life of luxury

I've been in conversation with some folks about a possible ministry position for when I transition from Novice to Temporary Professed in the fall. I had a phone interview a few weeks ago (for which I dressed up) which went really well. Since then we've had a few e-mails back and forth and it looks like it might work out! I'll share details when it's official.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a realization I had yesterday. One thing that is a bit challenging in this new life of mine is that I'm no longer the sole decision maker. So, when it comes to this looking for a job from a distance thing - which is complicated enough - we've also had to add into the equation my novice director and provincial and formation director. It's actually been less complicated than I thought it would be - essentially just keeping everyone in the loop. It is definitely an adjustment though. I may think it's a great fit, a good idea, etc... but I also need to remember to invite others into the circle when it comes to making decisions. That's part of my realization: that what I guess you'd call the "obedience" element does take some adjustment but so far isn't too terribly difficult to integrate into my life.

The other part of my realization had to do with the poverty element. I've been having these conversations with the job folks and the "Sisters-in-charge" seem pretty excited as well. I even heard from a few of my references that they were checking with them! Good signs. Then it dawned on me .... I have no idea what the pay is for the job. Then the rest of it hit me ... it doesn't really matter what the pay is for the job. There will be some sort of salary, which will go to the community. The community in turn will give me whatever I need to live simply.

To be honest, I'm sure it doesn't pay a lot seeing as the position is with a small nonprofit that does good work. Those jobs usually don't pay a lot. And in my past life I certainly would have had to factor in the pay into the equation to see if I could afford to work there. Now, while there are more folks I have to invite into the conversation, I don't really need to worry about the financial aspect and instead can focus on whether the position is a good fit for me and our community.

Early on in my novitiate I realized that my mind and heart were free from worries about paying my bills and wondering how I'd manage it all. I hadn't realized how much energy went to that, even with a pretty good paying job! Now, don't get me wrong. I'm still involved in real world stuff - in fact one of my "charges" here at the Novitiate House is the financial stuff. But there's some sort of freedom that comes from living in a community of people who are also living simply and who share their resources to make it all possible. In a way, there's a luxury to the poverty if that makes any sense.

Ok, rambling thoughts over. I'm going to be late for morning prayer and mass!!!


Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

A friend sent me this comment by email: "Susan...Maybe this is something you've thought of and just didn't include it in your blog, but I'm throwing it out there just in case.

The salary you earn might matter. If an organization is hiring religious for the sake of paying lower-salaried people, and in effect it affects salaries of the laity who depend on fair salaries, or if religious workers take lower salaries for the sake of "poverty" without thought how it may affect salaries overall, then it's important that your salary be appropriate for the work you're doing and the organization's ability to pay--regardless of your status as a religious. In cases like this, it's about the just compensation for work, not the work you've vowed yourself to do in your community.

Point taken and agreed with my friend! This post was more about the internal freedom I was feeling and in particular that the woman who always needs to know everything (me) didn't need to know this piece to know she wants to work with this group. That said, given that this is a group that does good things in the justice and peace area, I have confidence that they have just pay structures.

Thanks for the comment! Hope you don't mind that I blogged it.

Anonymous said...

And remember, there are a large number of older members in your community who need your money to help support them as well!