every turn, I was given a smile, a bottle of water, a kiss, a hug, a thank you, a ‘is it my turn yet’ and ‘this is the best day of my life!’ Mine, too.

Then from there to a great lunch at Taco Bell (yes you heard it here...one of my favorite meals under $5.00) And then off to pick up all the vegetable plants for our summer convent garden. We planted lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, chard, strawberries, eggplant, zucchini, all kinds of herbs and pumpkins (for the kids:) It was a beautiful day for gardening; sunny, cool, breezy, shorts, t-shirt and tennies weather! Nothing like being in the hands of Mother Earth for an afternoon. She tends the soul with such gentle ways.

Then, we had Vietnamese guests over for one of our sisters and did some teriyaki pork roast on the barbecue, it was delicious! It is so wonderful to learn from so many different cultures, and our sisters represent so wonderfully so many of them! :)

Then, by chance, this evening was my “Pause” singing night! I was inspired to start a group of musicians who just wanted to get to together once a month and let loose and sing! We had a great time, learned some new songs and shared a few of mine. We also ended up singing for the whole gathering and the Vietnamese family bonded even more!

Well, as I read over all of this, it is just hard to put it all into words, but I can see the “light of God” shining all around it!. Thank you, Lord, for a gifted day from heaven. It is a good taste for what is to come. All your people one at play, planting seeds of love, gathered from all lands to feast around the table, and singing into the night with delight! I’m in, how about you?

11:00 PM  
Blogger Nghinghin said...

Hello Sis...

I have just spent an hour reading all your posts. I am new to this whole blog thing but you are fascinating....so full of joy.

I have a question or two...

1. What is the charism of your sisters.

2. At what point do you say...I am done doing my own thing and ready to do God's thing? And how can you be sure it is God's voice you are hearing and not your own machinations on how you think things are supposed to.

I feel like I have been discerning all my life. I am tired now and want to make a decision.

Any advice would be cool.


P.S. Sorry to sound so serious.

10:57 AM  
Blogger curious said...

justbebecky, I find this blog very interesting. I have a ton of questions, but I'll just throw a few at you today. You mention Spiritual Direction a few times.Is a Spiritual Director the same as a therapist? Are they listed in the yellow pages? How do you know if you need a Spiritual Director? How do you choose one and how do you know he/she is the right one for you? Do Spiritual Directors have a choice of who will be their clients or do they remain available to anyone who wants to come to them?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Finn said...

Hi Becks! Stopping in to say hello after many many weeks. I still have to catch up on all your posts but I can tell you've been sowing the seeds of love as per usual. I've missed you!

Hi Nghinghin and Curious! I love your questions and am also interested in what Becky has to say. Hope you drop by again :-)

5:11 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Welcome, nghinghin and curious, now YOU just made MY day! (And your happy return Finn makes me smile even broader:)

I am happy to answer all your questions...let’s start with the charism of our sisters, I can only remember when I was thinking about entering the convent (which was a scary deal for me at 27 years old) and as I visited a few different orders, I came upon the MSJ Dominicans. And on my return home, what really stayed with me was their JOY!

The sisters laughed a lot and had a great sense of humor and always included everyone in their conversations. I loved, too, that they lived in community, prayed and sang together, ate together and shared their faith, their successes and learning's from the failures, and just their day to day happenings. They worked hard for the Kingdom and did many different kinds of ministries and liked to hear about what each was doing. And, I felt over all that was a “spirit of joy”! Now, of course we have our daily ups and downs, yet, to this day, I would say that JOY is a large part of our charism!

Our founder St. Dominic Guzman was known for his JOY and often sang and prayed as he walked from town to town preaching the Good News of Jesus. So, actually, the essential charism of our order is to preach the Good News...in the many ways that one can minister in our blessed global community! (I put some of those ministries on the opening page of my blog:)

When you think about it doesn’t sharing good news bring you joy? Well, just think about what JOY can come from sharing the GOOD NEWS of Jesus, which simply put, is that God loves us just the way we are and wants us to experience that love way down deep inside and to live our lives to the full! And, that is what I get to do everyday; inspire, encourage, nurture and support others to go deep down and encounter this loving God within and find their true and authentic self and now live it to the full in the world. Where finally their outside matches their inside!

Now, that brings us to the Spiritual Director, but if you don’t mind, I want to really cover this well, so how about we both get some shut eye and return tomorrow for that answer:)

Thanks so much for understanding...and thanks so much for coming! Like I said, YOU MADE MY DAY!!!
God’s peace be with you all, it is so nice to have you on my blog, you truly bless my space.
Lovingly, your sis’, justbebecky

10:03 PM  
Blogger Nghinghin said...

Dear Sis,

It is very clear to me that yours is a joyful charism. You exude God's love and movement in your life with everything you say.

I like that very much.

You entered the convent when you were 27. I find that interesting as you were about 3 years from my current age. (shhhhh...the big bad thirty) Did you wonder how you feel as you got older how you would feel about not having children?

