Monthly Archives: July 2010

Beyond Victory or Defeat: Gratitude and Grace – A Sunday Evening Prayer

Spain's Victoryby Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together. – Col 1:17

As we close out this World Cup Soccer Weekend, some of us celebrating with the victorious Spaniards, others perhaps feeling sorrowful for the second place Dutch team,  (or mourning their team’s earlier departure from the tournament?!), I’m mindful of the fullness of this past week’s many experiences —  the seeming victories and defeats — and holding them prayerfully before God in gratitude. I wonder: What is it to win on the world’s stage? What is it to claim victory locally? What is it lose? How do we gauge satisfaction in taking first — or conquering another, claiming a title? How do hold loosely the inevitable other side of defeat? What lies in-between?

I’m thinking about all that has occurred this past week in and around 14th and Fremont, North Minneapolis:

  • The family Sr. Katherine refers to in her Facebook posts as “J’s” — who seeks shelter when the neglect of their landlord forces them to leave their dwelling. (With two small children to care for, the questions about well-being and resources abound: Is a space available at Mary Jo’s Place? Where will the family go? What will happen to the house and landlord? Will the cops come?)  — A defeat?
  • That same mom, dad and two boys joins the Sisters for ice cream – before their Tuesday departure from the neighborhood. Again, Sr. Katherine’s Facebook entry documents her heart-felt encounter and prayer:  “..this family sets a good tone with their friendliness toward all. They are real survivors. God, work your miracle!” A victory?
  • The appearance of “Sam” — an addict seeking aid, who lost his job because he was drinking. SK2’s compassionate post: “Addictions have such a loud voice within. But God is there within, right? Let’s have them ‘meet up.'” A victory or defeat?
  • Vocations team members attended a mass and luncheon sponsored by the Serran’s at Our Lady of Grace in Edina. We heard a young woman tell her powerful story about surviving the Columbine School shootings, converting to Catholicism, and now joining the convent. A victory?
  • At that same event, we heard the priest state in his homily that only ordained men and women know the fullest intimacy with God, something not possible for married people. A defeat?

Vis FBIt’s so rich! Reflecting on any of our past week’s experiences, I’m certain we’d each find a range of multi-faceted, multi-dimensional encounters that might, on the surface, strike us as simple wins or losses. But I encourage you, in your prayers, to thank God for each of them, and ask to find the graces, the nuances, the possible larger gift in any experience transcending a title of ‘victory’ or ‘defeat.” As Paul reminds us in his letter to the Colossians: God holds it all!

Yes, we have a World Cup Soccer champion in Spain. Blessed be! But my own heart and spirit imagine a God that grants possible graces for the second place Netherlands, that they don’t leave the stage completely and utterly dejected as “losers” –nor any of the prior teams who left before these final rounds.

What does your heart, mind and imagination say?

Sunday evening blessings! Happy new-week contemplations!

St. Jane de Chantal

Posted by, Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan

St. Jane de Chantal a wise, loving woman, mother, widow, visionary, and founder of the Visitation, utterly human remains an inspiration.

Below are some wonderful illustrations into her life and how she instructed her novices between 1627-1633.

St. Jane de Chantal

St. Jane de Chantal

Chantal occasionally used stories of her own married life to make her point. In 1629, on how God reaches out to the soul:

“There occurs to me on this subject a similitude, which is somewhat amusing, my dear Daughters. I remember that Monsieur de Chantal was very fond of lying in bed of a morning; I, having to look after the affairs of the house, was obliged to rise early to give all my orders.

When it began to be late, and I had gone back to the bedroom, making noise enough to awaken him, so that Mass might be said in the chapel, and afterwards the remaining affairs might be seen to, I became impatient. I went and drew the bed curtains and called to him that it was late, that he must get up, that the chaplain was vested and was going to begin Mass; at last, I used to take a lighted taper and held it before his eyes, and tormented him so, that at last I used to awaken him and make him get out of bed.

