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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! 🙂


Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Living Salesian


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NJ to MN: The Final Day

Getting up this morning was the usual getting up of course.  The sad thing was when we went to eat the complimentary breakfast, there was no waffle maker.  The show must go on!  Anyways, we headed out for our first destination, Hannibal, MO.

In Hannibal was the birthplace of Samuel Clements (aka Mark Twain) and some places from his childhood that inspired his writings.  It was interesting to see.  We did not do any guided tours, but just looked around the place.  Here are some pictures from the town.

On our drive, we ended up going along the Mississippi and had to stop and take a couple awesome photos.  The first time we stopped to try and take photos, there was an infestation of these flying bug things.  We then moved on and stopped at the next chance provided to us.

Our final stop of visiting somewhere was in Nauvoo, IL.  Here we stopped at the Joseph Smith Historic site.  Here is a bit from the brochure.

In 1839, early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — called “Mormons” — established this place of peace and beauty on a great bend in the Mississippi.  And then they were forced to leave.

Today Nauvoo is one of America’s premier historic communities.  It has been designated a National Historic Landmark District.  Many of the early homes, shops and public buildings have been restored or rebuilt and are open for guided tours.

Leaving there, we headed out for about a 6-7 hour drive to get from there to home in Richfield.  We stopped for gas and such as one would have to do.  Needing a pee break, we stopped at a rest stop place just before leaving Iowa into Minnesota.  Here is what it looked like.

The journey was long but good.  We saw a lot of things and did some cool things.  This ends my travel log for this journey, but of course the posting will go on as things happen in life.  🙂  Stayed tuned for videos, poems, random posts and more!  Thanks for following.  Peace!

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Posted by on July 17, 2010 in Photos, Travels


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NJ to MN: Day 6

Today our destination took us to our first stop in St. Louis, MO.  Our time getting up this morning was in the Eastern Time Zone, but within 20 minutes of leaving, we had switched into Central Time Zone therefore we gained another hour.  Morning went as it has been, which is good for being tired when waking up!

We first stopped at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.  It was an amazing piece of art, made of all mosaics.  It is one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world, created by 20 different artists and covering 83,000 square feet. Here are some of the pictures from inside!

Now of course, we have to have pictures of the outside as well.  🙂

Leaving the Cathedral Basilica, we headed towards the Gateway Arch.  The line to going there was a wait, but in the end it was well worth it.  There are little words to describe the experience, so pictures will be my main communication today as you may have noticed.

That was really cool to do, that is for sure!  Would I do it again?  Sure.  🙂  When we were done with that, we hit the road again and drove until we landed where we are now.  We are staying in a Holiday Inn Express in Hannibal, MO for the night.  Tomorrow our adventure takes us to learn about Mark Twain.  It shall be fun!

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Posted by on July 16, 2010 in Photos, Travels


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NJ to MN: Day 4

Since Mom fell asleep before I did, the alarm was just set to go off at 7:40.  As with yesterday morning, mom was up and showered then so was I.  We ate breakfast, finished washing up, and then packed to head out on the road.  Most of the drive today consisted of going through the Allegheny Mountains.  What a drive that was!  I am so glad that I was driving and not riding because I may have not made it.  We did not do a whole lot of things, but more driving than anything.  We did do another driving tour, this time of covered bridges along with a gravity defying experience, and some great views to stop at.  Here are some pictures.

The drive at the beginning of the day.

Claycomb Covered Bridge

Snook’s Covered Bridge

Dr. Kniseley Covered Bridge

Ryot Covered Bridge

Cuppett Covered Bridge

Colvin Covered Bridge

Turner’s Covered Bridge

Herline Covered Bridge

Some other pictures from the day.

Pretty much, other than those things, the day was driving.  Oh yes, how could I forget!?  We defied gravity.  Here is the jist.  We went to the location, put the car in neutral, and we went backwards up the hill.  Here is a video.

Tell me that is strange and weird or what?  It was pretty sweet.  So, moving on…we drove for a distance until we landed where we are at now…Cambridge, Ohio.

Tonight we ate at a place called The Forum.  It was pretty good.  We had this onion thing and bacon pizza.  It was definitely good.  When we got back we spent about twenty minutes in the pool relaxing and such.  That was nice little swim.  Now, once again, we are sitting in the hotel room with me posting this, then some pictures on facebook, and watching TV.  Stay tuned for more!