Can you possibly share some of the things you grappled with?

I see you are a musician. I too am one. I am actually a professional cantor. Have you only ever wanted to play your music in service of Christ? Or did you ever want to be on say American Idol. (tee hee that's such a terrible show. How about star search....hehehehe)

Thanks for doing this.

It is nice to know that we are not alone in our crazy thoughts. (that is to say alone outside of vocation directors....I tell you just as an aside...military recruiters have nothing on these determined women.....oh it is to laugh)

Please keep up the good work and may God's abundant blessings be upon you and your sisters.

Nghinghin :)

11:20 AM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Hi Nghinghin, You make me laugh! I love your honesty and humor:) I am going to comment on my dear Curious and her great spiritual direction questions first and then we will pick up with your comments and reflections...

Hi Curious, I love your chosen name, to be curious is to be alive! I am glad that you like the blog and look forward to your ton of questions through the coming days.

Now to look at your questions, which are really so fundamental to the spiritual life. ‘Is a Spiritual Director the same as a therapist?’ No, they are not. The spiritual director, while having a working knowledge of psychological and emotional development, is more there to support you in your spiritual development. Say you are really struggling with issues in your therapy sessions with your mom, as you speak to your spiritual director about that she would help you see how God is there with you in the midst of the struggle. How are you experiencing/or not the movement of God in your life right now. I do have people in direction who I have recommended see a therapist, because of the psych/emotional issues needed to be dealt with as well. They can go very nicely together.

‘Are they listed in the yellow pages?’ Good question! I wish they were, but there are just not that many spiritual directors around, unfortunately. In our area, Mercy Center, Burlingame has listings. Many times, retreat houses have them. I wonder, too, if you googled it, you may get a listing of trained spiritual directors across the globe. “Spiritual Directors International” is a good one.

‘How do you know if you need a Spiritual Director?’ I guess, when things begin to happen in your relationship with God that you may need help understanding or if you feel God very absent or suddenly even very close and both need to be processed more with someone who really understands. Or if you are discerning a big decision in your life, sometimes it is helpful to have a guide to ask those important questions. It is hard to find someone to talk to about our relationship with God, it is kind of a counterculture thing to do. How it works is, usually, you set up hour appointments once a month and sometimes a donation is gratefully accepted. (Many spiritual directors have difficulty accepting money, but I think they should, they do tremendous work and need to have income to continue their awesome ministry.)

‘How do you choose one and how do you know he/she is the right one for you?’
A spiritual director would usually say let’s have a session and see how it goes for us. Then, ask if you want to call and make another appointment. (You may or may not) Then, at the third session (if you continue that long) both take time to say if it is working or not for them. It is a good way to allow the person to see if the fit is right. I have had some directors that work for me and some that don’t. I have to say I was kind of chicken though and was embarrassed to tell them, so I just called and canceled my appointment for some reason and didn’t reschedule! Sorry! :)

‘Do Spiritual Directors have a choice of who will be their clients or do they remain available to anyone who wants to come to them?’ Yes, you do have a choice just as the other person does. Sometimes, I have not continued (usually early on) because I felt I was not the one to direct them and I always would give them names of others I thought would work better. None of us can expect to be the one for all.

I hope these answers helped you, Curious, please come back again and tell me what you’re thinking and feeling:)

Hi Nghinghin, I wanted to comment on your first wonderings of:

“At what point do you say...I am done doing my own thing and ready to do God's thing? And how can you be sure it is God's voice you are hearing and not your own machinations on how you think things are supposed to. I feel like I have been discerning all my life. I am tired now and want to make a decision.”

I would say first of all, Nghinghin, up until this very moment you HAVE been doing God’s will. I feel bad that young men and women of our time think that they are not doing God’s will until they make a HUGE decision and then they say NOW I am doing God’s will, as if they had been wasting their time aimlessly, or not listening to God all along, or as you say, ‘doing your own thing’.

We forget how freely our God loves us! EVERY moment of our lives we move and have our being in God. Yes, there are different ways our lives go because of our choices, but that is a good thing (some for better some for worse) it is called living, loving and learning. And when I make a bad choice, it does not necessarily mean I was not doing God’s will, it could simply be I was not living up to my greatest potential or had not found that treasure deep inside of me that allowed my Christ light to shine out into the world!

I believe that God is very interested in OUR will, in other words our God wants us to know our deepest desires and dreams, probably better said, God wants us to know ourselves. God wants us to love ourselves and what we are doing. Is there a passion about what I am doing with my life, if not, what would make that so? I love that our God wants a relationship with us, and that means that there will be mutuality in our love.

My cool advice to you, Nghinghin, just be in love with your God, really accept his love into every part of your life. Do not be afraid that if you do, God will ask you to do something you don’t want to do! Relax into God’s love and tell him what your life’s dreams are, tell him what you wonder about, tell him your deepest desires and dreams, tell him just how much you love to sing with him and sometimes to him and visa versa, tell him how much you want to grow in your love your entire life, tell him everything that comes into your heart, all the scary things, joyful things, confusing things, etc. This God is your confidant, your life’s companion, your love, right now, today, forever more!

