Monthly Archives: November 2012

Beyond Ordinary Time: Meeting in Rumi’s Field

"Let us go to the house of the Lord." Artwork: Psalm 122:1 by Okaybabs

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

Happy End of Ordinary Time! On this day after the Feast of Christ the King, after we have made our way through the celebrations that surround Thanksgiving — preparing our turkeys,  transforming and gobbling leftovers, watching enough football, playing our board games, or having enough conversation to keep us tided over till Christmas —  I’m giving thanks for today. I’m celebrating that one particular family member that drove me a bit nuts, the conversations that stretched me in my capacity to be compassionate, and for what now informs my heart, mind and spirit, as I lean toward the next liturgical season in our church. I am inviting a deeper sense of awe, a more inspired capacity to wonder, and opening up the door of my contemplative heart to welcome Advent.

In my prayer and meditation this day, I turn toward poetry. Conscious of the shift in time noted by the liturgical calendar, and what my spirit knows intuitively, I hold images of a God who reigns as Creator of the Universe; I think of a King who leads through service; I usher in the tender images of child resting in straw; I stretch to see that babe grown and nailed to a tree. And I ready my heart through prayerful poetry.

As we turn to this holy season of Incarnation, I invite you to join me in wonder, in awe, in a wordless space of contemplation and deep reverence for our God, our Universe, for Love.  I invite you to join me in this field, as described by 13th Century Sufi poet and mystic, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi:

I will meet you there.

I will meet you there.

I will meet you there.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.*

–Rumi

We are full. We empty ourselves. We soften. We surrender. We stop to rest and become conscious of what Love has invited us to see.

Will you join me in this field? Will you help me walk toward Advent with an ineffable sense of awe, a bewildered sense of joy, a consciousness informed by humility?

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*Coleman Barks on Rumi’s “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing” Hear translator Coleman Barks read this poem and talk about its meaning.

“I am thankful for YOU!” — Gratitude inspired by St. Francis de Sales

From Guest Blogger Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna, Student at St. Louis University

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna; St. Louis University Student

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna; St. Louis University Student

Marvel at God’s goodness. ~St. Francis de Sales

Thanksgiving week is finally here and from a school and work perspective, I could not be more ready.  But, as I sit here, admittedly listening to Christmas music, I realize I am not truly ready.  It almost seems trite.  Thanksgiving’s not about the food, it’s about God. Sometimes, that’s hard to completely soak up.  We are thankful for God and all He has done, like provide the food and football.  The truth is, there is so much more to God’s work than the food, but sometimes, it can be hard to recognize.

We can make lists of all the things we are thankful for, say prayers of thanksgiving for all we have received, but all that recognizes the past. What about the present moment?  How can we experience gratitude for moments as they happen, not hours later when it is time for bed?  How can we “marvel at God’s goodness” as St. Francis de Sales suggests?

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

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

Every Thanksgiving, we are surrounded by incredible people.  They are family, friends, children of God.  All who gather on Thanksgiving represent an everyday piece of God’s goodness on a special day that allows us time to actually take in their spirits.  Thursday, and all this week, take time to experience the love and joy of the people around them.  Realize moments of gratitude and savor them as they happen.  Marvel at the incredible life God has placed before you, and all the amazing people who have graced it.  Be Thankful. Be Grateful.  Be Marveled.

V+J
Peace,
Claire

Snapshots from the Sisters: Title This!

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

“One of the things I love about this time of year is finding a REAL fire burning and a hot cup of tea ready when I stop by to visit the Visitation Sisters. Oh, and great conversation, but that’s year round with any sister!”
(Sr. Mary Margaret is pictured below.
) —Brian Mogren.

Care to provide a creative caption?

Care to provide a creative caption?

Falling in Love…with God

Holding hands

"I am thankful for...."

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

I love falling in love. I keep thinking and ruminating on this. The falling-in-love-phenomenon that is my life, that is all of our lives, if we are so lucky. That tingly, beside-ourselves school-girl experience that makes you giggle and blush and rejoice in your daily tasks. I know Love. I know God.

These musings bubble up in my prayer as images: the delight in a child’s face, soft skin of chubby cheeks breaking into a smile as I enter the room; the touch of a hand on mine when I gasp during an action scene in the latest 007 film; the connectedness of a faith community circled in prayer reciting the Our Father — all eyes closed, lips moving, palms upright; the sight of a nun driving a mini-van en route to her home town — returning to attend a conference, but shepherding me along the scenic river route to the city where her call originated. In and through all of these, I recognize a benevolent God at work; a Creator firing my own imagination — my heart, mind, spirit.

I’m in love. I know God.

Counting my blessings this day, I keep giving thanks. On facebook, I note the phenomenon that is gratitude list-making  as we count our November days. I am tempted to start a litany of my own: “Ways I know God’s love as we all make our way toward Thanksgiving and the Advent Season.”

Here’s today’s attempt at such a gratitude list:
I am thankful for….Rumi’s poetry. Notes from Claire. Invitations from a Vis Companion. Lunch with Marsha. A joke told by Francois. Crusty homemade bread with butter. Sharp Vermont Cheddar. The wrinkled hand of a sister holding my own in the hospital. A recorded birthday message incorporating a strumming ukulele.

