Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Me and The Sisters

I have finally gotten the pictures off of Jim's phone and can now share our great weekend. 

So, this past Saturday we had the great pleasure of visiting some old friends who were in the Austin area for a very special event. 
The Kennedy family with Sr. Joseph Andrew (sitting in front) and Sr. Philip John.

Back in the day (about 1998), before husband and children, after studying at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I interviewed for a job as a DRE (director of Religious Education) for a group of small private (not diocesan) Catholic Schools run by a new order of Dominican sisters. 

They were living in a house in the area called Domino's Farms where the headquarters of Dominos Pizza was located, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was living in Steubenville at the time and so I had to drive out to Ann Arbor for the interview. I remember that I rented a car…a very tiny, red car…because my old Honda was not up to the long drive. 

My interview was really a whole weekend. I stayed in a little house that was down the road from the sisters. Sister John Dominic took me around to the school (the second one was in the process of being built). I remember clearly visiting the convent (it was temporary since the Motherhouse was also being built) and seeing the sisters heading to and from their little living room chapel. I sat in Mother Assumpta's office and we talked about expectations and what the job entailed. I was so nervous. I wasn't sure what God was doing with me at this point. Was He going to call me to religious life? Was Ann Arbor going to be my home? 

I was offered the job and I accepted, and so began my friendship with The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. I can count the four founders among the people who greatly influenced my Faith, my life, my future. I have been friends with several of the sisters since before they answered their call to religious life. Oh, I have stories (about Sister Ave Maria and Sister Philip John mostly). After spending about three years working with and for the Sisters I met Jim, we married and moved to California, and the rest is history. 
Me and D with Sr. Ave Maria. 
In our first year or two of marriage we were able to visit once or twice, but it has been a decade since I have seen Sr. John Dominic (with whom I co-authored a book and who has some GREAT virtue education materials coming out soon), Sr. Joseph Andrew (whom we once nick named "Sister bone breaker"---story to follow soon), Sr. Ave Maria (with whom I played hooky on our discernment retreat---more stories to come), Sr Philip John (with whom I hung out at a surf bar in So. Cal watching my little brother's band just months before she entered the convent) and Sr. Elizabeth Ann (we were catechetics "stars" back in the day---and she still is. You may recognize her from EWTN). 
Sr. John Dominic and I catching up on catechetical ideas. 

The Sisters are well known these days for their appearances on The Oprah Winfrey show (yep…THAT Oprah), the Bible Challenge game show (in which they took second place), and for their new CD that is hitting the top of the Billboard Charts

And I knew them back in the day. 
We finally caught up with Sr. Elizabeth Ann who was running around making everything work all afternoon. 

The reason we saw each other this weekend was that they are getting read to build a new priory in Georgetown, just outside Austin. They have already built a temporary convent and there was a blessing of that building by two Bishops as well as a sort of housewarming, in which we got tours of the convent and heard all the news of what is going on there. There was Texas BBQ and time to chat with the Sisters. 

Behind this large picture of the future priory was the empty lot on which the building will sit. 

It was really fun to see the looks on the faces of the Sisters who did not know I would be there…or perhaps didn't believe we would really show! It was really great to find that, though life has taken us all in different directions, and we have all grown in so many ways, there is still that great connection--a love of our Faith, a deep desire to pass it on to the next generation, and great hope for the future of the Church. 

1 comment:

  1. OH MY GOSH!!!!!! I was first thinking how you certainly made these "friends" sound so intriguing and then you posted the book, EWTN, the Bible Challenge, OPRAH, etc...and it's like Holy Cow!!! What an amazing post you have here, and I SO look forward to hearing about these other nuns???? (Insert eye brow wiggle)