Now a few of your questions,,,which I love:) I have to say I did wonder somewhat about how I would feel as I got older how I would feel about not having children, but it was not foremost on my mind. I was more going with the moment and how I was feeling about my God.
“Can you possibly share some of the things you grappled with?” You’re going to laugh but I was more concerned with can I still wear my blue jeans sometimes if I want! (yes:) I wondered if I would fit in, being kind of a free spirit and all, that was a process of growing for me, which really brought me to a lot of wonderful self-knowledge. I would always say to myself and God, if I am not growing into my best self or closer to who I think I need to be then this life is not for me. Well, I am still growing into the best me, so here I still be:)

‘Have you only ever wanted to play your music in service of Christ? Or did you ever want to be on say American Idol. (tee hee that's such a terrible show. How about star search....hehehehe) Oh, honey, you are looking at rock star material, like I am talking Janis Joplin, girlfriend! :) Oh, I dreamed many a time of being on stage just rockin’ out my feelings through my songs. I will have to tell you the story sometime of how as a teenager I burnt out my Mom’s red heater light in her bathroom many a time:) Through my 20’s I played at a lot of, should we say dives, but this diva just did not make it. I was so shy back then and would sing two hours straight with my eyes closed and not say a word to the crowd, well, that did not go over big in the old bar scene. I interject, was I doing God’s will playing all those scenes, absolutely, he was so strong in my heart and wished me the best every night, it’s just as time went on, my best did not come out until I started singing his songs on street corners (sorry, another story sometime:)

And maybe to your surprise, Nghinghin, in the past, I was in vocation work for 12 years! :) So some of us do God’s business a little differently...I like to call it doing the Love Work of God. I am interested in ONE thing when I talk with any young women...does she absolutely know how much God loves her right now, right here, just as she is? When that question is answered with a" Yes", things just seem to fly from there! And THAT part is God’s work! :)

Come again friends, I enjoy your company!

Hi my special Finn, feel free to jump in!

P. S. Something fun I did today was to read a story to our little 1st and 2nd graders, just to see their little faces looking up at me with such awe and wonder...I have often said children’s faces must be the closest thing we have to God’s handwriting:)

Sleep well and let your God hold any worry or care that may be there tonight, he has a special way of letting them simply rise with the morning sun.
Peace and Just Be, your sis', Becky

10:20 PM  
Blogger Nghinghin said...

Dear Sis,

You know I like so much that you just intuitivly know what to say. What is the right thing...what we need to hear.

A couple things.

I love that you were playing your music in "dives" that is so great. I love music so much. I love to perform. It's like flying. But you know it's not just the rush from performing that I like about it but also that sense that God and I are right in the thick of things together at that moment. The best way I can describe it is a double helix...you know how the two strands are completely wrapped around each other.

That's what it feels like. I am a writer too and I teach religious education. I have to say that when I am doing any of those things it is like the Father and I are one.

It is a very good question you asked...

"I am interested in ONE thing when I talk with any young women...does she absolutely know how much God loves her right now, right here, just as she is? "

I would say yes. I do know and that is the thing of it. I have always liked my relationship with God to that of a passionate love affair. And it feels like that. Like the soul, the spirit of God reaches into my soul and stirs in with me. When I open and I acknowledge it it is rapture. When I don't it is agony.

The rub of it is if you say yes I know I am loved, but more I am known...to the crazy, holy, unholy, human and divine parts of me I am absolutely known...then there is a point where you feel this ache, this stirring for more.

I admit fully that I never quite know what that more is going to look like...frankly I don't know at all what that more looks like. But I am starting to feel less and less like I am going to be able to just lead a "normal" life. You know the husband, 2.5 kids...life.

There is a part of me that feels a certain wishing, a certain nostalgic sadness, for that life that "normalness"...but in then there is that other part me that wants nothing less than to be in those moements of rapture and never look back.

I will say our Lord is persistant. He puts that stamp upon your heart when you are but an inkling of a soul and then forever through your life there is disatisfaction, disharmony unless you acknowledge that stamp.

I have felt this way for many years. Does any of this make sense to you?

I like very much talking to you.

Are you around So. Cali? I would to see what you do?

Hmmmmmm....I am a nun stalker...


I get such a kick out of this blog...please continue to be as genuine as you are...

It is so nice to hear from a real honest to goodness human religious....

Yep...having a grand old time here.

Oh, by the way the jeans thing....

I am so right there with you. I love my jeans. Love, love, love...

Another consideration... I am italian...a pasta eater from the cradle...and well some of the food my little sister friends eat...lives the palet a little wanting...

Oh the tremendous sacrifice my tongue may have to make. I tell you this religion stuff is not easy.

Oh one more question before I stop blathering...

Do you get to see your family? And what would happen if your parents or sibs needed care and you were the only one able to give it? What you be able to do something for your family?