I’m in love. I know God.

***

In the quiet of your day, in your cubicle; as you bow your head before a meal; or before you lay your body down to rest, I invite you to reflect on the ways that you know God’s love. How do you find yourself falling, in deep, abiding, joyful love for your life– for the small ways that you know Love’s invitation to immerse yourself in a moment and say, “Thank you”?

Snapshots from the Sisters: Title This!

Photo by Brian Mogren, Visitation Companion

On Saturday,  November 10, 2012, the Visitation Sisters held their annual “Winter Weather Clothing Giveaway” –sponsored by the Mendota Heights Visitation Campus Ministry. Over 600 gently used coats were collected by girls from Visitation School and handed out at the Girard Avenue Monastery. (Thank you girls!) Here Lenzel, Sister Mary Frances, Vis Companion Christi, and Vis student don some funny hats. Care to provide a caption below?

Care to provide a creative caption?

Care to provide a creative caption?

To see more pictures from this day, check out the “Coat Giveaway Preparation” album at our facebook page.

Join us for “Miss Representation” – Tuesday, November 13, 6pm at St. Jane House

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

Kelly Schumacher Fuller

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

You’re invited to St. Jane House on Tuesday, November 13th for a screening of “Miss Representation,” a documentary which explores how the media and advertising grossly distorts who girls and women are, their sense of themselves, mens’ perceptions of who they are, and ultimately contributes to the under-representation of women in leadership roles in our country and world.

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.

Newest Miss Representation Trailer (2011 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection) from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

About the film:

Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.

Salesian inspiration: Miracles born from our simple humanity

From Guest Blogger Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna, Student at St. Louis University

Fr. Joe Krupp, OSFS

Fr. Joe Krupp, OSFS

God doesn’t call us to feed everyone, just to give Him everything we have.
~Fr. Joe Krupp, OSFS

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the National Salesian Conference here in St. Louis.  Among the speakers, was an oblate, Fr. Joe Krupp, who presented this interpretation of the gospel of the loaves and fishes.  Often times when we hear the story of Christ multiplying the loaves and the fishes, we focus on His miracle.  Yes, this miracle is incredible and we must never forget that through Christ, all things are possible.  But, where do we fall in the place of miracles?  Remember back in the beginning of the story, before Christ was even able to multiply the loaves and perform a miracle, there was a little boy.  This little boy brought his five loaves and two fish to Christ.  Some people might laugh at the little boy for even thinking that he could do anything for a hungry crowd of 2000 people, but this boy reminds us of what we really need to focus on.  God doesn’t ask us to feed the world, to bake 2000 loaves and catch 2000 fish.  That’s His job.  All God asks of us is to give Him everything we have.  Surrender all our gifts, talents, and joys to Christ.  The most brilliant part of this surrender is not the selflessness, but the miracle that God can create from our pure and simple humanity.  If we give God all we have, He will make us into all the world wants and needs.

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna, St. Louis University Student

Claire Kranz, Vis Alumna; St. Louis University Student

“If we give God all we have, He will make us into all the world wants and needs.”

This week, go, and give to God all that you can.  Remember that sometimes studying, going to class, having a good dinner, and keeping yourself healthy is all God needs you to give Him right now so that He can prepare you for the next stages of life.  Give God what you can.  Leave the rest up to Him.

V+J

Peace and Prayers,
Claire

Our Ever-Expanding Community!

Anna Dourgarian, 2012 -2013 VIP

Anna Dourgarian, 2012 -2013 VIP

From our Fall Newsletter:

Over four hundred years ago St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church and Founder with St. Jane de Chantal of the Order of the Visitation, wrote The Introduction to the Devout Life, a classic which has never been out of print over these hundreds of years!  In the quaint language of his day he wrote in the introduction:  “ …My intention (in this book)  is to instruct (in the devout life) such as live in towns and families and at court, and who by their condition are obliged to lead, as to the exterior, a common life.” It is often commented that Francis was a Vatican II man.  His strong conviction that every person is called to union with God was articulated for posterity in two basic tenets of the Council: The Universal Call to Holiness & The Age of the Laity.

Jody Johnson, VC Coordinator

Jody Johnson, VC Coordinator

As the Church celebrates the 50th anniversary of Vatican Council II, we, the Visitation Sisters of North Minneapolis, dedicate this issue of our newsletter to the hundreds of lay women, men and children who have partnered with us to root the gentle, peaceful, loving presence of the Heart of Jesus in the City.  Let us continue to “build the City of God!”  We invite you to hear from a few of our lay friends….

To read more about Engaged Lay Members:

Marsha West 2012 MIE Participant

Marsha West, 2012 MIE Participant

Introducing Anna Dourgarian,
Visitation Internship Program  (VIP) (Click to read…)

Introducing Jody Johnson,
Coordinator of Visitation Companions (VC)
(Click to read…)

Introducing Marsha West,
Monastic Immersion Experience (MIE) Participant
(Click to read…)