Ok, ok, ok...I promised to talk about the retreat through my experience of it! Or as I have so eloquently titled it "The Juicy Part".
Let me explain something about religious life...
While you're in formation you get all of these GRAND opportunities to really take a close (I mean close) look at yourself. Really it's all a part of discerning where you are called to live in the most authentic way. Sometimes this microscoping effect of YOU is great...you're learnin', you're processin', you're making some changes and life is wonderful. Other times it's like "OK..ENOUGH ABOUT ME...CAN'T I JUST HIDE for a while?" Mostly though, I'd have to say even sorting through those ickyier, uncomfortable things with people...you come out knowing yourself a bit more...in the Land of Initial Formation we call that GROWTH...and that's a GOOD thing.
Ok...so retreat. I was pumped...yahooo...a whole weekend with folks discernin', and two of my favorite people facilitating, and I thought "Mission...great...I'm starting this new ministry...what a great time to get a mission and a vision!" Notice...I PLANNED out what I thought I was going to focus on.
Retreat Rule #1--Planning is a "no-no" (You're supposed to let the "spirit" decide...well for some of us..it's a process!)
As I mentioned previously, I had no problems deciding on my passion! And when I got to talk about it, as someone said about me, "Your being oozes your passion." That was GREAT. I am passionate about religious life and the SSSFs! Yeehah...that's a great thing; especially being on the road to vowage.
So then came the mission statement part. Choosing the verbs was tough, but I like the ones I chose: create, enliven, and explore. I was surprised at enliven and explore, but after I took some time to let it set in for a while, I understood how they fit. Actually...they are perfect verbs for me!
The core values I had were: relationships and integrity. This was easy too...relationships are so core to who I am and also a big reason why I am called to religious life.
The group in which I put down for the action for part of the mission for was Education. Surprisingly enough this was the one that I struggled with. I hated the list of groups because nothing fit the way I was envisioning my mission. I thought Education was too limiting. I think I was frustrated because I read this mission statement and there was no instant SPARK for me. So I thought...GREAT...I don't have a MISSION STATEMENT....AHHHHHHHHHH.
THEN we started our vision statement process. So I sat in my favorite space in our chapel (right smack dab in the middle of the conductor stand in the choir loft) to just be quiet for a while. Then the brain starts goin' and goin' and goin' and I'm thinking "Ministry, ministry, ministry...how can this not come together? Ministry, ministry, ministry...c'mon...what's my problem?" After about 30 mins in chapel, I went outside to walk..that's where I do my best thinking.
One of our foundresses is buried on our grounds (Mother Alfons) and I NEVER go over there; I'm not much of a grave site person. But I went over there and said, "Hey Alfons...what do you think?" I sat on the bench to think some more and all I could think of was for my vision was "In 2012 I will be...a finally professed School Sister". Then I got really frustrated..."I'm here to think about MINISTRY" (Who's in charge here? The spirit? Oh no...I still try to put up a good fight.) I came up with nothing (except what I previously said) which then spiraled a whole series of thoughts. I hate being frustrated. And really...I'm a goal person. I have vision, I have a strong sense of mission...UNTIL THAT DAY. I was over the edge frustration...not a good "Katy combo".
So I was frustrated and all that was going through my head was, "I have no mission. I have no vision. Great, just great." Luckily, I had a couple people around that weekend who knew me well enough to remind me of somethings like, "Hey Katy...um...you're very consistent with your passion." With the little reminders and being "shook up" a bit...I got into action mode. I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT. Frustration turns into determination!
So the next day I took my three verbs and made a list (woo! I love lists!) of things that I wanted to be a part of creating, things I wanted to be a part of enlivening, and things that I wanted to explore and why. It became clearer to me that I have passions in two areas: Religious Life and Education. There were lots of connects between my core values and these "things I'd like to do". Now it was just figuring out how I can balance and give energy to both areas. Needless to say, I ended the weekend very positively! I was totally wiped out, but it was good.
Now...when anything shakes me up a bit...I know it's one of those LOVELY INVITATIONS to say, "Hmmm...what about this really shook me up?" So...it was good for me to think about these things and now...I get to chat with my people about them! Yahooooo!
Told you it was Juicy!
Now..two long posts today and I'm kaputt.