I worry about these things....what can I say? It is the quilty Italian in me.

All God's good blessings on you and your house...


12:40 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Hi Nghinghin, love your responses! I am coming a little earlier in the day, as I have a cool gathering with my sisters tonight.

Our big General Chapter is this summer and we are planning for it with five community values as our focus...Simplicity, Trust, Inclusivity, Creativity and Convivencia! (how to be ALIVE in all we do and say, our sisters from Mexico came up with that one:) So we are coming up with a poster for our little community that reflects those 5 values in our lives....and as per usual, living with 5 creative women, we have 5 different ideas already!!! We always come up with a wonderful compromise, though, which is beyond ANY of our individual ideas! The blessing of community, you are always living the MORE!

Well, to start off, Nghinghin, I so identified with your story of music, singing, writing, performing (which is more like union with our God), I like that double helix image, too! All my life my music has been there for me, it was my joy through my childhood, my survival through my teens, companion through my 20’s, my sole identity through my 30’s, my life’s thread through my 40’s and now in my fifties, just me, and that, says it all.

I feel like I am reading my journals of old as I see your words like “a passionate love affair” and “the spirit of God reaches into my soul and stirs in with me” and “when I open and I acknowledge it it is rapture. When I don't it is agony” and “the rub of it is if you say yes I know I am loved, but more I am known...to the crazy, holy, unholy, human and divine parts of me I am absolutely known...then there is a point where you feel this ache, this stirring for more” and “normal" life. You know the husband, 2.5 kids...life; a certain nostalgic sadness, for that life that "normalness" and “then forever through your life there is dissatisfaction, disharmony unless you acknowledge that stamp”

It ALL makes sense to me, Nghinghin, our God certainly has a wonderful stamp upon the whole of you! You definitely are at the next step of looking at, “What do I want to do with this wild, passionate love that my God and I share?

I believe our God wants us to know this deep love because he always wants us to know that LOVE will always be our FIRST vocation. When that is established, I believe he simply says, “Now, how do you want to BE our love in the world; in what way do you want to EXPRESS our love to the world; how do YOU want to do US in the world?”

It is important here for each person reading this, that the dynamic of God’s love in your life will be as unique to you as it is to me as it is to Nghinghin. There are similarities, but how it is “lived out” will so be uniquely and wonderfully determined by your personality.

We have sisters that are very quiet and do not say much about their deep relationship with their God...with all the great mix in-between... to those who do not think twice about putting their feelings on a blog and sharing them with the whole wide world! (Guess who?) That is what I love about community, so many differing personalities with so many ways of loving their God...it like having a chance to see the many loving faces of God’s love in the world.

That is why I always start with God loving us, that really is his “primary will” for us in a nutshell. The rest...is pretty much ours and how we want to bring that wonderful, shared love into the world. That is when we look at the gifts God has given us, can these gifts be expressed in the world with a spouse, children? with a single minded justice group? a gay partnership of love? a committed church community? a religious life community?

All secondary in God’s plan. That way we are all equal in God’s awesome love plan, it is just a matter of taking the path in the world that will manifest best the gifts I have been given. And, when I say gifts, I mean in addition to singing, drawing, rugby or blogging...I mean the deep person hood that has only one possible expression in the world that is deep within me, which simply, is me.

Kind of went off the beaten path there, but I really feel strongly in allowing each person complete freedom in how they want to express their God love in the world. I think God does! It is our path to discover or uncover it with our God, but he certainly will love us no matter which way we go, again, his primary interest? That we know His love at all times! There is such an unbounded freedom in that way of “being loved” that indeed it is then we believe the sky is the limit, and we soar!

I am up here in Los Altos, CA, which is around San Jose, our Motherhouse is in Fremont, Mission San Jose, do you ever get up this way, Nghinghin? Always welcomed if you do:) I’d love to sit and talk with you, too! And all others who wish to come are just as welcomed as well! :)

I love your “real honest to goodness human religious” comment, and I take it as a real compliment, in fact years ago, I heard a wise sister sage say to us sisters, “Always remember that you are 1st a human, 2nd a woman, 3rd a Christian and 4th a religious, and never walk out of the door without knowing the order and that all four are necessary for you to be God’s lover in the world. That has stayed with me ever since, and when my ego gets the order a little turned around, or tries to delete sections all together...I remember her wisdom and return...to the fullness of me.

As you can see, we are still in habit, which I love very much, I kind of see it today as my “full body tattoo” (why mess with a little butterfly on the ankle when you can be a full blown walking one! heeheehee)
We are mostly in habit for our ministry, going to church, and formal gatherings, but at home relaxing or going out with friends or biking, hiking or Curves:), or whenever we deem necessary, we wear what we will...which is my case is jeans in the winter and shorts in the summer! :) Some of our sisters, ministries prevent them from wearing the habit, such as jail ministry, energy healing and massage work, working in public social services, etc., which is all okay, too.

