Nun Run Supports Discerners on the Journey

nun run

Sisters Mary Romine, OSF (left) and Marianne Keena, CSJ (right) with five women discerning religious life at the "Nun Run: The Journey and the Dream."

Five women gathered the weekend of January 15, 16, and 17 to participate in discernment for religious life.  "The Journey and Dream" (a nun-run) was shared with two other communities the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the Poor Clare nun. 

Yes, these women have many questions, some answers and asked for our prayerful support.  Garbed in their ‘Journey and Dream' tee shirts and carrying their ‘Journey and Dream' tote, these women left filled with joy, restlessness and peace.    

Here is one discerner's reflection.

On January 15, 2010, I reached another step in my discernment journey.  This step was attending the Journey and Dream retreat or "the Nun Run" as Sister Marianne Keena titles it.  I wouldn't be filled with the peace and sense of direction that I feel today without this experience.  Each community is so different but works together in their mission to serve the Lord.  Below, I, Kristen Franke, will give you my experiences and observations for the weekend. 

The first stop on the journey was visiting the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Help.  These sisters were very welcoming and served us pizza in the piazza (also an interesting title).  I met Sister Pat who teaches at St. Joseph's School in Imperial, MO, my hometown.  After dinner and an introductory prayer, we journeyed to St. John and James convent where we would be staying the night.  For some reason the doorbell wasn't working or the sisters didn't hear it because we stood outside for a little while.  Being the inventive individual that I am, I figured the sisters wanted me to serenade them.  After that didn't work, Sr. Marcy called them.  After a short discussion and introductions, we went to bed.  It was interesting to live in the old convent style because the bathrooms were at the end of the hall.  Right next to the sink, there was a weight scale.  Later I found out that Eustice and I both had to step on the scale from the pure temptation!  One of the bathroom stalls even had a latch hook rug made.  No cold feet while answering natures call! 

On the morning of the 16th, Sr. Marcy, the rest of the discerners, and I went to the business office of the Franciscan's for presentations.  It really helped hearing the stories of other sisters because many of them aligned with our discernment stories.  In the discernment process, one generally feels lost and alone.  We learned that everyone's discernment process is different just like each individual person is unique.  I especially appreciated Sr. Marcy's recognition that the sisters want what is best for us whether it be religious life, single, or married.  That really touched my heart because God calls each one of us to do unique ministries.  I realized that I could trust them to do what is best for me.

In the afternoon, we went to the Poor Clare's monastery on Telegraph.  Up until that point, I really had no idea what the sisters were about.  I mean the idea of staying in a monastery forever seemed weird to me.  But as I left the CSJ motherhouse on Sunday, I understood.  There is so much clamor, noise, and distractions in the world.  It makes it really hard to reflect and pray to Jesus sometimes.  The transition back to the world after such a reflective retreat was a little difficult.  I am so proud of the Poor Clare Sisters for doing the ministries that they do.  Their faces were almost angelic from God's presence in them.  Too bad there was a grill there, I so wanted to give them a big hug!  I believe it was important that they were a part of the retreat experience.  They added an understanding of contemplation that clarified even the Franciscan and CSJ's charisms.

I have to say one of the funniest times came in the parking lot of the Poor Clare's monastery.  Apparently, the idea of fasting in between meals made all of us really hungry.  So, after the experience, we got the snacks out of the trunk and spread them out on the hood of Sr. Sarah's car and ate!  We declared that we admired the Poor Clares for adhering to their daily fast!

At St. Joseph's Academy we learned about the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  I most enjoyed talking with Sister Barbara Volk because she was an art teacher.  I will graduate with a degree in art education in 2011.  I felt a special connection between us because of our common love for art.  It is so easy to love all the sisters because they are so full of God's love!  Dinner was especially comical because the CSJ's apparently always cook but decided to get pizza and ice cream this year.  We ate pizza and ice cream with the Franciscans the night before too!  I did not mind it at all because I am a college student!  Good food is good food!  Later in the evening we went back to the Carondelet motherhouse for the night.  I went down to the chapel and prayed in my Sponge Bob Square pants pajama bottoms and tennis shoes.  It would have been funny if a sister came in!

All in all, the weekend was exactly what I needed to discern my call.    The discernment process is not over but I feel that the retreat gave me the space for reflection.  My next step will be investigating becoming an associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  I have such a passion for the sisters and using my gift of art to help the church.  Thank you to all that made this retreat possible!  I will never forget it.

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