Constant Conversion

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From L to R (First row): SM Aquinas Szott, S Barbara Marie Brylka, SM Juanita Szymanski; (Second row):  SM Monica Anne Blazuk, S Maria Louise Edwards,
S Heather Marie Deneen, and S Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay; (Third row):  S Esmeria Marie Bastos, S Grace Marie DelPriore, and S Dong Hong Marie Zhang

During the gathering of sisters in temporary profession at Maryville Retreat Center in Holly, MI, this past weekend, SM Aquinas Szott challenged the sisters to integrate the ideal and the real of religious life.

She told them, “Our Franciscan life is one of constant conversion, but it takes time to shift even slightly. The challenge of conversion is to face the truth of ourselves.”

Sister Aquinas outlined five “Agreements” or tools to help:

1)     To be “impeccable” with words – impeccable meaning without sin

2)     Don’t take anything personally – we each speak from our opinions and assumptions, not true knowing

3)     Don’t make assumptions – we all make assumptions that turn into beliefs, that then spread as gossip

4)     Always do your best – do everything to the best of your ability. Being okay with that leads to happiness

5)     Be skeptical, but learn to listen. Question the source to understand what a person meant.

Further on in her presentation, Sister Aquinas explained, “Metanoia begins when each of us has a better understanding of who we are. This helps us to accept ourselves as we are, then we are better able to love the gifts of each other.  This is community at its best.”

Sister Aquinas shared a TED talk presented by Danny Graham who tells stories about his experiences as a litigator and father and the unsuspected but profound lessons that can come from the least likely moments and people.  In his talk, he develops the idea that those least like us have the most to teach us (about ourselves).

To watch the presentation, click here.

Sister Aquinas also shared impeccable words of wisdom from Dr. Maya Angelou:

I am Human   Nothing human can be alien to me.

Just Do Right   Do your best to live what you preach and teach.

Rainbow in the Clouds  Carry with you everyone who has ever been kind to you.

Love Liberates  Love liberates us to life

(click on each title above to view a YouTube presentation)

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