Oh the pasta!!! I live with a full spirited Italian and that is on the main fare quite often. Actually, we take turns cooking so you can choose what you make and the sisters are grateful for all kinds of food. That is one thing I love, coming home after a long day, praying Evening Prayer together, then sitting down to a meal that one of our sisters has prepared. I just feel so thankful.

Yes, we see our families, and more often, if in the area. Mine are out of state so I go every year and visit for a couple of weeks and they come on out twice a year and stay with us at the convent. We have had several cases where our sisters need to be working where their parents are, because of their special needs at the time. Sometimes, when it really is critical the sister will stay at their parents house on weekends and the convent during the week, checking in during the week. We are very conscious of our parents and their well-being. They gave us life and we want them to have quality of life, especially in their challenging years of age.

Thank you, Nghinghin, for your post today! It was cool answering you!

God’s special peace be with you all! I love to hear from you as you have time. Have a great rest of the day, don’t miss a moment to ...just be! I am off to Curves on my bike!
With a grateful heart, your justbebecky :)

3:35 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Thank goodness for this blog. I was having a super crummy day. Reading your posts just warmed my heart and reminded me that there is so much joy and love in this world. Sometimes I need to be reminded! Thank you all for rejuvenating this tired old soul.

And Becks, you just rock. I know you hear it all the time, but you just kick arse, my friend. I love how genuine you are. And how shamelessly silly and kooky you can be BUT still be a wise and enlightened person. Since we are all images of God, I like to think that God is silly and kooky too. (This explains the existence of giraffes and umlauts and ice cream parlors next to gyms).

Sorry, that was so off-topic. I am furtively typing this at work & I get all spazzy.

On the subject of Spiritual Directors -

Curious, your parish priest or pastor may also be a good source if you're shopping for one. They usually know someone. When I started to look for my own SD, I was quite surprised to find spiritual directors from different faiths (very cool) and I also got references for both clergy and lay people who are trained in Spiritual Direction.

I found my Spiritual Director in a retreat house and I've been going for a couple of years now. It's the best thing I have done for myself and I highly recommend having one.

As Becky says, it's somewhat countercultural to discuss your prayer life with someone. I wish this wasn't so but how often do people ask each other, "Hey, how's your relationship with God going these days?"

It's just wonderful to have a "soul friend" - someone you can be truly honest with and someone who can give you food for your spiritual journey.

Nghinghin (a.k.a. Nun Stalker-:), your posts really resonated with me. When you mentioned your passionate love affair with God, it reminded me of that quote from St. Augustine, "To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances, To seek Him, the greatest adventure;To find him the greatest human achievement."

I loved that quote when I was 16 and still do now. I think of my life in those terms - Falling in love with, Seeking and Finding God over and over again.

Sometimes I am not so in love with God. In fact I'd describe my relationship with him as pretty rocky in my younger years. Now it's hopefully more mature but I still feel like a Runaway Bride at times. I like to dodge God from time to time. I figure he needs exercise in his old age, so it's ok if he comes after me. I just like being pursued, I guess.

Becks, is that messed up?

I have more to comment on & ask but I think I've wasted enough company time. I'll talk to y'all soon. Ciao!

5:21 PM  
Blogger heartlight said...

I'm your sister from EastLA...where no 2 days are alike for a sister. It's great, Becky, to share experiences and see how God rocks your life. God rocks mine, too. I find God in the most unlikely places...I want to see where others find God, too, in unlikely places.

I'm passionate about my God and pasta, too! So, I'm right with you, Nghinghin! I also love tacos and "cool beans'" finn! Here's to our good God and our good food!

I'm inspired by young people like you that can put your faith out there for all to see...in both word and deed.

I lookl forward to reading more about your God experiences.

hastalavista, 'becca!

10:05 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Well, East LA is in the house! A big ADIOS to Sista' Heartlight, who is one of my sisters, if I am reading the pasta and taco thing right!:) NIce name, heartlight, except I expected a little corazonluz, instead:) So glad you joined the chat, come on board anytime... and my friends feel free to ask Heartlight any questions,too, she is indeed one of our own...on the southern LA border:) She does not check her email as often as I do, but she will get back to you in time.

Finn, so good to hear from you! I have been praying for you. Sorry about your crummy day, thank God they do come and go...and I am glad we were here to throw a little sunshine your way. Wise and wacky, I could not think of a better compliment, thank you, finn.

Good advice to Curious on the Spiritual Director beat (and I hope you come back again Curious with another fab question) all right on. I am glad that you have a spiritual director, finn, as your spiritual life is so alive and open.

Maybe the day will come when to ask the question, “Hey, what’s up with you and God lately is as common as want to get some coffee?” I do believe it can come as we begin to ask more freely the former. Just look at the beautiful connection between you and Nghinghin, wow, what an awesome soul connection.

