Forever Vowed, Forever Wowed

I recently read in America magazine an article titled, “Dear Millennials: Run, Don’t Walk, to Your Vocation,” by Catherine Hadro. ( It is written not just to the Millennials, but to Gen X, Gen Y, i-Gen – all of us.

I am not a Millennial, but I empathize with this current generation. Like Hadro’s description of them, My vocational discernment also was riddled with “what ifs” – and lots of questions and unknowns. I was paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong decision and finding my life and good humor sucked out of me. After all, my single life was allowing me lots of self-fulfillment and world-expanding opportunities at work and with friends. I could not imagine what poverty, chastity and obedience could add.

But God does not give up easily. Faithful to prayer and my discernment, I finally realized, with the author, that “prudence is not holding back – it is discerning how best to move forward.”

Eventually, I did. In baby steps, as formation requires. Now, one year after professing perpetual vows as a Sister of St. Joseph, I find myself “living the dream” I could never imagine. Being “forever vowed,” I am finding, means being “forever wowed.” Being “forever vowed,” I have found, means forever free. It’s a freedom that enables me to not only know myself, but to share myself as genuinely as I am able, with my community, my family, my friends, with those whom I serve. It’s not a perfect freedom, but an ever-evolving one. That’s life – lived to the full.

Yes, I have not only entered, but embraced The Congregation of the Great Love of God. And I belong.

–Mary Flick, CSJ

The Consensus Statement

a treasured summary statement of the Charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of Love and receptive to those inspirations

The Sister of Saint Joseph moves always towards
profound love of God
love of neighbor without distinction
from whom she does not separate herself
for whom, in the following of Christ
she works in order to achieve unity
of neighbor with neighbor
and neighbor with God
directly in this apostolate
indirectly through works of charity
in humility – the spirit of the Incarnate Word
(Philippians 2:5-8)

In sincere charity (cordiale charité)
– the manner of Saint Joseph whose name she bears

In an Ignatian-Salesian climate: that is, with an
orientation towards excellence
(Le dépassement, le plus)
tempered by gentleness (douceur), peace, joy.

Songs for Prayer and Discernment

Recently, on our Giving Voice Facebook page someone asked for friends to share songs from any genre that speak to God, discernment, and vocations.  (For those of you who aren’t familiar, Giving Voice is an organization within which sisters under the age of 50 come together for networking, prayer, support, action, and fun.)  I thought I’d share some current favorites of my own and some songs from the list for your own prayer and listening pleasure.

  • God Help Me, Plumb
  • How Sweet It Is, James Taylor
  • You’re the Inspiration, Chicago
  • Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls
  • Braver Still, JJ Heller
  • Abide, Carrie Newcomer and Parker J. Palmer
  • Dwell Among Us, Salt of the Sound
  • It’s Going to Be Alright; Sara Groves
  • Home, Philip Phillips
  • Find Love, Clem Snide
  • Top of the World, the Carpenters
  • The Call, Regina Spektor
  • Joyful, Joyful, Sister Act 2
  • Lift My Life Up, Unspoken
  • Crash and Burn, Savage Garden
  • Help Me Find It, Sidewalk Prophets
  • Caught in Love, Belle and Sebastian
  • You Get What You Give, New Radicals
  • Good Riddance, Green Day
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
  • One Foot, Building 429
  • Shake It Off, Taylor Swift
  • This Is Home, Switchfoot
  • A Place in the Sun, Stevie Wonder
  • I Bet My Life, Imagine Dragons
  • We Are Here, Alicia Keys
  • Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
  • Beautiful Things, Gungor
  • Ordinary Miracle, Sarah McLaughlin
  • All of Me, John Legend

With what songs are you praying these days?  Leave them in our comments.


Gentleness and Strength

My ministry brings me into contact with many religious men and women from many different communities. It is a real privilege to get to know so many committed people. They do amazing works. Their hearts are so expansive. They have been ministers of Loving-Kindness for so long that they become echoes of the Heart of God.

Recently, I began working with a community that describes their charism as working in Gentleness and Strength. That is so lovely. I believe that their charism is a message for me at this time in my life. I am dealing with my aging parents. They are lovely people, and at the same time, they are dealing with their own diminishment and one with dementia. This community, with their charism of Gentleness and Strength is for me a reservoir that I can tap into as I help my parents and my family address the challenges of aging.

This is an example of one of the key lessons I have learned: we are evangelized by those we serve. This community has asked for my assistance. At the same time, getting to know them I receive from them the gifts I need in another aspect of my life. And I’m sure that in working with my aging parents, I’m deepening the gentleness and strength that will help me to grow and to serve another in the circle of life, the circle of grace.


What Gives Me Hope?

We begin our  MORE weekend – our annual summer discernment retreat. We focus on Community, Spirituality and Justice. Each element of our weekend will focus on one of these components. We will pray together. we will share life and stories and laughter in community, we will do justice by rolling up our sleeves for a painting project. I invite everyone to pray with and for us this weekend.

‘I Am with You Always…’

After celebrating 50 days of Easter and the explosion of the Spirit at Pentecost, we return to Ordinary Time. But today’s feast – Trinity Sunday – is anything but ordinary. It is more than just a mystery. As Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ, writes, “The Trinity is central to our faith. If we lose it, we lose all we are.” Who is this Trinitarian God? And who are we in this God?

Father, Son and Spirit are the familiar names we use for the Trinity. But the descriptions of God in today’s readings offer us much more. In today’s first reading, Moses describes an all-mighty God who creates a wondrous world. But that is not enough. God is also a personal God who speaks to his chosen people, acts on their behalf, and desires their prosperity forever.

In the second reading, Paul goes even further. He speaks of an intimacy with God, made possible by the Spirit, who gives us voice to speak the beloved name, “Abba.” Finding ourselves in this intimate relationship, we realize we are children of God, siblings of Jesus – heirs of our Father, if we accept and share in our Brother’s fullness of life.

If this seems too much to believe, the Gospel brings us back to reality. We find ourselves with the disciples – worshipping, yet doubting this Jesus who has died, yet is risen. Amid our doubts and disbelief, he calls us to “make disciples of all nations,” in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. In the name of this relationship of wonder, love and sustenance.

If Trinity’s names for God are too traditional for us, the 14th-century mystic, Julian of Norwich offers us three other names for God. She writes that God has revealed Godself as Maker, Lover and Keeper. God, the Maker and Origin of the universe and of us, calls us to be people of wonder and of gratitude, who take nothing for granted. God the Lover, who is known to us in the divine humanity of Jesus, invites us to love in return. God the Keeper will never abandon us. With such assurance, how can we be anything but people of hope!

Yes, it is a mystery why God would invite us imperfect creatures into relationship. It is a mystery why God should care for us so. It is a mystery why God should offer such personal, unconditional, eternal presence to us. But this is who God is. And if we believe, if we enter into this relationship with God, we are promised an inheritance beyond price: We will never be alone. “I am with you always,” Jesus assures us, “until the end of the age.”

–Mary Flick, CSJ