Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A postulant's take on community life...

People often ask me, “What is the best things bout the convent?” Without hesitation I am able to reply, “Community Life.”
Then follows the inevitable question, “So, what’s the worst thing?” To which I can reply with the same vigor, “Community life.”
Both answers are totally true. Even our founder, Bl. James Alberione, says that community life well lived is one of our (the Daughters of St. Paul) three main penances…but it also is to be one of our greatest joys and consolations.
St. Louis Community 2012
            I’ve experienced this to be true from living in a community of 10 in St. Louis. We are definitely each other’s greatest trials AND each other’s greatest joys… and frequently it’s happening simultaneously! Sometimes I find myself siting in chapel wondering why I live in community after a day of constant correction and catering to someone else’s needs. Then only a minute later I’ll find that one of my sisters has done something kind for me for absolutely no reason. It was only a small action but it was done simply out of love. More often I find these small instances of love to be the norm around the convent.
Often it’s very little things, like someone taking time out of their busy day to help me or to answer my questions, or folding my laundry before I get to the drier, or leaving a note on my door to let me know that I’m being prayed for. I sometimes see sisters doing little things for each other and it makes me smile. It’s often little, simple things but it’s truly beautiful to see the amount of love that is poured out everyday in the ordinary, mundane tasks of life.
Cookies are a very important part of community life! :) 
Just the other day, I saw one of the sisters here in Boston taking one of the older sisters outside for a walk. One sister is always making sure that the honey bottle is filled even though I know she never uses the honey. People are constantly wiping up spills and picking things up off the floor out of love for the community. It’s beautiful to watch love in action. Most of the time you aren’t sure who just made your life a lot easier or a little better, so my little solution is to turn around and share the same sisterly love with another member of the community.
Now I know I’ve just made the convent sound like a little paradise…so don’t be fooled! We definitely do things that drive each other up walls…but that happens in every family I suppose. It seems to me, that even though we can drive each other a little batty sometimes, the love and joy FAR outweigh the small annoyances.
It’s in the trials that we learn to grow, and it is love… a deep love… that unites us together.   
This is our life. This is our joy.
Thank God for community.