the good stuff

We're approaching the five month mark here at the Novitiate. I often write around the "unbloggable" thoughts I have as a Novice, my challenges and things that are hard about this experience. It's hard to truly describe Novitiate, although for some crazy reason I feel called to try to share it with you, my bloggy friends.

For a change I thought I'd list some of the "good stuff" of this experience. I wrote a longer list in an e-mail to a wise friend who was helping me work through some of the unbloggables. I was surprised at how much was on the list ...
  • Getting to know the Senior Sisters next door. They are amazing women, strong, prayerful, and with a great sense of humor.
  • Starting my weekly ministry at the hospital, where I visit with patients of all faiths and bring Communion to the Catholic ones. I am completely out of my comfort zone and have no idea what I'm doing. Nevertheless, it's been a positive experience and is certainly stretching me. Plus it is such a gift to be able to bring Christ's healing presence to those who need it most.
  • Our intercommunity Novitiate program is amazing. Interesting topics. Excellent presenters. And a wonderful sense of community among the novices.
  • Having the time to read. I've starting reading some of our founder's writings, thanks to real life friend and blog reader Terry who has been kind enough to lend me some of her out of print books. I'm also reading Thomas Merton, Thich Nhat Han, Ronald Rolheiser, Julian of Norwich and others.
  • Having the time to develop a regular meditation practice. I can't quite put words on this experience, but it's led to lots of personal growth.
  • And difficult as the interpersonal dynamics sometimes are, I've come to know myself better and who I want to be through my experiences living with my novitiate house community. I've also come to love having people to pray with and share meals with each and every day. After many years of living alone, this has been a surprise to me.
There's more. There's also some stuff that's not so great, but it's more honest to list the good stuff explicitly. It helps me to balance this experience and put it in its proper perspective.


Anonymous said...

I am pained that scripture class did not make the list of the good stuff! I am sure it was an accident. I'm glad I got a mention as a purveyor of Margaret Anna materials though!


Anonymous said...

Gosh, Susan Rose, you bring back some good memories for me (okay, some scary ones too). I think I knew intellectually that novitiate was "good for me", but I'm not sure I appreciated as much as I do now looking back. While my nuns were awesome, my experiences challenging, the best part is that now I can see how much God was at work in my life. You will never have another time like this. Savor it --- even the not so great moments --- as it sounds like you are. (I can't believe I'm writing this because I would have soundly kicked someone if they had said it to me during novitiate ... but after a good seven years I guess I've gotten a little perspective.) Know that I'm pulling for you, girl.

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Terry - of course it was an oversight! As was the lack of mention for your wonderful Monday afternoon liturgies! :)

Julie - I know I've felt like kicking people who have pined nostalgically for their novitiate days when I've been going through what seems at the time to be hell! This is certainly one of the most intense experiences of my 34 and a half years. And yes, God has definitely been busy in my life!