What I mean to tell you, by this little story, is that our Lord does the same with us.”      [p.276]

In 1631, one monastery’s confessor had ordered the nuns not to say a prayer that was in their Book of Customs. Chantal was not about to let that occur again. In 1632:

“What, Sisters, are you weathercocks, that you thus let yourselves be turned about at the wish of others, and because of what they come and say to you?… Whatever they come and say to you, look at your Rules, your Directories, and your Customs, and keep to that….

If someone comes to the parlor and says: “Do not this or that, in this way, or that such a thing must not be done,” answer them boldly: “Our Rules and our Book of Customs order us to do so;” or else say nothing, but go on as usual, without yielding in anything of your Customs.”          [pp.322-23]

In 1641, shortly before her death, Chantal spoke of dependence on God, quoting a saying of Francis de Sales:

“I think, Sisters, nothing places us in more perfect self-renunciation, and in greater dependence on God, than the practice of those few words: “Ask for nothing, and refuse nothing.” To them we must attach ourselves in the smallest occurrences.

If we are in the infirmary, they will perhaps not serve us to our taste; they will give us broth too salted or too bitter, or something else that will not be to our liking. Let us profit by these little occasions, let us accept them from God’s hand….” [pp.390-91]

May we stay awake when the Lord is calling, may we answer boldly when the need arises, and may we grow a greater dependence on God as St Jane de Chantal invites us.

Taken from Saint Jane Francis Fremyot de Chantal: her exhortations, conferences, and instructions / translated from the French edition printed at Paris in 1875. Westminster, Md.: Newman Bookshop, 1947. Rev. Ed. (xix, 478 p.)
LC#: BX890 .C37 1947

Daily with De Sales: An Online Retreat

Who can’t use a little daily, morning meditation? A resource to guide you in prayer? A text to give shape to your own wandering thoughts and desires? A model to inspire your own musings and emptying process before the Beloved? “Daily with De Sales” is just such a resource! The following is a passage taken from this online publication of St. Francis de Sales’ quotes and maxims, as compiled by Rev. Francis J. Klauder.  It provides a daily guide for any and all who seek the gentle, wise, and nurturing words of St. Francis. We are grateful for Fr. Klauder’s work editing the original book, Every Day with St. Francis de Sales” and invite you to check out the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales’ website, where this online retreat resource lives.

Enjoy! Pray On! Live + Jesus!


St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales

July 6
I do not want you to be too worried about your prayer made without words, as you put it to me, because it is good if at the end it leaves you with noble affections in your heart. Therefore, follow the path along which the Holy Spirit is calling you, without neglecting to prepare yourself for meditation. It is necessary to give yourself a sufficient preparation which mirrors your attitude; when God lifts us up to lofty heights, to Him alone be the glory! (Letters 49; O. XIII, p. 334)

In the News: Celebrating Our 400th Year in Global Solidarity

Click to watch the linked video

Click to watch the linked video

On Friday, June 11, 2010, representatives from every country where the Visitation Order is located took part in a Solemn Mass and procession of the Blessed Sacrament in Paray-le-Monial, France. The following link from H2Onews* provides a video of this commemorating event that unites the Visitation Sisters of North Minneapolis with our sisters and brothers around the world. This video provides a glimpse into the rich history and tradition of our order’s founders and this year’s celebration — connecting and inspiring our past, present, and future.

Enjoy! Live + Jesus!



H2onews, Your Good News Source
H2onews is a Catholic news service on a worldwide scale that creates and distributes multimedia news, every day, in nine languages. The news focuses on the life of the Church and on social and cultural events that directly pertain to Catholics living in the world.H2onews springs from the Pope’s request to use modern methods of communication for evangelization and promoting peace and development (cfr. World Social Communications Day, May 8, 2005).

H2onews believes that communication creates communion.  For more info, click here.

