Recipe for New Nuns?

Last Saturday, a small group of teenage girls,  Visitation Companions, and Visitation Sister, Mary Virginia, convened at St. Jane House (SJH) for an afternoon of cookie baking. Vis Companion and SJH host, Brian Mogren, took a photo  documenting the occasion, and emailed a few words about the collaborative experience to fellow Vis Companions. Melissa received his email and it inspired her to ask some prayerful questions and post the following blog.

Cookie Baking Crew at St. Jane House

Cookie Baking Crew at St. Jane House

As I think about the 20-40 year old women who are being called into the Visitation Monastery of North Minneapolis, as part of the “seven new sisters vocations initiative,” I wonder how each and every one of these kinds of communal, collaborative events, like cookie-baking, is a part of this invitation?

Could one of these cookie baking young women someday be a Vis Sister?

Is one of the girls’ present or future friends or family members a possible candidate for the Vis Monastery?

Will a woman see this image — conveying collaboration, relationship and creation– and be moved to inquire further about SJH and the VHM order?

Do one of the Vis Companions pictured, Leo Johnson or Jeff Pearson,  possibly  know one of our future Vis Sister friends?

Can the act of baking cookies be a prayerful activity, that draws in women volunteers who might discern the monastic life?

Before I met my husband, I started making soup. I declared to a small group of friends that I wanted to marry, and asked for recipes that somehow might be connected, on a figurative level, to a partner and represent or convey elements of partnership. The first soup I made was “Italian Wedding Soup.” I meditated a lot on the recipe, the ingredients, and the process of cooking, and asked that the action of preparing homemade soup be a prayerful action in and of itself,  inviting my life partner into my immediate world.

Melissa alongside her recently married husband, Francois

Melissa alongside her recently married husband, Francois

I made a lot of soup. Italian Wedding Soup. Chicken Chili.  Three Pepper Sausage Potato Chowder. Squash.  I passed it out to friends. I attached little cards to each container, asking each person, “Please pray for my husband.”

I did this for a couple months last winter. I was “marrying ingredients,” musing about how meatballs and spicy chicken might reflect some aspect of this fellow. It was pure fun. Pure prayer. Delight.

I invite all readers, all friends to the Visitation order, and all cookie-bakers,  to consider doing the same thing. Bake. Pray. Ask:

How is baking sweet things akin to calling in a sister to North Minneapolis?

What aspects of these cookies might reflect these seven new women?

Will an oatmeal nun emerge in our midst? A chocolate chip sister come forward?

Will there be any ginger or spice in one of the discerning crew?

I’m serious! I am laughing! I am praying.
Can you imagine this? Can you see these new women? Are you thinking of your own ingredients and recipe?

Love to you all!

Melissa Borgmann Kiemde
Visitation Companion

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  1. dear melissa, this is great…i like molasses cookies….the chewy kind…what does that say about my vision for future sisters….i think it means i am looking for sisters with whom i can be engaged….nurturing my spirit and soul and those of our friends here on the north side!

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