Monthly Archives: October 2012

“Many Callings: One Life” — A list by Amanda Steepleton

Amanda Steepleton, Discerner

Amanda Steepleton, Discerner

Monday, October 29, 2012, marked our third session, entitled “Many Callings/ One Life,” of our “Following the Spirit” Discernment Series at St. Jane House. Discerning participant Amanda Steepleton was our featured story-teller, reflecting on her life and journey to date. She began her narrative with the following abbreviated list of vocations/ roles/ identities that she has known in her 28 year journey. We post it here as fodder for your own reflections. How are you called? What titles, roles, responsibilities would you record as part of your own vocations list?

Vocations/Roles/Identities:

Daughter

Student

Craigslist housemate

Spanish learner

Border/immigration educator

Advocate

Fundraiser

Adult

Friend

Volunteer

Writer

Dreamer

Meaning maker

Depth seeker

Truth speaker

Reader

Advisor

Dog lover

Biker

Servant

Employee/team member

Aspiring veterinarian

Child of God

Listener

Witness/accompanier

Traveler

Explorer

Campus Minister

Singer

Waiter (one who waits)

Two Poems: Two Prayers

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

As Sr. Katherine and I prepare for this evening’s “Following the Spirit” discernment series, these two poems strike me as beautiful prayers for all who discern/ reflect/ contemplate their journeys on this earth. Maybe they speak to you? Let me know your favorite line!

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Raymond Carver

——–

Eagle Poem

PuuPUTTo pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Joy Harjo

From: Beloved of the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude.

Join us for “The Line” Tuesday, 10/23, 6pm!

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

From Kelly Schumacher Fuller, “Movies with Jane” Series Coordinator

Join us at St. Jane House on Tuesday, October 23rd for a screening of The Line, a new documentary chronicling the face of poverty in America. This is the next in our series, “Movies with Jane” featuring thought provoking films that inspire and/or challenge us to become better people!

MOVIES WITH JANE
6:00pm – Doors open to St. Jane House, 1403 Emerson Ave N

6:30pm – Film begins, followed by discussion

Limited to 20 people. RSVP at the St. Jane House Facebook page, or to kelly.schumacher@gmail.com
When we hit capacity we will start a waiting list.


About the Film:
From Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Midgett, The Line is a groundbreaking documentary chronicling the new face of poverty in America. As Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis puts it, “more and more of our friends are in poverty — in the pews, in our workplaces — through no fault of their own, and they are slipping below the poverty level.”

In the Chicago suburbs, a single dad was laid off from his bank and is now a regular at the local food pantry, trying to make it by with three kids.

On Chicago’s west side, deep poverty creates a culture of violence and hopelessness.

On the Gulf Coast, a fisherman struggles post-BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina because environmental crises mean the loss of his livelihood.

In North Carolina, we see that hard work and determination don’t always mean success.

What does this mean for the future of our country? How do real-life stories change the narrative about poverty?

What can we do about it?

Snapshots from the Sisters: Title This!

On Friday, October 19, 2012, we welcomed eleven University of Wisconsin-Stout students for an overnight retreat at St. Jane House focusing on the quote from St. Francis de Sales: “Be who you are and be that well.” The following is an image of the group praying with Sr. Katherine Mullin before dinner. Care to provide a creative caption?

Prayer Circle at St. Jane House -- Care to provide a more creative caption? Enter one below in the comments section!

Prayer Circle at St. Jane House -- Care to provide a more creative caption? Enter one below in the comments section.

Photo by Brian Mogren, Director of the St. Jane House and Visitation Companion

“Be who you are, and be that well!”

St. Francis de Sales, Co-Founder of the Visitation Sisters

St. Francis de Sales, Co-Founder of the Visitation Sisters

Be who you are, and be that perfectly well. ~St. Francis de Sales

I believe this is the heart of Salesian Spirituality.  Simply to be who you are, be the person God made you to be.  The beauty of Salesian Spirituality is that it welcomes each and everyone of us to live for Christ exactly how we are, faults and all.  This is what draws me in so tightly to Salesian Spirituality.  We don’t have to be perfect to come to God, we just need to be willing to accept ourselves, all our talents and all our flaws.  St. Francis de Sales says it perfectly.  Be who you are, and be that perfectly well.  Don’t stress and agonize about all the flaws, embraced them, and live fully
in God’s glory!

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna

V+J.

Peace and Prayers,
Claire

Welcome UW-Stout Students! Retreat Time for Young Adults

Table at St. Jane House

— at St. Jane House.

