S Suzanne Marie Kush,former novice director and currently director of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern, Saint Bonaventure University, presented eight classes from Sunday, April 28 thru Wednesday, that prayerfully reflected and integrated the collective mind and heart knowledge of the evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity and obedience.
The classes with Sister Suzanne were very enlightening and filled with opportunity to discuss practical application of the vowed life as consecrated women. Sister explained the deeper meaning of vowing chastity, poverty, and obedience. Her comparisons to St. Francis, who lived a virtuous life and Blessed Mary Angela, who lived the Franciscan life in 19th century Poland, deepened my appreciation of our heritage. St. Francis lived a life propelled by virtues, namely humility, simplicity, prudence, obedience and patience. It is by his example of right living or in right relationship that I am called to be vulnerable, to allow others to see my weakness and to see what is beyond me. In right loving, I am called to be compassion and mercy and an example of total love, like that expressed in the charism of Blessed Mary Angela. Sister Suzanne reviewed parts of Vita Consecrata wherein Pope John Paul II points to the story of the Transfiguration which calls me to turn to the Lord with a radical commitment to conversion, personal transformation. In living the intrinsically connected vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the Trinitarian love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each giving to the other continuously, fortifies my commitment to living the vows. ~Sister Rita
How am I to live a Vita Consecrata? I live each day in union with Jesus through prayer and meditation, forgiving as he has forgiven me. I listen with my heart and discern God’s will and ask for the courage to turn to the Lord by opening to the lepers that cross my path and all the while opening to God’s will as it unfolds before me. It is evident that the vow of chastity calls me to a life of compassionate love towards God and neighbour. I see people as God sees them. In my vow of poverty I aspire to rid myself of anything that comes between me and my sisters and that is self-serving, and in my vow of obedience, I remain open to that which God places before me. ~ Sister Esmeria
SM Lauren Lapinski heightened the sisters’ awareness of today’s consumer society from May 2 -3. She presented topics including advertisement tactics, subliminal messaging, manipulation, and desensitization of personal and communal conscience. Sister Lauren invited the sisters to deepen their commitment to be disciples of the Lord and to live their vows faithfully in the 21st century, making their response to love like that of Joshua, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!”
Please pray for the Second Novitiate as they begin their international pilgrimage.