Tag Archives: saint mary’s university

Stage Fright

It is simply amazing how I really have a lot to share with people and can imagine the perfect talks, but when I get up to do them I completely freak out and lose everything that I wanted to say. 

Tonight, in about 4 hours, I will be standing (maybe sitting…) in front of a group (20 or 30 or 40 or 15 or who knows) of college people from the school I graduated from last year, to give a talk.  There is no particular theme that I need to stick to.  It is me getting up there and letting all out that I want to share and pray that it reaches to someone somewhere in the pews.  It is not a huge formal deal, but rather at Power Hour.  No, not drinking, a praise and worship club that meets on Mondays to life all up to the Lord. 

I know I have things to say, I have now talked them out with some people and know the base idea of what I want to say, but really, me standing in front of people, oy.  As the time gets closer, and despites my succeeding efforts to try to remain calm, my stomach is all in a twist, unsure of what is really to come.  How bad can it be?  I sang a song in front of everyone last year, and that was terrifying enough the way it was!

The plan is this.  I am going to start out telling people who I am, and what I graduated with, just in perspective, you know?  I was given the idea to start with most recent news, then go back to the beginning.  How far back is still up in the air.  The base theme is how God meets up where we are and will work in our lives how he wants, no matter how things are doing in our lives.  Even when we feel set up to fail, he is there.  There is also going ot be the reminder that we need to look past everything, even the usual go to mass, to see that God may appear in random location and times to us. 

I will give what I talked about in my next post, as if I say here, it is bound to change in the next four hours.  Pray…I need it! Peace!

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Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Inner Reflection


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A Taste of My Life at SMU

The following is a video that was created to promote Hiawatha Valley TEC #61 during the spring semester 2009 at Saint Mary’s University.  This was during my senior year, which was this past school year.  First sleeping person is the campus minister.   Second sleeping person is the secretary (she is amazing).  Third sleeping person is the assistant campus minister.  Those on the couch are friends of mine.  The one terrorizing the place is a good friend of mine, we were in the same department.  The voice over is a friend too, we both studied Pastoral and Youth Ministry.  Enjoy!

I love TEC, it is a wonderful thing!  To learn more and find one in you area, click here.  This program was and still is a huge part of helping me become who I am to be in God’s eyes!  It makes me smile!

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Posted by on February 27, 2010 in Retreat Experience, Videos


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Sharing Your Talent

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of talent.

Talent is something that people tend to think they have none of or they do not see what others see in them as a talent they have.  Talent is also something that can be quite the opposite and be something that people thing they have the best of, that no one can be better.  Neither of these are good for us.  Everyone has a talent of something they can contribute to the world, but we need to make sure that even when we know it we are not gloating of the things we are really good at.  Then there is a balance between people knowing your talents and sharing them with the point it becomes too much.  So what are your talents, how can you use them, and what roles do they play in various parts of life?  Well, here is my story on these thought-provoking questions.

I used to think that there was not much talent to me, but the first thing that opened myself up was the fact I went to Girl Scout camp.  When I became a staff at the camp, I discovered that I was able to support the other staff, do real well at taking care of my cabin of girls, and just being a good presence at the camp.  The ability to become an emergent leader was appearing in me, as well as doing very well at the games.  I love games, no questions, hands down.  The thing, though, that came with these “talents” of mine was the needing to start looking at time I spend focusing each of my talents for who they are for.

This carried into my college life.  As I posted in my last post, managing time and where I put my time is vital to my relationship with the God three in one, my vocation, and my ministry.  Recognizing and developing the talents I have is important as well.  This is connection I started to really notice and came to work on more during my senior year of college.  Sure, I was doing that throughout all of my college career, but junior year leading into senior year it was more predominant.  By time senior year came and was going, I was always looking to help in campus ministry and did almost everything at campus masses.  By everything I mean I was a liturgical coordinator, lector, Eucharistic Minister, altar server, greeter, and I sang in the choir.  There was rarely a mass that went by that I was at that I did not do something unless I asked someone to take my place.  The thing it, I wanted to make sure everything was taken care of, so I did what I was assigned and even subbed in when others would not when people were gone.  I loved it and I was good at it.  Our campus minister came to rely on me to make sure things were happening at mass and problems were solved so that she could better focus on the music aspect of weekend masses.  It was great experience and she really pushed me out of my box to do what she knew I could do.  There was a real talent there and I was using it for God and the community I was living and praying in.  What I had to become aware of was that even though I was good at it all, helping at mass and other campus ministry things, I needed to not engulf my time in just my ministry.  I was bogged down more than ever and realized that with the deep struggles I was having, I needed to take time for myself and allow myself to be at mass as well as participate in things with out helping.

