Showing posts from September, 2010

How Not To Start a Religious Order

So, one of my tasks this year is to read a lot about the Society of the Sacred Heart and its history and spirituality.  I've just started reading Madeleine Sophie Barat: A Life by Phil Kilroy, and I'm up to the point where she meets Philippine Duchesne. (Click here to get it from I'm struck by the significant difficulties that the Society faced at the very beginning.  First and foremost:  the French Revolution forced much of their work underground.  Even more than that, Sophie and Philippine both wanted to join religious orders that already existed (the Carmelites and the Visitandines) but could not because of the political climate.  Perhaps, if life in France in the late 18th century had not been so tumultuous, the Society of the Sacred Heart would never have formed! Other problems plagued the "little Society" from the beginning:  associations with priests and bishops who were under suspicion by the political and/or ecclesiastical authoritie


Today's first reading is from Proverbs 30:5-9: Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver. Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; Lest, being full, I deny you, saying, "Who is the LORD?" Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God. I take this to be a reading about simple living, though other things come into it too.  The wisdom here seems to say that if we live simply and have just what we need without extra, it will be easier to recognize the presence of God in our lives.  Having just moved, I know my world is not as simple as I would like it to be--I have more things, more books, more food, more than I need.  Americans in general live less simply than others, and I am undoubtedly American. 

Official Opening of the Noviceship Year

Yesterday, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we celebrated the opening of my year of being a novice!  All of the Religious of the Sacred Heart who live in this area, along with some from out of town, joined us for Mass, followed by supper.  Our provincial, Paula, gave a reflection and presented me with a pin carrying the symbol of the Society. It might seem strange to celebrate such a happy occasion on the feast dedicated to sorrow.  But the Society's dedication to "being the heart of God in the world" forces us to see, feel, experience the sorrows of all people in our world, and even of our world itself.  Just as the Mother of Jesus felt his pain and experienced sorrow out of her love for him, so we are called to feel the pain of those around us, of those we love.  Right now, for me, it's a call to awareness of what is happening in our world and how I might help those who are suffering. The celebration last night was accompanied by an outpouring of love for

I'm a Novice!

My new neighbor and friend It's official!  I moved to the novitiate a week ago, and I am a novice! Amid all the chaos of moving, packing, unpacking, finding my way around in a new city, it has taken a while to sink in (and I'm sure it will continue to sink in). What does it mean to be a novice?  Well, I'm still learning that part, but I know that it means I am given more time to spend with God in prayer, and with my community.  It also means that I will be learning about religious life both at home (where we will talk about the Society of the Sacred Heart and how we live in it) and in a class with other novices. In prayer today, I was reading the alternate first reading, from Paul's letter to the Romans: Brothers and sisters:  We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to God's purpose. I know in my heart that I am called by God, and that helps me through the challenges of a new city and a new way of life. Blessin