And I love that quote from St. Augustine, "To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances, To seek Him, the greatest adventure;To find him the greatest human achievement." I heard another cool one the other day, “When you get a spiritual life it is like falling out of an airplane without a parachute, and you are afraid of falling, until you realize there is no ground.” Ram Dass

I love your humor with your God, finn. I could just picture this runaway bride on a steed galloping over the hill and God running behind laughing with love like the wind, knowing right when she stops, she will turn around and he, sitting on the hind, will just give her that big irresistible grin...and the pursued swoon again! Both you and Nghinghin remind me SO much of my “runaway days” (and they were many:) Maybe I should share more about those days, let me know if you’d like to hear. Already they fill me with such warmth, nostalgia and love for him. They are wonderful days, that is why I would never hurry them along, today let us lie back on the grass and drink them in together.

And, Nghinghin, just a little word of love to you, note who is always on the front of the horse? Our God always will let us lead, how wonderful to be so loved and trusted.

As is my day off, I am off to Curves with my friend, followed by a nice lunch together (cancelling out the Curves:), a little shopping, then over to a mutual friends house (an awesome single mom) to have a romping dinner with her three boys, 8,6,and 4! They are cuties!

And you my dear friends, I am with EACH of you in heart and prayer, I cannot tell you how much YOU do for ME in being a part of my life now. Thank you for your open sharing and you deep love of our God. It is so wonderful hear that others share the same! Peace always, your justbebecky :)

9:43 AM  
Blogger Nghinghin said...

Goodmorning Sis,

I hope this fine day finds you well!

Hello to Finn and Heartlight.

I have a very pensive day today..

I woke up this song in my head this morning and I have been playing it on my computer all morning.

Have you ever heard the deer's cry...'tis a great great song indeed. It starts with "I arise today...through the strenghth of heaven."

I am not a morning person. Not remotely. I was so feeling that song today. God is so provident that way. Like God says, I know you don't like getting up, I know your tired, so I'll give you the strength to do it my darling.

I always say God speaks to us how we would listen....certainly for me that is through the little jukebox in my head. I just turn my ears to listen and God is saying something.

As I said I have been in a pensive mood all day. Last night some teens were killed in orange county on the way to their prom (please say a prayer for their families). It seems so sensless. And I grapple with these things so much.

I wish I had a magic wand to take away all the wounds in the world. It is at these times, confronted with these things that I feel my wisdom leave me and I am very much a little girl before God asking why, asking to help me understand so.

And then I turn around and I know there are no answers to be had. It is not ours to know because we don't why the sun comes up in the day or why the jasmine in the summer makes us long for home. So I have to hope instead and trust that the promises of Christ will be there for me to understand when I have come to my end.

Dum spiro spero...while I breathe I hope.

Oh boy...

I am blittering again. I hope none of you mind.

I agree with you Finn by the way about God's sense of humor...hence duckbilled platepus....you know Jesus and the Father were sitting around one night going I bet I know what you're thinking...

Hahahahahahhahaha get it...I make trinitarian jokes. I wonder how that would go over on the circut.

I think God looks down on us and just chuckles. At least I hope he does otherwise it's going to be

Nghinghinnnnnnnnnnn you have some espaining to do....

I love have the freedom to say anything here. It is way coolbeans. Oh hello to Heartlight...you're in East LA. Yo soy es muy terribile at espaneeesh.


I went and visted the MSJ website yesterday. I know who you guys are now. The little white nuns at congress...not to be confused with the little beige suited nuns. Different group. I like putting the group to a picture in my head. Very cool. There were pics on the website that were beautiful...a rededication of a care center I believe. Very beautiful.

Well folks I believe I have taken up more than enough of your time. So I am going to sign off.

Hey Sis, do you know the SND's. They are friends of mine. They are cool like you.

Very down to earth.

Well that's me in nutshell...
(help I'm in a nutshell)

Nghinghin a.k.a. Nun-stalker!
Si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Aww, Nun Stalker Nghinghin...I am sorry to hear about those kids. My youngest brother is about to graduate from high school and when I hear about things like that, it saddens me so much. I am currently reading a book called "Generation Kill" which is about young Marines in Iraq. These are guys my kid brother's age and while their courage & patriotism are inspiring, I worry that they will be a lost generation. So many of them are already showing signs of mental illness and many of them are going home with the most horrible injuries. They wrestle daily with acute feelings of guilt and I just feel for them, you know?

I totally get that you grapple with these things and ask why. I ask why all the time and I drive my Spiritual Director nuts. He says I'll stop asking why soon enough. Meaning I will learn to trust and hope in God more fully.

I certainly hope I do. My Jedi Master says so :-D

Hi Sis Heartlight! I've been singing that Neil Diamond song since I read your post. You know: Turn on your heartlight/Let it shine wherever you go! (I know it's not quite The Deer's Cry, Nun Stalker, but I'll sing most anything. Ask Becky.)

Anyway, I lived in Lala-land and the best taquerias are in East LA! So I think it's cool beans that you're there, Heartlight. I'm picturing you cruising with the my low rider homies. Bumpin' to the beats and throwin' down those Dominican hand signs.

What is your ministry there, by the way?