Now being out east, I have noticed that some of the things that I loved to do for others and the things I loved to do being on Saint Mary’s campus, I am unable to do.  There has come the realization that talent is not just what I share with others, but again, something I share with myself and with God.  Not all talent is visible to the world.  Something I was being taught to develop in college has more fully come to my awareness.  I have a certain talent of being able to be in the moment, be a silent presence to others and for myself.  To be able to take the time to focus in on my relationship with God, with Jesus, and with the Spirit is not an easy thing that came to me.  Knowing when I need those moments of peace and quiet or my christian music blaring so I can jam is in some aspect, a talent.  This may all be strange to you, but I believe it is good to look at these aspects as well.

There are of course many talents that I wish I could have.  I am a very behind the scenes person, or being strange in a skit person.  I love being the person who is present to those who are needing someone to pray for them or to lend a ear or even some kind true words.  There is the desire to be able to share my story with people in giving talks/presentations in front of people, being more comfortable with standing in front of others as well as being able to express myself in words more clearly.  I do have a lot to share, but I wish I was a bit more brave.  Now, if you look at what is said in the commandments, we are not to covet our neighbors goods.  Does this include talents we wish we had?  I think if we wish for them in a healthy way, which includes developing them, then it is okay.  We must not just wish we had some trait or talent, but rather if we want it, we must work towards it.  It is also important to know that we are all given different talents to use at different times.

Looking now to my preparation for formation to hopefully become a sister, I ponder where talent fits in with it all.  Going back to how I worked at a camp, I loved being there and the girls seemed to really love me (I am not saying this with an ego, it has been said to me as well).  Parents would tell me that there girl was wondering the whole drive to camp if Speedy (my camp name) was going to be there.  Through that, I knew I had a talent of being a camp counselor despite how other staff and higher ups would treat me and others.  With the Salesians, they work primarily for the youth in camps, retreats, youth centers, school, ministry, and wherever else the youth are.  It suits me…minus the teaching this which terrifies me.  Being able to develop my talents and use them within the religious community is important to me, but I need to be mindful of what is expected in the community, not overstepping anything or anyone and adjusting.  Being aware of and not letting go of what I am good at and cherish is something I will need to be sure of.  This too, of course, comes with stipulations.  God calls us continually to different things in different ways, while maintaining the strand that hold us together as a person.  In feeling a pull for religious life, things will change, and being open is so important, as it is in everything in life.  I pray that I may realize my talents as they are in my life and know when the appropriate time for expressing them is.

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Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Inner Reflection


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Just a Generally Good Weekend

Today I went to mass in the evening rather than in the morning.  Okay, you are thinking, what is so important about that.  It is just how wonderful my evening felt in that short time away from the retreat center.  This weekend has been a very good weekend and while there were a few tears trickling down my face at mass tonight, there has been some joy as well.

The weekend started with an unexpected meeting.  Villanova, the outside group that came in to use the center, was led by four interns.  One of them graduated from Saint Mary’s two year before me, from the same major!  To see someone from what was home for four years gave me a lift in spirits.  I have decided again that God is amazing in bringing people to be.  Granted we did not know each other well and never hung out, we were in the same department with similar friends and both involved in campus ministry.  Lately loneliness has settled in being so far away, but being given the chance to see a familiar face has reminded me about how oddly connected we are.  The group was amazing and so grateful, that too is a reminder of how much some people still appreciate things.  God is so good.

Going to mass without anyone I knew gave me the chance to not be so self-conscious of what I am doing.  While that should not be important, it is amazing how different we can act depending on who we are with even if we are not trying to be so aware.  There was something that just calmed me and slowed me down when I first knelt to pray.  Early to mass, there were not many people there when I arrived.  I had a very hard time focusing on what was going on at mass, although aware I was still; my mind traveled rather to letting what God asks of me to settle in me so that I can really feel His love in what I am about to do.  It was interesting.  God is so Good.

Walking from mass to my car, I took a glance upwards to see an amazing sight.  The stars were made visible and the breeze was cool as well as refreshing.  Closing my eyes, I was for a brief moment able to put myself back in Winona, MN in the bluffs…until a car drove by.   That brief moment stuck in my heart.  Oh how I love being outside and feeling the cool breeze, looking into the sky with so much hope and desire to do so much more in this life.  God is so Good.

When I got into my car and the radio kicked up, a high energy praise and worship song was on.  No, I can not recall which one, but I turned up my radio and blasted it.  To jam out singing praise, another one of my favorite things I could do!  It made my smile even more.  God is so Good.

