We've been on the road quite a bit lately bringing the Good News to people far and wide. One of the neat things we get to do as postulants is participate in parish and conference exhibits. Like St. Paul we traverse the globe (or wherever we are at) to bring the Gospel through our books, music, DVDs, etc. Recently we had parish exhibits in Florissant at St. Angela Merici's and at the Adult Formation conference in Springfield, Illinois. It was an exciting experience for me to see so many friends at the conference who I knew from my school days in Champaign :-) Last weekend, Laura and I accompanied Sr. Donna to Leawood, Kansas to bring share the Word at Church of the Nativity (http://www.kcnativity.org/) which had over 2000 families! Needless to say, our experience there was grace-filled and the people received us so well - we were sold out of the different titles that we recommended during our pulpit talks! Through our exhibit experiences, we touch the ardent need in peoples' lives to experience God in their various life circumstances. It is so evident: when we have tasted the goodness of Jesus, it is just too good to keep it to ourselves...
We had a great time recently at a local radio station when we went to record our Annual Baby Jesus party ad to go on air soon. After a brief tour of Covenant Network (http://www.covenantnet.net/), we got down to recording the ad as well as a short interview on the party and our community. We usually get over 100 families coming to our party! The Baby Jesus party is a wonderful reminder during this busy season to keep Jesus as the reason for the season. We hope many will join us as we celebrate Jesus' birth at our store (www.pauline.org/Locations/StLouisMO/tabid/225/Default.aspx) in less than three weeks! Blessed Advent, Jackie.
Where are you from? This is always the most difficult question for me to answer. The short answer is that I am basically half American and half English. I was born in California but grew up mainly in Europe; in Italy and England. I have also spent significant amounts of time in Amsterdam, Houston, TX and Bosnia. Odd combination I know. My favourite place I have travelled to is Lebanon. It is a truly beautiful country and culture.
How old are you? I just turned 29 this past October.
When did you enter the Daughters of St. Paul? I entered the community with Cheryl and Theresa on September 1st, 2010.
Where did you go to school? Well, since we moved a lot I attended many different schools but for college I went to Rice University in Houston, TX. I graduated from there with a bachelor degree in music. I absolutely loved it there and would highly recommend this school for any of you that are searching for potential universities.
What do you like to do professionally and for fun? I suppose the answer to both those questions is I love to play music. Before entering I was an orchestral musician working in London. I play the viola and love playing all kinds of music; chamber music, orchestral music, ethnic music, jazz....and I especially love playing music for prayer settings. God gave us such an amazing, rich, and beautiful gift in music and it can be used in such a powerful way as an instrument of his love, his peace, his gentleness, and just simply as an instrument of his presence. I also love taking walks and enjoying nature. I especially love trees and never cease to be amazed by their beauty, their strength, their variety in color (even when they are all green :), and the detail in each one. I also never cease to appreciate the beauty with which they reflect the sun's light. What else do I enjoy?... well as my sister says 'we all know that you enjoy a good movie.' This is true, I do very much enjoy movies. I also just really love people. I love to meet new people, work with people, play music with other people, talk with and get to know people, and get to know different cultures. I suppose that leads me to another thing that I love: travelling. I also do enjoy reading very much, even though I am a distracted reader which makes me slow. But I do treasure the time I get for spiritual reading. There are many more things but I am sure that I am beginning to bore you so I will leave it there for now.
How did you meet the Daughters of St. Paul? Well the short answer is actually that I met them through 'Vision' magazine. The longer answer is that I have thought about religious life since I was about 16 but for various reasons it didn't feel like the right time until recently. Over the years I tried my best to give my life to the Lord in whatever situation he placed me in and followed the musical opportunities that came. At the same time I asked the Lord to guide me and to give me the grace and strength to follow whatever path he laid out for me. As the time came when it seemed as though I should discern my vocation more seriously my mother found a Vision magazine and passed it on to me. I must say that while I was excited, I was even more overwhelmed by the number of religious orders there are in existence. I wondered how I could possibly even begin to find out which one might be for me as I could obviously not go visit them all, or even talk to them all. The good thing is that there is an online survey on Vision magazine's website that asks you various questions about your spiritual life and then matches you up with various orders according to their spirituality and mission statement. After completing that survey I decided to start by looking into the first five on the list. The Daughters of St. Paul happened to be number two. I found that as I started to read more on their website, I couldn't stop reading. As I got to know them better I found that being with them, following their life, and learning from them really brought me in to a closer relationship with Jesus and inspired me to want to grow more and to want to bring this gift to others. So a year later, here I am. The Daughters of St. Paul carry with them an amazing spirit of joy that is contagious. They are also beautiful and strong messengers and missionaries of the Gospel and Jesus' presence in the Word. So, if you have a yearning to bring Jesus to others; his love, his joy, and his truth, then I urge you to come and see.
This Saturday, November 13 we are having "Lunch with the Postulants"! Hope you can join us for lunch, a tour of the convent, Eucharistic Adoration, some fun and games :-) We will start with lunch at 12:30pm. Hope you can make it...see you then!
Our spirituality is awesome. It focuses on Jesus our Divine Master. From Him we learn how to love, shepherd, intercede, minister...pretty much everything that Jesus did and does even today! Well, as Paulines, we celebrate the Feast of the Divine Master on the last Sunday in October. It was a feast indeed, with special prayers and time of Eucharistic Adoration. Sr. Raymond Marie, one of our sisters who was visiting from our Motherhouse in Boston, led us into a beautiful time of prayer where we invited our Master to bless our convent and different parts of our apostolate. We had a solemn procession through the different parts of our convent and Jesus blessed them (as if to say: may they be fruitful, "multiply", and give glory to God!). We then reverently thanked the Lord for His Word in different ways (e.g. kissed the Bible, touched it with our forehead, etc). Of course in addition to prayer, we had a special banquet where everyone chipped in to make different foods for the feast. We had a wonderful day! Jesus is the heart of what we do and are as Paulines. We live that He may truly live in us; that like our father St. Paul we pray: may Christ be formed in me. Its beautiful...its simply amazing!
We've been keeping busy the past couple of weeks :-) We just completed a two-week workshop on Media Literacy with Sr. Margaret Michael, our national vocation director. One would think that media and its impact on our lives just began the other day...not exactly! Actually, it was REALLY neat to learn how the Church's discussions on media and our culture have been going on for decades! Anyway, point taken, we took a journey to explore how the arts and the media of our time can be used to bring people closer to God. One of the exercises we did was the "Symbolic Way" where we got up pretty early and watched the beauty of the sunrise, God's creation of a new day. It was a profoundly spiritual encounter with God - we were moved deeply in different ways. We brought our "movements" to Jesus in our Holy Hour and this provided for an even more grace-filled encounter with God. Other parts of the seminar involved watching movies (or clips) and learning how to analyze them, seeing the messages and themes presented etc (pretty much disecting the movie!). We also learned quite a bit about our Founder, Blessed James Alberione and his vision of using the media to bring all to Christ. It was all good stuff. Certainly, there is still so much to do to bring the message of Christ's love to our world...and how beautiful and variant the means God has given us to do it!!