Posted by on July 14, 2010 in Photos, Travels, Videos


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NJ to MN: Day 3

What a day!  It consisted of driving, walking, eating and…well, that is what it was!  The alarm went off at 7:30 this morning.  Mom got up after a couple hits on the snooze and sometime after she got out of the shower, I was up to join her for breakfast.  There were biscuits!  Anyways, once we were all washed up, packed and ready to go, we headed out West on 30 to continue the journey.  It was a generally cloudy day, though there was some sun here and there.  The theme of the day, by the way, is free free free!

Our goal was to get into York, PA and do some of the things that the city had to offer there for attractions and tours.  The first stop was at Wolfgang Chocolate Factory.  I am going to by saying that over this trip so far, we really do not come across anything that easily when on the hunt.  That being said, once we found the place, it was a good tour.

The tour was amazing, we got to go in the factory, basically standing next to the people working there.  It was pretty cool.  Not many factories actually do that anymore when you tour.  You had to take off all jewelery and cover all hair.   That being the hair on your head, face, and arms.  Tee-shirts and shoes required.  Wear gloves if you have a ring on or nail polish.  They really want to make sure you don’t drop anything in the chocolate and candies and cookies.  It was simple and amazing.  When we were done, there was a warehouse sale with discounted goods as well as a mini sampling!  Yay sale sweets!  Ten dollars for a decent amount of sweets, who can say that is bad at all!?  When we were done purchasing, we took a picture of the old tins that things were served in.

After the Wolfgang Chocolate tour and purchasing, we went off to go find the Snyder Factory.  We did a tour that took us above the plant were we could look through windows in order to see the things that were going on.  It was neat to see where things go and how things are done.  Did you know?  The small chips get put in the small bags and the big chips get put in the big bags!  When we were done, we each got two mini sample bags of pretzels.  They are yum.  It was a good tour as well.

Leaving the York area, we went towards Gettysburg yet unsure of whether we would stop or not. The first thing that we did was find a place to eat so we could figure out what to do.  We ate at another diner, Lincoln’s Diner.  It was another good place to eat, I approve.

We ended up stopping and taking the auto tour on our own.  It took somewhere around 2-3 hours to do.  Here I have some of the stops that we took, those that I have pictures for.  First up are some pictures at the Eternal Light Peace Memorials.

This following picture is from the North Carolina Memorial.  I like how this was constructed.

The next stop was at the Virgina Memorial.  The picture is a little dark, according to mom.

We took a few pictures off a look-out tower, but here I will just post the one of mom and me.

This was just cool, so here is a picture.

Here is the Minnesota Monument that we saw by the Pennsylvania Memorial.

And then of course…the Pennsylvania Memorial.

The next photos are from the cemetery.  First is where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.  The next is a memorial for the address.

Along with these places, we saw much more and took many many more photos.  These are the cool ones that I thought you would like to say.  There are a couple observation tours we went up and many memorials we stopped at.  It was a good tour, though I do not remember a lot of what I read or saw.

After done with all that, we drove about 30 minutes further West on 30 to come to our hotel.  It had started to rain and we had to find a hotel to go see if they had space for us.  We have ended up at a Day’s Inn that we pasted and then after finding nothing else, turned around to come back to.  Driving through the town was not my favorite thing, that is for sure.  Since we ate late, around 3 or just before that, we were not hungry, even when we pulled into the hotel into the 8pm hour.  So, this is what our options were for dinner tonight due to our lack of hungry.

Anyways, we now are watching some TV and handing out.  Who knows when we fall asleep and who knows what the next day will bring.  Peace!

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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Photos, Travels


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NJ to MN: Day 2

Snaps for getting to sleep past eight!  We got up this morning around 8:20 to go down for the complimentary breakfast which of course was pretty good with the waffle maker.  No shower or anything before, just go and eat then wash up.  Really, who needs to look good in order to eat at the hotel breakfast buffet!?  Anyways, the waffles were good and the shower was refreshing.

The first thing we did was head from the hotel (in Lancaster more or less) to this town called Intercourse.  We stopped in this little village of shops within the town named Kitchen Kettle Village.  There are 42 shops, restaurants & lodging there.  It was pretty cool to walk around and we left with a couple things.  Our first purchase was that of some canned goods like jams, curds, peanut butter, and sauce for barbecuing.  They are yummy that is for sure!  Being that the bag was kind of heavy, we had to bring it back to the car so we could keep looking around!

