Saturday, April 12, 2008

Vocation Excusion to Points South

Visiting for Vocations

St. Mary's Elementary
and High School,
Annapolis, Maryland

Redemptorist Retreat
House, Hampton, Virginia

If you have been disappointed in not finding new posts to this blog for quite a number of days, no need to be concerned that things were amiss. Having recently been appointed Vocation/Formation Director for my community, I received an invitation to participate in a vocation weekend for young women at a Redemptorist Retreat House in Hampton, Virginia. In order to break up the travel and maximize benefit I stopped at the wonderful CSsR parish of St. Mary's in Annapolis, Virginia and my way down and on the way back. Below this post you will find a slide show including pictures of people and places.

Everyone I met was most welcoming and the hospitality was terrific. All the youngsters from the fourth grade in St. Mary's Elementary School to the Juniors and Seniors at the High School were attentive and interested. I found the young ladies on the retreat to be very mature and thoughtful although they were just about to complete their first year of high school. And the Hispanic Youth Group had the patience to listen even though I needed a translator!

This was an unusual enterprise for a contemplative nun. Although extroverted by nature and accustomed to dealing with children of all ages, I found myself craving time apart, the monastic routine, silence and solitude. After a day of visiting high school classes and speaking about our life, about listening to that little voice that may speak in the head or the heart and following its direction, and about the love of Jesus Christ, I fled to the beautiful Perpetual Adoration Chapel of St. Mary's Church.

ALL - students, teachers, administrators, directors of religious education, campus ministers and visitors to the school - were delighted to see a nun in their territory. The vocabulary of religious life, of vocation, of call is no longer common to these young people. They do not know the stories of the great founders and foundresses. I found a great lack of what might be called Catholic cultural literacy.

I came home determined to urge the priests and religious (especially apostolic active religious) to get out there, to make the connection by visiting schools, religious education programs, youth groups, parent organizations, etc. Your life may depend on it.

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