Monday, July 23, 2012

Tell Me a Story

As a newcomer to this community and blog space, I originally thought the best way to contribute would be to reflect on the many daily blessings and those challenges life continues to shower on/throw at me as a Sinsinawa Dominican candidate.  Events of the past weekend though, have taken me to a deeper contemplative space where I found the spirits of St. Dominic, Father Samuel, Catherine and so many other holy Dominican women and men quite alive, extremely well, and dancing up a storm! July 14/15 was Jubilee weekend, a celebration of the lives and ministries of 22 amazing women.  It was my great honor and privilege to help serve these holy servants, our sisters, and their guests.

Last year at this time, I was in the initial stages of formally discerning a call to religious life with the SDs.  I helped serve at the July, 2011 Jubilee but, quite frankly, remember very few other details, except that it was hot, there were a LOT of people with JOY to match the numbers!  A whirlwind of faces and activity that was a bit overwhelming to me, truthfully. This year it was hot, there were even more people it seemed, and even more JOY (if that’s possible!), GREAT music, GREAT liturgy, GREAT preaching!  This year’s events were so much more meaningful to me for so many reasons. What a privilege it was to witness the love, respect, admiration and joyful welcoming between and among so many amazing women and men!  The 22 Silver and Golden Jubilarians represented 1,025 years of loving service to God and humankind!!! Wow!! Add in the 35 other women celebrating 60, 70 and 75-year Jubilees, and that figure shoots up to 2,640 years total! Backing those years up one year at a time from today would find us in 528 BCE, the year Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment and began his ministry.  Again … WOW!!  The stories that were shared in formal settings as well as in small groups and in one-on-one discussions moved me to laughter and tears, admiration, deep gratitude and respect, as they always do. 

Recently, in a Dominican study circle I attend, a sister asked me if I was getting tired of hearing stories from and about my Dominican sisters?  Perhaps the best way to answer that question is with an old Indian proverb:  “Tell me a fact and I will learn.  Tell me a truth and I will believe.  But tell me a story and I will hold it in my heart forever.”  Hearing and holding these wonderful stories in my heart helps me to bridge our Dominican past to the present.  They impart wisdom and give me hope.  They should help us all to envision a great future. The stories never get old; their meaning is never lost. The lives whose histories they mark will always be cherished.

What stories are you writing with your life? How are you hearing those stories swirling around you?

Kathy Flynn, Candidate
Madison, Wisconsin

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