We went to a bunch more random shops and a gallery.  The art was pretty cool.  There was a woodwork store that had furniture and other little nic-nacs that would be awesome to have if I had money, need for them, and a place to put them.  Mom wanted to look in the yarn store, which turned out not to be what she had expected.  One of the places we stopped by that was pretty cool was a quilt store.  I loved all the quilts there!  Of course, they a a ton of money considering they are all hand done, taking so much time to complete.  They were simply amazing.  We also went to a second shop that had quilts, but it also has a lot more than that too.  Mom found this ornament that she really liked and ended up getting while there.

When we were done at the shops there, we went off to go find Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy rides.  The ride we took was horse drawn wagon on a Farm Tour.  It was interesting to see an Amish Farm and learn some things about the people.  Our guide grew up Brethren but never was baptized in the church when it came time for that choice to be made.  The Mennonites broke off from the Brethren and the Amish broke off from the Mennonites.  Amish don’t use any electricity, but rather propane and other such fuels.  When we stopped at the farm, a boy and girl were selling their home-made cookies, lemonade, root-beer and other items on a small table.  After anyone who wanted to had made their purchases from the kids, we headed back to where we started.

Leaving there, Mom and I were both hungry.  We found another diner, DJ’s Diner.  It was a 50’s place and it had very good food.  The mozzarella sticks were definitely a hit to me.  Yum yum.  Diner’s are certainly fun to go to, especially because they are local.

After our late lunch, we headed off to our next location.  We watch a video about and took a tour of Ehprata Cloister in Lancaster.   It was a very interesting thing to learn about.  This guy from Germany spent time in half a dozen different religious groups.  In the end he headed up his own group of celibate people, as well as some householders.  To put in all the information would be a lot, but I will share with you some pictures.

All in all, that tour and the time to wander ourselves was cool.  There was some interesting information that was share.  I am glad that I have a brochure so I can remember what I learned and saw there.

When were done, we headed back to the hotel.  It was around 5pm when we got back.  Since we had ate a later lunch, neither of us was really hungry for anything.   Mom looked up somethings on the map and in her AAA books.  I laid down for a little because I was tired.  It was not until 7:30 that we headed out to eat.  Tonight we went chain restaurant and ate at Applebees.  Of course, we broke down and got the Triple Chocolate Meltdown after our meals.  It was really good, as always.

If you want to see more pictures and you happen to be friends with me on Facebook, I am adding them as we go and there are more than that which I show here.  Since mom has the better camera and such, they come from her.  Stay posted, we have yet to know where we will end the day tomorrow (aka Tuesday)!

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Posted by on July 12, 2010 in Photos, Travels


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NJ to MN: Day 1

Day One in my travels back home.  Leaving, as I just posted previously, was really hard to do.  Saying goodbye to those you have spent a lot of time with is not easy.  Anyways, we are on the road.  Mom showed up yesterday via plane and train then me picking her up via car.

Today I got up at 7:20am in order to say goodbye to some people who were leaving from this past week’s staff group.  Considering that I was up until 1:30am in the morning, it felt like there was not much sleep, therefore I was tired.  A bunch of people left around that time, then I was able to lay back down for some time.  The morning then was made of me packing things and my car, followed by eating some egg bake (yum! as always).  When that was done, the bike rack and bike had to be attached to my car.  That was an adventure for sure.  Finally though, it was attached thoroughly as I could get it to with the means that were given to me.  Next came saying goodbyes…the saying and hugging was easy, but the element of doing it was not.

Leaving the retreat center gave me this odd feeling that I am not sure I could define, but off we were none-the-less.  We got some gas and headed for Lancaster, PA.  Being the time it was when we got into town and the day it is, many “attractions” were closed.  It took some searching to find the location of our hotel, but once we found it we settled in and went to eat at a local diner.  Coming back from that, we got hooked to the internet and were looking around for things to do tomorrow.  Now, it is just surfing, posting, and talking to friends.  I have to keep in mind I need an outline of a talk done for a meeting on Sunday which means doing it as I go along, or at least getting it in my mind.  Scary!

Well, for tonight, that will be all.  Talk to you all tomorrow!

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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Travels


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