Author Archives: Melissa

Visitation Resident Lay Community: “Phase Two” Under Way

Phase II Lay Community Conversation Participants: March, 2015

by S. Mary Margaret McKenzie, VHM

During “Phase One” we gathered listening groups from our various constituents. As we listened, the Sisters’ own call to foster an intentional, residential Visitation community of the laity was more clearly defined by the dedication of the laity to strengthening the church today. The multiple, practical questions we heard in considering the possible lived-experience has guided us into “Phase Two.”

“Come as you are to live communally in north Minneapolis.”

Those who had participated in our listening sessions and who seemed open and interested without yet moving to commitment, were invited back to help formulate “Phase Two.” Beginning in December 2014, there have been fourteen who gather every other Sunday afternoon from 2:00- 4:00. These individuals are mature, experienced, gifted and diverse in age and background. They seem to share easily and in depth with one another, and have increasingly begun to show leadership. They have already expressed interest in what and where living together would look like. Their non-negotiables are family, pets, no-pets when there is allergy, and important dietary needs. After talk- ing about the essentials of commu- nity they decided to be guided by the Seven Essentials that the Sisters have gleaned from the experience of living their Constitutions in the modern world: prayer, community, recreation, silence, presence, conversion and hospitality.

What a privilege and blessing it is to come together to flesh out the legacy of Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal, sharing with optimism and joy the good news of the Gospel that God’s love is at home with our humanness in the life of Jesus and with us as we “Live Jesus!”

 

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This is reprinted from our Winter 2015 newsletter. To read the initial invitation and proposal, click here.

Operation: Easter Basket Delivery

Christ among us, or, a Lenten Lunch with David

by Melissa Borgmann-KiemdeVisitation Companion

“May we, like God, never tire of forgiving, of accompanying those who need forgiveness on a path to dignity and wholeness.”- Rev. Denis J. Madden, Baltimore Archdiocese*

On this Lenten journey together…

I think it was Sister Karen who answered the door. We had all just finished noon prayer and convened in the dining room of Fremont House to have lunch, when Sister appeared and, beside her, a man in his early to mid-fifties, sporting a fleece jacket and a bright smile.

“This is David. He’s joining us for lunch.”

Our table, surrounded by white community members who were pausing to enjoy a Friday lenten meal of vegetable soup, cheese and bread, was now rounded out by a brown guest who was, save for his name, a stranger among us.

“How did you find us?” Katherine asked, making way for him to be seated at the table.

David told us of a mutual friend on the northside who pointed him our direction, and there was an immediate, collective nod — a knowing.

It’s good when friends point Jesus our way. It’s part of our ministry of prayer and presence to feed the hungry. To see Christ in our midst. To offer Jesus a bit to eat and a warm place to rest his feet.  

Mary Frances went to make him a grilled cheese, and Suzanne dished up a bowl of the last serving of her homemade soup. We listened and learned from the spoken words – and the silence – of our Lenten guest’s journey.

“I just got out of prison two weeks ago, after a three year stint. I’m trying to find my family.” David told us where he was staying; he confided that his mother had died while he was in jail, and shared his desire to re-connect with his people. He wanted us to pray for him, for his courage to stay strong, stay out of trouble. He seemed grateful for the hot food.

I sat at the opposite end of the room and was in awe. Who was this man? Where did he come from? How could he trust us? Were I in his shoes, would I be able to confide in a room of strangers, to disclose such vulnerable truths?

At Mary Frances’ instigation, (or was it the Holy Spirit’s nudging?) we circled around him. We laid our hands on him. And we prayed. We prayed the spontaneous prayer of God’s love, of salvation, of grace, of our Lord’s mercy. We prayed for David. We prayed for ourselves. We gave thanks for his presence and the reminder of Christ’s forgiveness, of His promise of dignity and wholeness. We spoke words, we whispered intentions to ourselves. I thought of David’s mother, her soul in Heaven; his family, in whatever far reaches of this city or world they lived. I imagined, for a split second this formerly incarcerated man, this returning citizen, and his family, all in one embrace.

