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Archive for October, 2008

A bit of wisdom

Here are some words from the Maxims of Perfection by Fr. Jean-Pierre Médaille that I really need to hear for myself:

Whoever lets God act in him/her, without too much interference from self, will accomplish a great many things in a short time and never lose peace of heart” (M.P. 7:5).

As you can tell by my “Twitter” sidebar, I’ve been up to my eyeballs trying to make a dent in the piles of grading and course prep I have, or at least trying not to fall further behind. A brutal travel schedule, combined with a faculty hiring process, applying for promotion, and a number of medical check-ups and tests make for a dizzying pace these days.

So how am I doing? Well, amazingly, I don’t feel as though I’ve lost my inner peace, at least at the deepest level. I am a bit scatterbrained on the surface level, but so grateful that I am not falling into the downward spiral of anxiety and depression that gripped me at this time last year. It is true that I am snowed under with work, and there are days when there’s no chance to chip away at the backlog. But, all things considered, I am in reasonably good spirits, and not too cranky with my students.

As for accomplishing a great many things in a short time, well, that’s another story. I suspect if I make a strong commitment to getting enough sleep on a consistent basis, that piece might just fall into place. The secret is trusting that if I attend to this important balance in my life, God will do in me what is needed to be more productive.

It’s all about balance, no? God, help me to get out of the way and let you work!

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A wonderful resource!

The man behind the CSSJs

The man behind the CSSJs

In a previous post, I was quoting from an old — and I mean OLD — Catholic Encyclopedia on the common roots of the Sisters of St. Joesph and Christian Life Communities in the Sodality movement. The seeming errors in the sources I was finding regarding our Jesuit founder had me foraging for more information.

Imagine my delight when a CSJ friend from the London, ON CSJs told me about this online course on the spirituality of Fr. Jean-Pierre Médaille. So now you can learn for yourself, if so inclined, about the flavor of spirituality that we Sisters of St. Joseph bring to the table.

There’s a lot more I want to say about this, but prudence dictates that operating as I have today on only 2.5 hours of sleep, plus a flight leaving in about 8 hours, I had better hit the hay.

If you join the course, I’d be interested in hearing what you think about it.

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A humbling experience

Well, perhaps demoralizing or humiliating is a better word than humbling…shall I explain?

Part of my dearth or posts these days is due to my travel schedule, but not to worry – this past weekend was a fun trip. I spent the weekend with a group of good friends, all women religious from various congregations, just spending time enjoying each other’s company. Praying and playing, supporting and reflecting, comforting and encouraging…

So here’s the link to the title of this post. On Saturday, 7 of us went bowling. I had not done so since a while before my back problems got really bad and I had to have surgery 3 years ago. Within a few frames, we were laughing so hard at the sheer number of gutter balls being thrown, that the manager asked if we wanted him to put up the bumper rails. A blow to my pride, but I went along with the majority on this.

But wait – that’s not the worst of it! Soon after we began bouncing balls off the rail for better scores, a group came in to use the rest of the lanes. And yes, we realized that an established league would naturally have better bowlers than us, being that all of us bowl very rarely. But here is what you have to consider – this was a blind bowling league! These bowlers used hand rails on the lane approaches to orient themselves with respect to the gutters. Then after they released their ball, a sighted spotter would call out to them what the ball was doing and what pins fell so that they knew how to adjust for the next ball. It was pretty impressive how well some of them were doing.

And no, I wasn’t really demoralized that blind bowlers were doing better than I. Just thought it a fun thing to blog about – I rather enjoy self-deprecating humor…

Safe journeys to my colleague Euan, an Australian who had a stopover here in Detroit on his way to the Frontiers in Education Conference. We had lunch, and he hung out with me in class today with my freshmen.

I’m totally exhausted right now and have to keep myself going, because tonight is my second installment of my “God’s Grounds” conversation group. I probably won’t be home until 10:00. Hope you all had a great weekend!

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My new venture

This past Monday, I held the first weekly session of God’s Grounds. I’ve been wanting to have some meaningful interactions with students in an informal setting beyond the topics of transistors, eigenvectors, and such technical matters. For our first gathering, nine of us (7 students, myself, and another faculty member) got together to talk about the quote attributed to Pedro Arrupe, SJ, that I wrote about in this post. An excellent turnout for the very first time, especially falling as it did during midterm exam week. It makes my Mondays even longer than they already are, but once I decided to leave the computer at work and just come home to sleep, I felt quite energized today, even though I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

If anything, I’m probably even more behind this week with work than I was last week. We’ve begun phone interviews with candidates for an open faculty position – these and the related pre- and post-interview discussions with my colleagues have eaten up a fair amount of time. And I really can’t tell you where the rest of my time has gone. Seems a bit like a whirlwind these days.

I promise…once I am able to begin gaining ground on the pile-up of work, I’ll be more regular with my blog posts. In the meantime, you get to have longer breaks from my ruminations…

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Cute Screen Cleaner

Here’s a cute and funny way to “clean” your computer screen. Well, anyway, with all the depressing news about the economy, it doesn’t hurt to have a little chuckle.

I’m headed to the mothership tomorrow for Silver Jubilee and a meeting, both on Saturday. I can hardly believe it will be me celebrating 25 years next year!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Cute Screen Cleaner“, posted with vodpod

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From the New Yorker magazine:

I know it’s a cartoon, but it is sobering to know that this is becoming the reality for more and more of my brothers and sisters. May our nation and the world come together in this crisis instead of pointing fingers and tearing each other down.

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All is One

I’ve been corresponding with a colleague in Dublin who has been asking me questions about connections between the Jesuits and the Sisters of St. Joseph. His followup questions have sent me on a bit of a quest to think more deeply about our origins.

The obvious connection is that our first six sisters were brought together by a Jesuit priest. So there is a strong Jesuit flavor to our spirituality. However, there is also a Salesian flavor to us. It’s not clear to me how Fr. Medaille came to the principles of St. Francis de Sales, but perhaps he was familiar with the Visitation sisters, who were founded earlier by de Sales and Jane de Chantal. In any case, our consensus statement describes our life stance as follows:

an orientation towards excellence (Ignatian)
tempered by gentleness, peace, and joy (Salesian)

Now, in my reading about Fr. Medaille, I’m seeing that he was really active in the sodality movement, which is the origin of the modern day Christian Life Community (CLC) movement.

From the New Advent web site’s Catholic Encyclopedia:

These pious sodalities, however, lacked certain elements which Father Medaille regarded as necessary for the stabliity of his work. Their members, although devoted, were hampered in many ways and by many ties in the exercise of their zeal. Father Medaille resolved, therefore, to start a congregation of nuns who should give themselves up wholly and unreservedly to all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Jean Paul Medaille

So it appears that in a sense, the Sisters of St. Joseph could be viewed as “CLC on steroids”?

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