The table is set to welcome eleven University of Wisconsin-Stout students for an overnight retreat inspired by the St. Frances de Sales quote “Be who you are and be that well.” Sister Katherine Mullin and Visitation Companion Brian Mogren will facilitate this retreat that will ask the question, “Who are we, really? And how are we uniquely called forth to make a difference in the world?” We will explore the concepts of True Self/False Self and accessing our True Selves through contemplative prayer/meditation. Looking forward to our time with these young people!

“Who are we, really? And how are we uniquely called forth to make a difference in the world?”


Interested in bringing a group to the St. Jane House for a retreat of this nature? We’d love to have you! Contact us and let’s talk…


-S. Katherine Mullin (Vocations Director):  katherinefmullin@gmail.com

Join us for our next “Books with Jane” installation: “Take This Bread” by Sara Miles

Kathryn Kaatz, Series Coordinator for "Books with Jane"

Kathryn Kaatz, Series Coordinator for "Books with Jane"

We are excited to share our Fall/ Winter selections for the ‘“Books with Jane” series at our Urban Spirituality Center  in north Minneapolis.  Join us every other month at the St. Jane House from 6pm -8pm to discuss books that inspire or challenge us to become better people. (Doors open at 6pm for refreshments and book discussion starts at 6:30pm.)

Here are the upcoming selections:
November 29: “Take this Bread: A Radical Conversion” by Sara Miles (details below.)
January 31: “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis
March 28: tbd
May 30: tbd

Watch the St. Jane House Facebook page for more information and to RSVP.

***

More on Take this Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles…

Early one morning, for no earthly reason, Sara Miles, raised an atheist, wandered into a church, received communion, and found herself transformed–embracing a faith she’d once scorned. A lesbian left-wing journalist who’d covered revolutions around the world, Miles didn’t discover a religion that was about angels or good behavior or piety; her faith centered on real hunger, real food, and real bodies. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church’s altar to be given away. Within a few years, she and the people she served had started nearly a dozen food pantries in the poorest parts of their city.

Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters–church ladies, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and thieves–all blown into Miles’s life by the relentless force of her newfound calling. Here, in this achingly beautiful, passionate book, is the living communion of Christ.

***

–Kathryn Kaatz, Northside Neighbor, Friend of St. Jane House

Structure and the Holy Spirit: Praying the Divine Office

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

holy_spirit_closeupThe thing is, I really like structure. I crave it. I am certain I’ve confessed this thought here before. As someone who left the structure and confines present in a 9-5 job years ago, I have long been grieving the gifts of a set schedule; I miss those routines laid out by someone else that I can simply step into. Teaching in the public high school two blocks from the monastery, I had the hourly bells to keep me grounded — to mark my day. As a creative, contemplative sort, whose ministerial work takes me into days without any set agenda, I can get anxious.

Where do I go? What do I do next? How do I prioritize my tasks? What is the next best loving thing I can do to serve my community? How do I honor my gifts and those of my peers? What responsibilities do I have and how do I keep focus?

Do any of these questions resonate with you?

Enter: the Divine Office.

Praying the Divine Office with the sisters — or the Liturgy of the Hours as it’s also called — on any given day, brings me back to center. The gifts afforded to me in this routine manner of convening with a community and chanting the psalms are beyond measure.

Morning Prayer to the Holy SpiritWe gather in the chapel. We sit. We face the cross. We face one another. We sing. We pause. We reflect on how the Word is speaking to us. We listen to our hearts. We listen to one another. We bring forward prayerful intentions. We give voice to the way that we have found Christ alive and in our midst, in our neighborhood and world. We hold critical and compassionate questions and thoughts for all who pray. We do this four times a day.

Stepping into the structure of this day, if even for an hour, reminds me of what’s possible when we pause and make room, tuning into the Holy Spirit and the Divine at work in our lives. As a Companion to the Visitation Sisters, this kind of prayer life is deeply life-giving to me;  I can hear more clearly my own heart beating when I come to the monastery and align myself with the larger world of faith, hope, and love. In turn, I can hear more clearly the world itself and all that desires healing, attention, action.

But this kind of prayer life, this monastic practice, takes discipline. And who among us has the capacity to live daily like this? Who among us is called to hold these prayerful routine practices for others to join? Is it you?

I invite you to pray.

*************************************************************************************************************************

To join the sisters for prayer:
Daily Prayer Schedule:
7 am: Morning Prayer at Fremont
Noon: Prayer (call 612-521-6113)
4:45 pm: Prayer (call 612-521-6113)
8:15 pm: Night Prayer at Girard

Thursdays are the Sisters’ shut-down day. No open prayer time.