RB TEC 228 is this weekend.  The TEC program has done so much for me, and I am sure it will continue to reach people in amazing ways.  This weekend I am goign through the weekend as best as I can.  The tears that trickled slightly while at mass were in longing to be there with my TEC friends.  As well, a dear little sister friend of mine is making the weekend.  Their mass happened around the time I was at mass.  To be in solidarity with them is beautiful.  God is so Good.

God seems to want me to join the Salesians, it is all I can think about.  I smile like crazy when I think of it and especially when I talk about it.  He is has given this gift to me and I shall open it and see if it fits.  If by chance it doesn’t, I know God will guide me from there.  As of now though, it fits well and I plan on keeping it!  God is so Good.

Fact: “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.

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Posted by on February 14, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Living Salesian


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The Struggles Between

My trip to Australia for World Youth Day was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the time during my junior and senior year proved very difficult.  My studies were not going well, and I was struggling to keep myself healthy.  It was hard to focus on what was truly the most important thing in my life; knowing, believing, and sharing the love of Christ.  While yes, I went to church and still did all those campus ministry things, something was still not feeling right for me.  It tended that I would drift into the side of depression every now and then.  I did not show or feel many signs that one could attach with such a label, nor was I really diagnosed with depression.  It was just something that was there every now and then.  That pushed me away from faith in God despite my active faith life.

My junior year was an exploration of what in the world I was planning on doing with my major.  Sure, it was interesting, but it was getting harder and harder.  I had decided that I was not interested so much in working in parish work.  While I would be getting amazing experience in the field, and I would enjoy it, it just seemed not suitable to me at this time in life.  That put a damper on my studies some as most people who study what I study works in some form of parish work, although many don’t.   The year was overall hard, but what helped was the close friends that I have had and gained that year.

Senior year came about and I had an internship, that we were making up as we go, in retreat work.  Or so I did for half the year.  Second semester, I had to drop it due to many things.  Resulting from that, I needed to find a two credit class because with dropping the internship I had not enough credits to graduate.  I can not tell you the stress that comes from that.  As well that year, the struggles just got harder and harder.  The grades were dropping, the professors expected so much, and I was becoming withdrawn again.  I still had great friends, and a couple real close ones who knew my every move, almost literally!  There were some real dark moments, but I learned from each and everyone of them.  My last freak out of the school year was when I had grades in the CD range.  I had read that the average grade in the major was a C.  No one could tell me if it was overall, or in each class.  Basically, in the end I was able to graduate.  Let me tell you, the best thing for me.

Now, why would I open myself up even this little bit into the struggles of my life?  I am a real person, and while I may give you all this happy stuff, I hit some dark moments as well as many other struggles.  That May 2009 when I graduated, I was the happiest I could have ever felt.  Close friends of mine felt exactly what I felt as I was struggling with classes and felt what I felt when I was able to get my degree (two actually…first one had a blotch on it).  There was so much that I learned about myself as I had reflect upon my four years at Saint Mary’s.  Summer 2009 was a great long time (longer than I have been  home in 4-5 years!) to sit and think about moving on and learning and coming to a better place.

From here, will come the story of how I am where I am based on the odd ways to discover things! Please stick around.  🙂 Peace to you all!

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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Four Days, One Misson, It All Starts…

Perhaps this was the first time religious life has popped up in my mind, or the first time I acknowledged it, or maybe it is when I finally voiced what is in my hear.  Oddly enough I do not recall exactly when God started calling to me in a unique way, but this is the earliest specific memory that I have of any conversation of any sort, with myself or with others.

We were hanging out after the day of service.  There had been a sister who was visiting the place we were at and she was hanging out with us for a little before bed.  I remember thinking, I wonder what it would be like to be a sister.  Once she left, and it was just me and couple friends, I did something I hardly did then.  I opened myself up.  To my friends there, I voiced my question out loud, wondering what they thought on it.  The thoughts of this seemed to have stuck through my mind, though I payed little attention to them roaming around.

Now there is this friend of mine, and she had been very interesting in the religious life.  As a leader of the Women of Faith club that I was in, she would  invite the order that she was looking at to come and visit.  It was truly an inspiration!  Now that I think back , maybe this thought had processed before my sophomore year.  I am going to take a gander it was in my mind my freshman year, at least half.  Anyways, back to the topic.  It turns out that this her junior year (she was a year older), would be her last at Saint Mary’s and then the next year she would be entering.  I was in such awe of her call in life.  It made me really smile!

Was that mission trip a gateway to opening the conversation?  How was I inspired my my friend Josie, now called Sr. Rita Marie?  Where does this story go next!?

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Posted by on January 30, 2010 in Retreat Experience


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