I touched his shirt sleeve and the back of his hand, and thought, “This is Jesus. He’s right here in the room.”

Lent is a time of of acknowledging our humanity, of seeing the way we sin – or separate ourselves from God. It’s a time of walking humbly together on this path of reconciliation and new life. As we pray for David, this day,  we pray for ourselves and for the world; we pray for the ways our Christian journeys are bound up in one another and our salvation seeks to recognize and live our communion with God. We pray for our restored reunions to each other and the Loving God that made us all.

 

 

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*From “Prison Addiction” published by America Magazine.

To read more on our ministry of prayer and presence, click here.

 

SisterStory: S. Katherine Mullin reflects on knowing our neighbors

Sister Katherine Mullin VHM has been featured on SisterStory, an ongoing story of National Catholic Sisters Week, aimed at broadening awareness of Catholic sisters across the nation.

This SisterStory snapshot features S. Katherine reflecting on an experience in north Minneapolis and coming to know God through a neighbor. This is the third in a series of these videos recorded by Gina Giambruno at St. Catherine University.

Is knowing your neighbors important to you?

 

You can also view all of the videos of Sr. Katherine here:

https://www.sisterstory.org/gina-giambruno/sister-katherine-mullin-vhm-fall-2014-snapshot-collection

SisterStory: S. Katherine Mullin reflects on Discernment

Sister Katherine Mullin VHM has been featured on SisterStory, an ongoing story of National Catholic Sisters Week, aimed at broadening awareness of Catholic sisters across the nation.

This SisterStory snapshot features S. Katherine reflecting on her call to come to north Minneapolis, after entering at Visitation Mendota. This is the second in a series of these videos recorded by Gina Giambruno at St. Catherine University.

On Discernment and Ministry

 

You can also view all of the videos of Sr. Katherine here:

https://www.sisterstory.org/gina-giambruno/sister-katherine-mullin-vhm-fall-2014-snapshot-collection

Sister Katherine featured on SisterStory!

Sister Katherine Mullin VHM has been featured on SisterStory, an ongoing story of National Catholic Sisters Week, aimed at broadening awareness of Catholic sisters across the nation.

SisterStory

Who are Catholic sisters? What are their lives like? What impact have they had over the course of American history? What difference do they make today?

The intention of Sister Story is to demystify religious life – the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience, the experience of living in community, the desire to belong totally to God – by sharing the stories of Catholic sisters. They do this by connecting sisters with young women and sharing their impressions in an authentic, first-person 20-something voice.

During her senior fall semester at the St. Catherine University, Gina Giambruno spent time each month visiting with Sr. Katherine Mullin. The following video is one snapshot from those conversations. Stay tuned for more!

On knowing God’s will within…

You can also view all of the videos of Sr. Katherine here:

https://www.sisterstory.org/gina-giambruno/sister-katherine-mullin-vhm-fall-2014-snapshot-collection

 

Following the Spirit Discernment Series is Back! Register Today….

Thinking about your career? Wondering how God is calling you in this new year? Contemplating your greatest gifts and passions? Longing to make a move?  Unpacking a season of change, struggle, or suffering? Or simply desiring quiet in a community to be still with the concept of vocation? Join us for this series.

Following the Spirit:

A small group at St. Jane House.

A small group at St. Jane House.

Following the Spirit is a five-part series led by Visitation Sister Katherine Mullin of north Minneapolis; Visitation Companion Melissa Borgmann-KiemdeFr. Ernie Martello of the Crosier Brothers and Fathers of Onamia, MN; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Pastor, Rev. Karen Wight Hoogheem of Faith Lutheran in Coon Rapids; and Sister Jill Underdahl and Jennifer Tacheny, from the Sisters of St. Joseph/ Celeste’s Dream community in St. Paul.*

Anchored in the rich tradition of discernment resources, each session will offer a different form of prayer, feature a vocation story, and include time in small groups to unpack participants’ discernment journeys, focusing on vocation. Attendance at all five discernment evenings is strongly encouraged.

