Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dr. Molar's Office

One of my favorite places to visit in my school is the 4 year-old Kindergarten room. There is always such great learning going on. The kids are adorable, very funny, and super creative. I have had special moments with this class since the beginning of the year and I think they get excited when I come to visit too!

The K4's have an imaginative play area that changes focus every couple weeks or so. These last two weeks they have been learning about teeth and dental health. Their play area last week was Dr. Molar's Dental Office! I received a special invitation to get my teeth assessed from Dr. Molar; so I made a special visit to the dentist office. (For those of you who really know me and my feeling about dentists....these pictures will amaze you! :-) ) And now without further adieu...

Sr. Katy's Visit To Dr. Molar's Office

I traveled down to the K4 room and I came in and announced, "I have a tooth ache! Does anyone know what I should do?" Thankfully, several of the Kindergartner's came to my assistance and gave me some good advice. They told me to go to Dr. Molar's office! At that...4 kids quickly went over to the office space and got on the appropriate outfits.

One of the students led me to the office and told me that Dr. Molar would take good care of me. I was greeted by Dr. Molar's hygienist who told me I could sit down. She said the first thing she had to do was clean my teeth. She did an excellent job! Then she got the tooth counter and counted them. At first she thought I only had 21 teeth, but her assistant quickly reminded her that I was a grown-up; she told me, "Oh...you have 32." Then her assistant (who was at the computer) clicked a few keys and told me that the pictures of my mouth were on the "web page" (pretty high tech if you ask me).

Then it was time for me to see Dr. Molar. He came in and greeted me. He looked in my mouth and his hygienist said, "I'm sorry that you need to get all of your bottom teeth removed." Concerned I replied, "All of my bottom teeth? Wow...I'm a little nervous about that." She said, "Oh they'll grow back," and then smiled and said, "Oops, your a grown-up they won't. Sorry Sister."

The assistant at the computer acknowledge that I was nervous and said, "What's your phone number? I'll call your mom because you are nervous." I was grateful and replied, "Oh thank you. My number is 555-1286 and my mom's name is Jill." He dialed and said, "Hi Jill, Sister Katy is in our office and she's scared can you come?" He hung up and reassured me that my mom, Jill will come and help me.

Then Dr. Molar and his hygienist made sure that I understood why it was so important to get all of these teeth removed! They showed me all of my broken teeth on the X-ray. Then it was time...the hygienist said she'd hold my hand and that it would only hurt a little bit. Dr. Molar put on the special glove and he removed all of my bottom teeth.

I thanked him and everyone else for taking such good care of me. The office assistant made sure to show me the teeth that were giving me trouble. "We'll get those all cleaned up for you, Sister Katy," he said. (And you don't think they listen when they go to the dentist!)

Dr. Molar said, "Don't forget to pay..that's what you have to do when you go to the dentist." I asked how much it cost and they couldn't agree if it was $4, $2, or if I receive free dental care, so they had a little conference. Finally the hygienist said to me, "I know...because it's Sister Katy I think we should pay her for coming to Dr. Molar's office." I made sure to tell her she should run for President someday with that health care plan!

Wow...such great dental care...I left with 1/2 of my teeth missing and they were paying me! I was very impressed with the attentiveness and care of the staff there. If I ever have problems with the teeth I have left...I'll make sure to come back!

The End

And that my friends...is one of the JOYS of being a principal...those kiddos make my days!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Community LIFE--sharing LIFE together...

When people ask me what about religious life attracts me...I can name several reasons why religious life is a fit for me. Being committed to a common mission, sharing a common spirituality, being connected on a global level to our Sisters across the world...those are just a few. When I was in my initial discernment process, I made the distinctions: I could work and be actively involved in my faith without being a vowed religious. Above all of these components it was the aspect of community life; sharing LIFE together which made a distinction in my call to religious life.

When I was in the novitiate, we were fortunate to have some classes in Franciscan spirituality. In a workshop on Evangelical Life (highlighting the uniqueness of the Franciscan charism), we learned that especially for those who are living vowed life as Franciscans, it is the relationship of community that is at our core. This is our energy force; where we are sustained, enlivened, and receive the energy we need to go out to minister and support our mission. WOW....no wonder I am so at home as a Franciscan!

As I continue to experience community life in many ways...my learning, integration, and love deepens. I'm starting to better conceptualize the integration that has already taken place these last 4 years of living in community and also articulate where I still need some work! :-) (G-R-O-W-T-H the ultimate in formation cliches...and yet so true I hate to admit it!)
So...what's important to me in community, as I continue to share life and this commitment of love with my Sisters? What have I learned?