Becks, I want to hear about your "runaway days". I'd like to stop running away from The Boyfriend, but falling in love with God has a scary side. It's interesting to me when you say God wants to know our heart's desires, because that's not the message I got when I was growing up. It was drilled into me that my job is to seek HIS will and fulfill HIS desires for me. I didn't get the memo that what I wanted was important to him. Where the heck was I?

Oh I know, I was too busy reading "Lives of the Saints" and all those stories of holy men and women getting decapitated, flayed and torched at the stake. It left me thinking, Cripes, if this is what it means to be God's Beloved, I dunno....I think I'll pass. I'd like to keep my head on my shoulders, thank you.

So thank you, Becks, for passing on the message that I have a say in my relationship with God.

Am really looking forward to hear from you all again. Enjoy your long weekend!

5:17 PM  
Blogger Nghinghin said...

Hello all,

Finn Finn Finn....hahahahahaha

I used to read lives of the saints too! I was such a sick kid...my favorite stories were joseph and ester. Oh boy I was like a nerd at 5 and 6.

I used to want to be a saint so bad. Oh boy....such a nerd I would go to bed praying, Lord, if you want to give me the stigmata I'll be okay with that. I want to be as close to you st. francis. I think I had an ego at 6. I didn't just want to be an everyday believer I wanted to be in the book.

Oh my Lordy, you God just looks down and laughs. I am telling you no joke.

So you're running from a boyfriend. Lucky you. I am trying to convince God that it would be nice to have one so I know whether to join religious life or not. Having only had one boyfriend (who was in the seminary) I am a little lacking in that area.

How funny is God. He takes these to young people one who wants to be a priest and the other who thinks she wants to be a nun and we dated for like 3 months and then the guilt just killed us. I know God was looking down and just cracking up...saying things like...Jesus...hey Jesus...have you seen these two. Oh yeah...you saw...


Anyway. I just had to comment on the lives of the saints. Oh by the way Finn I thought I was the only 30 something that knew Neil Diamonds songs.....let it make a happy glow for all the world to see...

Have a great night.


10:38 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Nghinghin, you sly girl you! A seminarian ex-boyfriend? That's hot. If you know what I mean. And I think you do. Hahahaha.

That's interesting because my last boyfriend was an ex-seminarian. High five, dude. There's a Depeche Mode song that goes "I think that God has a sick sense of humor. And when I die, I expect to find him laughing." It's so true. (The rest of the song sucks, but that line is right on.)

I'm also in my 30s but am way older than you I'm sure, so I should know my Neil Diamond :-)

Am off to shave a friend's head and then I'm playing some miniature golf. I'll stop in this weekend and will say hello again.

Adios muchachas!

7:23 PM  
Blogger heartlight said...

Hi, Nghinghin and finn and justbebecky,too!
It's great reading all your comments and stories. I wanted to be a martyr, too, until I found out I had to die! So I decided to love Jesus some other way and I'm glad I chose this way. Yes, we are the little white sisters running around at the Congress. I was one of them! I wish I could've met you there. Next time you see a sister in white, ask for Heartlight!
My ministry is at an all girls high school...campus ministry. I love working with the students preparing for the retreats and then watching them minister to their own peers. They are sooooooo good! I have another "light" song for you to reminisce with throught the week......... Youuuuuuu light up my liiiiiiiife, youuuuuuu give me hoooooooope to carryyyyy ooooon.. is that enough????
Have a good weekend...stay in touch
your sister heartlight

8:44 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Sis Heartlight, thanks for the Debbie Boone song. I have a co-worker who sings that to me once in a while and she sings it the way you type it. Now I have another reason to love it. That's just groovy.

So you're in campus ministry. That is fabulous! I am grateful for the sisters who prepared me for retreats when I was a student & who taught me to be a peer counselor. I am sure your girls adore you :)

Why did you choose this particular ministry? In the same vein, do you get to choose which ministry to work in or do the higher ups determine that & sort of assign you to a specific task?

Nghinghin, I also forgot to tell you that aside from geeking out on the same Lives of the Saints stories, I am also a latin geek. Particulary silly latin. So I leave you with this:

Semper ubi sub ubi ubique (Always wear underwear everywhere.)

9:43 PM  
Blogger heartlight said...

Dear finn,
I'm in campus ministry because my main ministry is high school and campus ministry is one area that I hadn't worked in full time. My previous ministry for 6 years, just before this one, was working with our young women in initial formation (the "new kids on the convent block") and when my term was up I wanted to return to high school. I want to work with young women to make sure they know their dignity, power and natural inner strength as WOMEN.

We talk to our "higher ups" and let them know what's in our hearts...where we'd like to minister, they listen and try to "make a fit," ...if we're not needed someplace else...

3:49 PM  
Blogger Finn said...

Thank you for answering my question, Heartlight! I hope all is well in Lala-land.

I think it's phenomenal that we have sisters like you who teach young women to know their "dignity, power and natural inner strength." I know many young girls who are starving, hungering for that message. And I also know women who have never heard it and have such difficulties in mid-life.

