Fun (and Quick) Invitation to Join My Sisters

A fun invitation to join an online Catholic community online, hosted by the #MediaNuns:  My Sisters

My Sisters is an online community devoted to helping you meet Christ and experience his love in your daily life. Created by the religious sisters of the Daughters of Saint Paul, My Sisters is a portable and accessible “sacred space” for asking the big questions, exploring the faith, and nurturing your identity as God’s beloved one, no matter where you are in your walk with the Lord. Find out more at: http://www.mysisters.blog

 

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What Is It REALLY Like To Be a #MediaNun ?

It has been a long time since I have been able to post regularly; I am looking forward to doing it again soon!

In the meantime, our Mission Campaign and Live Rosary Novena to Our Lady of Fatima, which is running from Oct. 5-13th, will offer many “inside glimpses” of religious life as lived by my community, the Daughters of Saint Paul. Every day, our Ask a Catholic Nun Facebook Page, and our fundraiser website www.pauline.org/TheWordHeals will have at least two new stories from our sisters about how the Word of God has changed lives, as well as sneak previews of some of our newest evangelization projects!

In addition, you can pray with us at the following times, or on your own:

If you are too busy with everything else, download our Novena Prayer, written by Sr. Julia Darrenkamp, FSP, and pray with us. (Sr. Julia is a wonderful advisor on the next great spiritual read who is also very active on Instagram as srjulia . )

Media as Discernment Opportunity!

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Another obstacle to deeper listening that is particular to our times is the constant blitz of media messages that is almost impossible to avoid. Cell phones that are always on mean that anyone with our number (such as our boss) always has a way to reach us; having a smart phone or computer means that we can check our email not just twice but twenty or thirty times a day; engaging with social media like twitter or instagram means that constant interruptions in our day, our lives, and even our conversations, has become the norm; advertisements, which serve not our needs but the greed of unbridled capitalism, continue to deceive, invade, and intrude into our every day life. Media are widely misused in ways that undercut the dignity of its viewers and listeners, presenting people as commodities to be used, rather than as sacred persons created in the image of God. Many media messages today promote revenge, violence, hatred, lust, materialism, prejudice, error, illusions about happiness, and sensationalism. The constant availability of entertainment online, and the growth of tablets, wi-fi, and internet access, means we can constantly gratify our desire to be entertained because we are not limited to reading the books on our bookshelf. Even music on our cell phones can limit our connection to self by filling our walking silence or daily drives with music. Digital media “fill the cracks” or spaces in our lives that used to be free for reflection, silence, or just being present to one’s self.

As a Daughter of Saint Paul who is blogging a book about discernment and occasionally tweets about it, I don’t just enjoy digital technology and the possibilities that the internet offer for connection. I value the media in general and digital media in particular for the ways they help us to connect with one another, build up the solidarity of the human community, and for their potential for evangelization. The media are awesome avenues where God’s grace can reach people in ways both new and old! But for me personally, the key to how I choose to use the media is being mindful about it—in a way that assists my prayer life,  discernment, and relationships, rather than becoming obstacles to them.

Especially as an introvert, I easily become scattered or distracted if I have constant “noise” in my life. I couldn’t possibly make the time to use every form of media available to me. Every form of media, and each social network I join, is for a specific purpose that I have prayed about. In using media, I seek to practice the principles of discernment. The use of media is an integrated part of my day and often part of my relationships. I’m also not afraid to disconnect: I turn off my cell phone when I enter the chapel for adoration or Mass, and keep it off during my retreats, whether they’re monthly one-day retreats or annual eight-day retreats.

Here are a few questions that I ask myself about daily priorities that are helpful in thinking about my use of media from within the context of daily life:

  • Am I always “online” or “connected” all day long, every day? Every evening? Seven days a week? How often do I give myself breaks from the frequent interruption or stimulation provided by the smartphone?
  • How much silence do I need or want every day or every week to be able to pray, to remain aware of my own thoughts and feelings, to be “at my best”? (This answer varies widely according to individuals.)
    • Do I feel my life is in balance, that I give the most attention to the most important people and parts of my life?
    • Where (and with whom) do I want to spend more time?
    • Where (or with whom) do I want to spend less time?
  • How do I choose to spend my time: with God, with family and loved ones, with work, with myself (including silent time taken to nurture myself and to relax).
  • How do I use various media at home, at work, in my relationships and throughout my day? What purpose does each form of media serve in my life? What purpose do I want each form to serve?
  • Smart phone
    • Calls
    • Texts
    • Messages
    • Retrieving information
    • Apps
    • Podcasts
  • Social media (go through each platform I use, whether on my computer and/or smartphone)
  • Music
  • TV/internet streaming/movies
  • Video games
  • Any other computer use: surfing, chat, research, etc.
  • How can I see using each form of media to help me grow in my relationship with God, with myself, and with others? Do I need to make changes, set limits, or add media to my life in order to live God’s invitations? (e.g. How often do I check my Twitter feed? Two of my favorite podcasts help me to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or reflect on or pray with Sunday’s Scripture readings. Two of my  most-used apps is the Catholic News Agency and the Pope App, which keep me informed about religious issues, and also give me endless prayer intentions. Or, in my love for film, do I balance what I watch: occasionally a popcorn flick, often an independent film that is spiritually enriching or helps me understand certain issues. Some people give up Facebook or movies for Lent. Others don’t check their email over the weekend or in the evenings.)

How do you use media to assist you in your discernment journey? I’d love to hear your thoughts about how using the media and technology in your daily life affects your spiritual life, and how your relationship with God affects your use of media.

More on Alberione: “Vibrant Media Apostle”

It’s a delight to be able to share with you so many resources on the Pauline spirit and our lives as consecrated Daughters of St. Paul. Just after I posted yesterday’s update from our interview on CatholicTV, I found out about Sr. Sean Marie David’s interview on New York’s Net TV about our new film on Blessed James Alberione, Media Apostle: The Father James Alberione Story. She does a fantastic job explaining about our charism and our Founder:

 

How Are You Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life?

CTVlogoSo much has been going on, I’m taking a quick break from my regular discernment post to share some of the good news:

We are so blessed to have been invited by Catholic TV to come in for a show about the Year of Consecrated Life, and what we’re doing to celebrate it (and our centenary year of the founding of the Daughters of Saint Paul).

http://www.catholictv.com/shows/this-is-the-day/consecrated-life-daughters-saint-paul

Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé talks about the anniversary edition of arguably the most beautiful document on religious life: Vita Consecrata by St. John Paul II, and I talk about our centenary year and all the great things we’re doing for the 100th “birthday” of the Daughters of Saint Paul–100 years of media evangelization, 100 years of living and communicating Christ, our Way, Truth, and Life! Here are a few–a comprehensive list will go up on our www.pauline.org website soon!

BOSTON AREA

  • World Communications Day Mass for communication arts professionals in the New England area on May 17, 2015, at our convent chapel here in Boston with CatholicTV’s own Father Robert Reed: www.pauline.org/WCDMass
  • Centenary Mass of Thanksgiving on June 14, 2015, with Cardinal Séan O’Malley at St. Theresa of Avila Parish in West Roxbury, MA. (RSVPs requested at: fspcentenary@gmail.com

NEW YORK AREA

  • Day of Recollection and Centenary Mass of Thanksgiving on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, June 6, at Holy Family Parish, New York, NY. (Email me if you’re interested in more information.)

ONLINE & MEDIA

DiscernItIcon_largerI was privileged to help in a small way with developing our Discern It! App, which we created for discerners for this Year of Consecrated Life. I’ve mentioned it here before, but on the show I have a chance to show a few screenshots and explain how helpful it can be–not just as a novena for when someone is at the beginning of their vocational discernment, but also for helping them through some of the most challenging moments of their discernment, with wise advice offered:

  • from the Scripture
  • from sisters’ experience of how Jesus speaks to us in prayer
  • from journaling and follow-up prompts
  • from your prayer and time with Jesus
  • from audio clips from wise vocations director, Sr. Margaret Michael

The Discern It! App offers real accompaniment for anyone discerning their vocation, and it’s free to download and use–for iOS and Android. 

 

final_ycl_logo_en_newOur interview ended with a request for our thoughts on the Year of Consecrated Life. Personally, I want to make this year a year of gratitude to God for the gift of my vocation as a consecrated religious. I also want to use it:

  • as an opportunity to thank the sisters, brothers, and priests who so generously make a gift of themselves in religious consecration
  • a time to focus my prayer for young people: that this year highlighting religious life will encourage young people to be open to God’s call to the religious life
  • a way to encourage parents and others who will encourage young people to consider religious life as a real possibility for their future