What's important to me? It's important for me to live in a community where sharing LIFE in different ways is a priority. I have been blessed with this, in that in all of my different living configurations (and my groups with whom I don't physically reside) have committed to sharing LIFE; rather than living next to one another. It's important to me to have some balance between--shared group time and Katy-time. Even when it's difficult, I think it's important to be challenged and to challenge. Freedom is important, but also accountability. And finally...time to pray together and time to play together!

Community life...like any family or context has its ups and downs but it's that whole love thing again that helps me to say, "YES" every day. That is the best lesson I have learned so far.

So now that all of this reflecting is out...how about some pictures? I have had two wonderful opportunities to pray and play with my living groups! I thought the pictures and stories would be fun...


My living group (the one I actually reside with) has formal community night 2 times per month. This includes a nice meal, longer prayer--sometimes with some sharing, and a meeting or check-in type gathering. We take turns creating the prayers so that we get a change to experience our different styles. I really look forward to our community nights! Our group (and I'm the worst offender) is very busy and often aren't all together the 6 of us, so this time together is sacred time; it helps us grow together as a group and keep that community life at our core.

Because this configuration of people with whom I live is fairly new...we thought it was a great idea to take turns telling our life stories. Sr. Jan went first and shared with us highlights from her life up until the present. To the right, is a picture of Sr. Jan's family; the left picture is of Sr. Jan...awww how cute! Sr. Jan grew up in Milwaukee and also spent some of her religious life in the "West" (more mid-west, but that's what they called it in community back then. :) ) and big part of her ministry was served in Chicago as a lawyer. Sr. Jan also had been a high school teacher and a campus minister. Sr. Jan told us great stories of her many experiences...she's spunky and tried some pretty great things in her life (even tap dancing)! Here is a video clip of Sr. Jan telling a part of the beginning of her discernment story:

Honoring our individual stories, hearing the histories of my Sisters, and learning how and why we come together on this crazy journey of religious life is always such a great experience of prayer for me. I also think it's one of those moments where you grow closer together as a group; we've begun to create a common history.

My "other living group" is a group of Sisters whom we call the "White House Sisters"; they live in a white, farm house located on Alverno College's campus. I know I've blogged about the White House before, but I'm not sure that I've included pictures. I've known the White House Sisters for many years...since 1998 when I was an undergraduate student at the college. Long story short...I became an adjunct member of their living group in 2003ish when I began discerning (the second time) with the SSSFs. I'm usually with them Saturday nights for Mass and dinner and sometimes for other events too. For me...living religious life in the year 2008 means being creative in how one shares life with people. The White House Sisters have made me a welcome member of their group and I am so grateful to be a part of sharing life with them. Of course...we pray, share, discuss, and challenge one another too...another thing we do extremely well together is PLAY!

We wanted to do something really fun for 3 of the Sisters (Judeen, Joyce, and Marlene) who celebrated a milestone birthday in the last few months. We decided to host one of those "do-it-yourself" mystery theatre parties! It was a riot. Sr. Judeen and I cooked up a storm, everyone came in costume and played their parts amazingly well. It was just fun, fun, fun! We invited our friends Fr. Bill and Br. Paul to join us for this special evening. To the left (in character and costume of course) we have Br. Paul (Mark Lester--the "host"--serious and sneaky...very funny!), Sr. Marlene (Christine--a lazyish, spoiled girl...we loved her eye rolling throughout the evening), and Sr. Mary (Dorthy Mae--she was clairvoyant...and did a great job convincing us!) Then of course we had "Big Bill" the Texan oil man complete with cowboy hat and all! He was a hoot...and vacillated between several accents throughout the night; he had us laughing and laughing! Then there was Florence (Sr. Kathleen) and Candy (Sr. Judeen) with her beautiful blonde locks! Not the culprit of the evening's crime, but very convincing in their dedication to their roles. Finally, we had Sr. Liz playing the part of Roberta, Mark's best friend. Sr. Joyce was Eleanor...quiet and reserved...could we trust her? And me...in the dazzling red dress, playing the part of Desiree, complete with German accent the whole evening!

Here are some other pictures of the evening:

We even gave out some awards: Best costume (Candy), Best Actor (Desiree), and Funniest person (Big Bill)! And finally....the group shot.

Yes...fun was had by all. And...this is not our "typical" weekend gathering of having fun...usually it's a movie, game of cards, or an intense discussion. But celebrating is an important part of our life together too...and I'm not the only "Fun Nun" around! :-) Great experiences of community...and a little reflecting to go with it. All different reminders and recommitting that "Yes" for me everyday...

Praying, Playing...peace and all good!