“COURAGE!” — Inspiration from St. Francis de Sales and Claire Kranz

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna

The following post comes from Vis Alumna and St. Louis University student Claire Kranz. We are fortunate to share it here with you:

St. Francis de Sales, Co-Founder of the Visitation Sisters

St. Francis de Sales, Co-Founder of the Visitation Sisters

“Go courageously to do whatever
you are called to do.
If you have any fears, say to your soul:
”The Lord will provide for us.”
If your weakness troubles you,
cast yourselves on God, and trust in him.
Trust in him, depend on his providence;
fear nothing.

~St. Francis de Sales

God calls us to do many things.  Eventually, he has an occupation for us.  Maybe he is calling us to have a family or allow a monastic community to become our family.  Maybe he is calling us to volunteer or pray more deeply for someone who is struggling.  Right now, God may be calling us in simpler ways.  As students, we must write papers, study for tests, and participate in all that the college life may have to offer us.  Some of these callings, no matter how small, can seem so daunting. St. Francis de Sales reminds us tonight to face these with courage. Trust that God will provide for all that we are incapable of doing ourselves.

V+J.

Peace and Prayers,
Claire

Answering the Door: Some Thoughts on Planning and the Present Moment…

Mary Marg and Demetrius

Who is showing up in our lives? How are we embracing each being at the door?

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

“‘And when the door bell rings, you will get your agenda,’ says the Lord.” — Sr. Mary Frances Reis, vhm on the doorbell ministry at the Visitation Monastery north Minneapolis

I’m a planner. I like to plan things. Maybe you are like me? You take stock in naming dates and times and creating agendas that spell out tasks and goals. Perhaps you take comfort in plugging information into your smart phone calendars that informs your next step in the day?  In this world and life that seems so out of our control, perhaps planning provides a bit of security?  As a classroom teacher, we had protocols for such planning where we would think ahead in time and work backwards — identifying outcomes and naming “what success will look like” or “sound like” — and again, planning accordingly for it all.

You know the old adage, though: “if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” I think, “Indeed!”

I’m reflecting on this compulsion or desire to plan in the face of all that I have been navigating, personally, in the recent months.  I am committed to honoring the lessons that have shown up in birthing our son Xavi, experiencing his brief life, and looking for ways that God has been present in and through it all.  I find the lessons of letting go (of outcomes/ agendas/ life itself) — such a gift — and I recognize that this is part of what the dear Visitation Sisters have been teaching me, us, the world, day in and out for years…(centuries, even, right?)

It’s a lesson about living in the present moment.

The sisters pray the divine office four times a day, and they answer the door.  In and through it all, is their ministry. They are an urban monastery of prayer and presence.

***

When Jane, the ultrasound technician, was moving her sonographic wand over my expanded mid-section at our 21 week ultrasound, I couldn’t go anywhere but that room. When she reported that Xavi’s cerebellum wasn’t intact, that he had fluid around his kidneys, stomach and heart, and that there were several holes in this central blood-pumping organ, I didn’t think I could continue breathing.  I wanted nothing more but to disappear from that room, to dissolve into the air, seep out of that space and avoid the shattering news that my son was not going to live a long life. But in that room were a whole host of prayerful beings, a communion of holy men and women convened in my heart and present in the touch of my husband’s hand.  I kept hearing, “Be still and know that I am God….Be still and know.” Those words were balm as I tried to catch my breathe and be present to life as it was –and is– unfolding.

Life is not all neat and pretty and according to how we want it, eh? It’s not how we plan for it. Enter the embrace of the present moment.

***

Sr. Katherine and MoWhen the Visitation Sisters came up from St. Louis and over from Mendota to found the Minneapolis monastery, they were given this directive about their daily life: to answer the door. Sr. Mary Frances explains this in the following words, “when the door bell rings, you will get your agenda,’ says the Lord.” The sisters pray the divine office four times a day, and they answer the door.  In and through it all, is their ministry. They are an urban monastery of prayer and presence. They, like their co-founders Jane and Francis, are “Living Jesus!” in the ways they are each called to respond to the divine life in their midst. And we are all invited to do the same.

How do we answer our doors? Who is showing up in our lives? How are we embracing the being on the other side of that front-porch-knocking in all of his or her fullness? How do we receive the news born out by each messenger? How do we say, “yes” to the incredible uncertainties that life presents us with from moment to moment? What happens when the present moment makes us want to run and hide?

On this day, I hold these questions prayerfully in my heart. I pray, along with the Visitation Sisters, for the courage to answer the door, to rest in the present moment and be okay with the plans that God has for my life — and for all of ours’. I am glad you are here with me.