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A Salesian Vocation: A Very Abridged Version

The diocese of Paterson wants to have a mini autobiography of us in formation, so I have decided to share the paragraph I typed up just to give a very brief glimpse of my vocation story thus far.  The story can be expanded many pages I am sure, but this is the space we had to work with.  Read and enjoy!

Did you know that God can find you in the bathroom?  I always figured that God could do whatever He wanted to get a hold of whomever He wanted.  You see, I had never actively searched out religious life in such a way that I was sure it was my call in life.  My sophomore year of college was when I started to be open to whatever God wanted me to do in terms of vocation: married life, single life or religious life. This began from seeing a sister wearing a habit and developing a curiosity of what it would be like to live that life.  Over the years, my interest and curiosity stuck with me though I never did much about it, except the rare occasion that I would talk with my friends.  Graduation from college came along and I moved myself the following year to New Jersey from Minnesota to do something I love.  I was the volunteer intern at a retreat center that I discovered, via God, on the eleventh page of a Google search.  It turned out to be the perfect place for me!   When November came along, the director and I with four youth headed out for the National Catholic Youth Conference.  During my time there that weekend, I had my encounter with God in another very odd place.  While on my way out of the bathroom, I started to talk with two young women.  We stood in the bathroom sharing things about our lives.  As I was very quick to discover, they were a part of the Salesian Sisters.  When they first mentioned their apostolate to the youth, my mind and heart were spinning.  It was exactly what my life was filled with already.  I worked at a camp many summers, was currently working at a family retreat center and loved my faith immensely.  All I could think was “no, no, no, no, no!”  It was real and it made me excited, yet scared.  I tend to say that it took many visits to the convent, only two and half hours from where I was working, and a lot of encouragement from friends to make my decision to enter.   The truth be told after I look back on the experience, it was at that moment of first meeting the Salesians in the bathroom that my heart knew this was something I needed to try.  I guess I could still say that God worked through my surroundings to keep me on the path He wanted even though deep down he hooked me right away.  My prayer each day is that, God-willing, I am where I am supposed to be.  What else can anyone do but live each day to its fullest for the glory of God?

Inspired?  I am still inspired by my own story when I read it again! 🙂

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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Living Salesian

 

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Fearless: Reflections of Life

I want to share a song that was another TEC theme song, this one for HV 61.  It kind of popped up in my radar of listening to music, so I decided to share!  This is the official video for “Fearless” by Building 429.

No I don’t understand
And I can’t comprehend
This power that draws me to you
But I know for the cross
I’ll consider it all lost
In an effort to tell of the truth

That the world may know
That the world may know
You have been heaven sent to us

(Chorus)
I’ll be fearless for You
I’ll be fearless for You
Take me I’m Yours
I’ll be fearless for You

All the times that I’ve failed
When my doubt has prevailed
These are the moments I’m giving to you
Cause I can’t be ashamed
No I can’t fear the pain
When it comes time to be living proof

So the world may see
That the captives are free
‘Cause you have been heaven sent to us

(Chorus)

Unwilling to bend
Unwilling to break
And Headstrong I’ll stand
No matter what it takes

(Chorus)

Fearless.  How is it that we can become fearless for God and all that He wants for us?  As I try to prepare myself for entering formation, I again am brought to think, and think lots.  Perhaps I ponder more than I should but it is how I am.  As the time draws near for me to leave, my heart pounds more and more with the desires that it holds.  That leads me to wonder if we can ever have everything that heart desires?  If we follow God and His plan for us, then won’t we have everything we need?  Deciphering what I am to do in this life I have here is a task that is difficult to complete.  In my life I have so called “failed” many times.  Be that in school, my health, or standing for who I am.  Looking back on my life, I need to be able to give those failed moments to God and pray that they leave me with but the lessons that I have learned.