Salesian Leaders, Visitation Class of 2010

Compiled By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan, Visitation Alumna ’93, The Alumna of 2010, & the Visitation Sisters of North Minneapolis

As Sister Karen returns from Salesian Leadership Camp, and Sister Katherine works with the neighbors on Salesian leadership, the Visitation Class of 2010 graduates steeped in Salesian leadership. As a tribute to the whole of the Visitation–monasteries, schools, alumna, companions, and friends on the journey, we take time to hear the voices of these young Salesian leaders. Their reflections stem from the sacred time they spent with the Sisters and the neighbors of North Minneapolis as they completed their senior year this spring. We invite you to read their reflections. We also invite you to respond with how Salesian Spirituality informs the way you lead.

Maddy DeMeules, Vis Graduate Class of 2010 & Sr Mary Virginia from Opening Services

Maddy DeMeules, Vis Graduate Class of 2010 & Sr Mary Virginia from Opening Services

To all the Sisters:

Thank YOU so much for welcoming us into your home and your community!  I cannot tell you what a powerful impact these two weeks have had on my Vis experience.  I think that one of the most important things I will take away from senior projects with you Sisters is the feeling of home you provide.  You are always so warm and welcoming to both us and your neighbors, and your homes are a place to feel safe and loved.  The other lesson I am taking with me is learning how to see God and His work not only in the extraordinary parts of our lives, but also the ordinary parts.  You all have helped me to appreciate God’s intricate involvement in every part of our lives.
Again, thank you for your presence during this time, and I hope to visit more during the summer!

Love, Maddy

Living Visitation by Maddy De Meules

“Over the last two weeks working with the Visitation Sisters and their community in North Minneapolis, the overarching theme of my learning experience has been discovering new ways to understand what the Visitation is and different ways I can live a Holy life beyond our Visitation School community.  These lessons have come in many different ways and from many different people.  Furthermore, our time spent in service in North Minneapolis helped me to be able to learn more about this community.  I think this part was very important because I live in Minneapolis, and spending time in this neighborhood put real faces and stories on all of the generalizations I have heard growing up.  I think the two groups of people that taught me both of these lessons really well were the Speakers and the Sisters.  Both of these groups of people are residents of the North Minneapolis community, and both groups of people showed me how to live a life that focuses on the importance of God’s call to live in companionship with and love for our neighbor.  The lessons and experiences that I have gained from this service project could not have come at a better time.  First, with graduation soon approaching, these lessons have shown me how Visitation can still be a part of my life even when school is over and I am no longer a student at Visitation.  In addition, my lessons and experiences will ground me with a new view of reality and my faith as I start my new experience of attending college this fall.  The final lesson I will take from this service opportunity is that I learned to see God and His work in new ways, even in seemingly simple or trivial parts of life.  I hope to carry this with me and always hold Visitation close to my heart.”

A Senior Year Reflection on Service in North Minneapolis by Colleen Mulligan

“No one is turned away from the Sisters door, whether they want to stop in for some lunch or to talk to one of the Sisters about their problems…. No one is rejected, and everyone is welcomed in with respect and kindness. I had no idea what to expect from

Colleen Maguire, Visitation Graduate of 2010

Colleen Mulligan, Visitation Graduate of 2010

my time in North Minneapolis when I first started working at the Girard House, but I was pleasantly surprised by the lifestyle which the Sisters lead. Their house is truly a safe house for any member of the Northside community to stop in no matter what their problem is. Seeing the way the different speakers praised the Sisters and their work was inspiring. The Sisters truly blend in with the community and serve their role as a “prayerful presence” in the community.

As we celebrate the freedoms of our country this holiday weekend, may we also celebrate the true freedoms that come from love and service to one another, and may the interconnectedness that comes from Salesian Leadership inspire each of us. Join me as we congratulate the Visitation Class of 2010, and the Sisters, their families and their community that journeyed with each of them! May their Salesian Spirituality guide their next ventures.