Wednesday, January 15, 2014

They Came, They Saw and Returned, Glorifying and Praising God for All They Had Heard and Seen and Experienced…

If you are gifted, you are called. 
If you are called, you will be gifted.
(Fr. Michael Fones, O.P.)

Over the past weekend, we had the privilege of accompanying 13 young women in their vocation discernment as they joined us in prayers and conferences.  Thank you for your prayers and support in joining us with our effort to assist our Mother Church build a vocation culture.

The event was totally awe-inspiring and grace-filled since all participants came to the event with open mind and heart, bursting with much excitement, energy and a lot of questions!   Everyone left the monastery filled with gratitude for having the opportunity to spend some time in silence, prayers and Adoration, singing and chanting the Divine Office, visiting with the nuns, bonding and sharing with one another, and having enough tools and information under their belt to continue searching for the vocation where they can best serve God.

To begin the weekend, our Prioress, Sr. Maria Christine, O.P. welcomed the candidates and assured them of the Dominican Family’s prayers.

Afterwards, Fr. Steve Maekawa, O.P., the Vocation Director of the Western Dominican Province gave an introductory talk on how to make the best of the weekend by revealing to the candidates what God’s plan for them is; how to recognize the signs of their vocation and how to overcome obstacles so as to respond to God’s call more confidently.  Fr. Steve used the example of the calling of Samuel to demonstrate the fact that when God calls, the one being called might encounter some confusion as she may not be familiar with it.  However, with prayers, spiritual direction, fellowship, and study, one will come to understand her vocation with clarity and surrender more totally to doing God’s will.

The following day began with Morning Prayer and Office of Readings at 5:35 a.m. And yes, all the candidates showed up on-time and with eagerness and enthusiasm!

Following the Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Michael Fones, O.P., the Student Master of the Western Dominican Province gave a conference on Charisms, the qualities of Dominican Charisms and how we can discern our own charisms.  Fr. Michael taught us that charisms were given to each of us at baptism to do some work of Jesus.  When we understand our charisms, we understand why and how we are drawn to certain work or religious Order because our charisms are a major indication of God’s call in our life.

For the remaining time, the candidates had a glimpse into the monastic life and learned about the roles of the Dominican nuns in the Church and the Order as they were presented the four pillars of the Dominican Contemplative life: prayer, common life, study and the vows with the monastic observances that are in place to support our life of living in unity with the Holy Trinity.  Some of the comparative images of the contemplatives are: a power plant that seems to be quiet and unproductive but that which generates the electricity to keep the city moving; or a solar panel that drawing into itself the strength from the sun and transforming it into useable energy.  By opening ourselves to God and becoming as receptive as possible to his goodness, we as contemplatives draw down graces and blessings on the preachers, teachers, social workers and all who are out there on the battlefield bringing people into the Kingdom of Christ.

We continue to pray that these young ladies and all young peoples continue to be open to God’s invitation to a life of deeper union with him and to discern truthfully and commit themselves freely to the vocation in the Church to which they are being called.

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