I can see why you love this ministry. My first love is teaching and I hope to one day do it again. My present work allows me to play coach & mentor, so I get a lot of personal joy from it. However, it would be great if I can do it in a school setting.
Well, maybe when I am older and little more bolder. Much as I love to teach, I am also tremendously shy.

So kudos to you, Heartlight! I'd like to hear more of how you've "connected the dots" and arrived at your current state (religious sister/teacher/counselor/lover of tacos) but that may be an entry at Becky's other topic page thingy.

See you around, I hope! Till then...espero que dios te bendiga.

5:10 PM  
Blogger carpediem said...

Hi Everyone,

I enjoyed reading your thoughts.... I, too, have thought about becoming a nun/sister and you guys kind of touched upon the wall that I run into (repeatedly... I'll never learn, I guess) every time I think, pray, dream about it. My wall has to do with the words "in love." I love God, but maybe I don't love God enough or the right way. I can't say that I have a love affair with God, but I guess I could say that I will serve God with all my heart. Anyone have thoughts?? I'd love to hear/read them. Thanx.

6:18 PM  
Blogger carpediem said...

Oh, BTW, do you all have that reflection that starts "Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite aboslute, final way...?" It has beautiful sentiments, but lended to my wall problem, so I stopped reading it. However, it might be something uplifting and prayerful for you, so let me know if you'd like the whole thing. :) Peace.

6:32 PM  
Blogger JustBeBecky said...

Welcome Carpediem! Thanks for coming on! Thank you for sharing "your wall" being the "in love" thing! I knew there would be many of you out there that would not relate to him that way.... Maybe you remembered in your reading of this post, kind of in the mid-section where I wrote, (quote)

"It is important here for each person reading this, that the dynamic of God’s love in your life will be as unique to you as it is to me as it is to Nghinghin. There are similarities, but how it is “lived out” will so be uniquely and wonderfully determined by your personality.

We have sisters that are very quiet and do not say much about their deep relationship with their God...with all the great mix in-between... to those who do not think twice about putting their feelings on a blog and sharing them with the whole wide world! That is what I love about community, so many differing personalities with so many ways of loving their God...its like having a chance to see the many loving faces of God’s love in the world." (end of quote)

So Carpediem, it does not have to be a BIG love affair with the Lord to be real and authentic. As I said above, all of our sisters relate to the Lord in ways that are so unique unto them.

Some like the "feely or romantic" kind of way and some like "Lord, I am here to do your will, and you push up and your sleeves and say let's get to it!" kind of way. Both are authentic, both are equal, both are real, both have the same end result...relating to the Lord the way you feel best for YOU! I think the Lord LOVES the differences myself!

Please, if you will, Carpediem, share with us how you love the Lord with all your heart through your service. I would love to hear it! The quote you began sounds familiar... but I rather hear your story.

I am going up to the top post, now, to answer some questions on the vow of celibacy, if you want to come along. I think most of the gang is up there so I will welcome you again up there! :)

Please come again, Carpediem, here or there:)

9:05 PM  
Blogger begrateful said...

Hi everyone out there especially to heartlight from East LA, say hi to Tall George for me.
Loved hearing what everyone had to say, especially how people find God in different things.
For me God is everywhere in everything I do but sometimes I fail to realize it as I get so into my day and I am a type A personality.
I have found though that when I am open anything can happen so my prayer in the morning is 'God keep me aware and open to your intevention in my life today'
That's all, would love to hear from all out there and what you think.
Your's begrateful

9:48 AM  
Blogger begrateful said...

Good Evening Carpediem, Finn, I just read your last entries and wanted to share how I arrived at my state in life i.e a nun. I entered the convent five years ago and have been temporary professed two years, three more years to final vows.
I was pretty happy before I entered and had no intention of ever becominga nun. I thought nuns were all holy and all that stuff. (I went to barding school to nuns in Ireland for five years) Anyway to make a long story short I entered the convent after going away on a quiet weekend that was suppose to be a lenten retreat, it turned out to be religious life retreat.....The dates got mixed up, after I left, I felt changed, it was a feeling deep in my gut that I wanted to do this but felt I wouldn't cut the mustard as I liked to bike, run, go wine tasting etc etc so I asked God for a sign and the sign I got was a bumper sticker that said 'Don't die wondering'
That was it and then I followed through with the process. I believe we have to be in touch with ourselves, our gut and our God to know his/her will for us and then let go. Having said all this I know it's not easy but I am glad I did and I have no regrets.
Let meknow what you all think.
Your's begrateful

10:30 PM  
Blogger 17star17 said...

Hey whats up sister
It is me that girl you met at the jubilee
with the pink dress Alejandra!Imade a
message in the office and maybe you would
like to hear it?well it goes like this..
may God grant you always...A sunbeam to warm you,a moonbeam to charm you,a sheltering angel,so nothing can harm you.
I have been listening to your songs for
quite a while now.Anyways got to go!!!

4:59 PM  

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