So being proof to the world of God’s love for us.  How am I really supposed to be doing this in my life?  In recent one would say of me, entering formation with the Salesians Sisters in hopes of becoming one of them, a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians (FMA – the formal name/abbreviation).  When I first discovered this new found possibility, I was so ecstatic and excited more than most things I have ever felt in my life.  Religious life, living for God, ministering to the youth, the chance of doing retreats, and still staying connected to those I consider my family.  The thing is, is it what I really feel in my heart as the place I can be who I am supposed to be.  I know I am called to something greater and better but I can not tell if this is it or not.  Could this just be that I am waiting for some feeling that I want to have that tells me clear as day the path I am to choose?  Surely in my life does not give me clear answers, but rather has God meeting me in places such as the the 11th page of a Google search or the bathroom at a huge Catholic youth conference.  The consensus against many people, including myself, is that I just need to go into this and see what happens and what God tells me about this time I will be in formation, however long that is.

I can never understand what draws me to where I have been and where I go, the good and the bad.  I can only hope that the good things that God calls me too I will realize and step into with complete faith.  There are many things in my life that mean the world to me as well as are things that my life would be incomplete without.  How do I hold onto them?  I need to make sure I am balanced, unwilling to bend or break from the things that make me who I am.

So how do we go into the world demanding so much and following the one who made us?  “Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:30) of what is out there.  I need to be who I am and trust that God will show me His ways for me.  Community is a important part of me life, so I ask you all to pray for me as I pray for you (especially my TEC family and closest of friends).  With me, let’s strive to become one thing for God.  Fearless.

 
 

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Many Salesian Facts

I have decided to put a bunch of facts that I have discovered about the Salesians in one post.  The ones that are here are all ones that have appeared randomly throughout my blogging, so you may have seen them before.  Enjoy!

In the USA, this religious order I am looking at is commonly known as the Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco.  More formally, they are called the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, FMA.

FMA is the Italian name for the sisters.  It stands for Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice (Daughters of Mary Help of Christians) which was the name Don Bosco wanted for his Religious.  In English speaking countries, they are referred to as Salesian Sisters.

The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA, aka Salesian Sisters) are the largest female religious order in the world.  They are approximately 14,430, the next order of women down is 9,693!  You can find these and more statistics in the Catholic Almanac 2010 on page 487.

“SALESIAN” – The title was chosen by St. John Bosco because of the esteem he had for St. Frances de Sales, and his desire that his Sisters, Priests, and Brothers imitate the kind and gentle ways of this saint.

St. Mary Mazzarello (1837-1881) worked with St. John Bosco (also known as Don Bosco) and found the Salesian Sisters in 1872.

The formal name for the Salesian Sisters is Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.  This title for the Blessed Mother dates to 1571 and Pope Pius V.  Don Bosco believed, “Our Lady wants us to honor Her under the title Mary, Help of Christians. Times are so bad that we need Our Lady to help us to be faithful and defend our faith.”

There are four years of formation for the Salesian sisters that one must go through before taking first vows.  The following definitions are taken from Merriam-Webster.  The first year is Aspirancy.  An aspirant is “one who aspires.”  The second year is Postulancy.  A postulant is “a person admitted to a religious order as a probationary candidate for membership.”  The third and forth years are the novitiate.  A novice is “a person admitted to probationary membership in a religious community.”

“F.M.A.” Our official initials represent our official title in Latin: FILIAE MARIAE AUXILIATRICE. This translates to, DAUGHTERS OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS, the formal name of the Salesian Sisters.

The Salesian Sisters in the United States belong to two provinces, the East and the West. I would belong to the Eastern Province, known as St. Philip the Apostle Province.

The mission of the Salesian Sisters, Priests, and Brothers is to educate young people, especially the poor.

Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning.  This is one of them: “Love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It is He who fires our soul with a love that compels others to Him.”

Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning.  This is one of them: “Friendship with Mary under the special title of Help of Christians. As a woman, wife and mother, she understands the inner workings of the our own journey through life, as well as that of the people to whom we minister.”

Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning.  This is one of them: “Dedication to the Church, seen especially in the person of the Pope. Pope John Paul II, who himself attended a Salesian parish, and his great love for the young, bring to life Don Bosco’s words, “Young people must know you, love them.” “

On July 16, 1908, the first four missionary Salesian Sisters arrived in New York City. They settled in Paterson, NJ, to begin their ministry with the children of Italian immigrants.

When you type in “Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco” into a google search, you get about 15,300 hits.

I hope you found out some interesting things about the Salesian Sisters!  Hopefully more facts will be found and added in random posts.  Be sure to keep an eye out!

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2010 in Living Salesian

 

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