The Visitation Community is happy to partner with the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research using their adapted curriculum material for the series.

For more information and to register today, click here.

 

*Collaborating Communities:

sisters_of_st_joseph_of_carondelet_logo crosier FaithLogo4Windsock Logo Resized

The Work of Christmas Begins…

by Melissa Borgmann-KiemdeVisitation Companion

It’s a shut down day at the monastery. The guests have gone home. We’ve bustled — been on the move in a monastic fervor this past Advent and ongoing Christmas season. We’ve rung in the New Year.  And now we rest. Or now, according to poet, Civil Rights activist and theologian, Dr. Howard Thurman, the work of Christmas really begins….

This piece has traction in my heart this day. Perhaps it will speak to you, too? I’m posting it as text, and in a special a cappella version arranged by Dan Forrest. 

The Work of Christmas Begins.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

–by Dr. Howard Thurman

Contemplating the creche: What do we cradle into being?

What are you cradling?

What are you cradling?

by Melissa Borgmann-KiemdeVisitation Companion

We passed a wooden cradle lined with a soft, quilted comforter from person to person, speaking of our pasts, our passions and what brought us to the room. On this first Sunday of Advent, there were 16 of us gathered alongside the Visitation Sisters at the monastery on Fremont Avenue north in Minneapolis.

The cradle, built for a small doll, moved from one set of hands to another. This child’s play toy, evoking imagination and care, was empty, save the blue and white checkered lining. It rest open, waiting, ready to receive a small babe, a doll, perhaps. Set beneath a thatched roof, wooden structure, it could serve as a creche for the Christ child. In each hand, it was open to receive our words,  our dreams manifesting, even being born in our speaking….

“What small thing are you longing to cradle and bring before the world, in a small, hidden, holy way? Where are you saying, ‘yes’ to Love being born?”

The Sisters extended an invitation to create a Resident Lay Community alongside them in north Minneapolis and, on this particular December night in Advent, convened a room of discerning adults who were hearing a “yes” in their own hearts and minds to this holy opportunity.

Hail Mary, 1950, Frank Kacmarcik

Hail Mary, 1950, Frank Kacmarcik

With each passing of the cradle, a profound stillness and sacred “yes” seemed apparent:

YES, I’m interested.

Yes, I’m open.

Yes, I’m seeking.

Yes, your will be done.

It was as if Mary, Christ’s mother, was in our midst….

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We ask for continued prayers as this community, vision, dream, gestates and makes way to birth. Not unlike the Christ child being born, there is a faithful certainty and hope, expectation and dreams, all connected with this labor, with this journey,  with this longing and promise by God to become.

In this Advent Season, we invite you to consider your own prayerful pondering and meditation on the Christ Child’s crib: Still empty, what do you desire to see in that space of comfort and simultaneous discontent? What small thing are you longing to cradle and bring before the world, in a small, hidden, holy way? Where are you saying, “Yes” to Love being born?

We can all pray for one another, perhaps?

LIVE+JESUS!

 

Snapshots from the Sisters: Advent Edition

Advent and Incarnation Blessings! We are so blessed at this time of the year with the prayerful presence of so many friends, families, and volunteers, as we go about our Merry-Christmas-Peace-making-Prayer, that remind us of the journey to Christ’s birth and God among us.

Advent at the Monastery. Anna and Laura Presents

Photo #2: Anna and Laura Dourgarian dropping off Christmas presents from the staff at TempWorks Software. (Two friends from countless organizations and community networks that generously donate to our community at this time of year.)

Here are a couple photos highlighting our Advent to date. We invite you to write a creative caption for any of these photos below in our comment section.

 

Advent Christmas Cookies with SS

Photo #1: Sr. Suzanne Making Christmas Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Prayer and Santa Party

Photo#3: Sr. Karen leading prayer in the chapel at the Christmas prayer and Santa Party.

 

Christmas Story Vis Seniors

Photo #4: Vis School Seniors read from the Christmas story as Sr. Katherine and children look on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Visit our Facebook page and Flickr albums for more pics from this season.