Sunday, June 15, 2008
Training...Thoughts from Maggie
So, I flew into Baltimore International Airport on a Tuesday to be picked up by hopefully someone. I did not know who was picking me up and I only had a number and a name to call. I landed and right away called Jessica, who I had only had contact with less than a handful of times. She informed me that she would be there to pick me up shortly. After I gathered my one small suitcase that was going to sustain me for 2 months, I walked outside to find my ride. One problem, I did not tell Jessica what I looked like, nor did I have any idea what she looked like or what she was driving. Thankfully we found each other right as I walked out the doors, and a familiar face got out of the car! I was so excited because with Jessica was one of my fellow associate friends from the Friars!
On our first day together we went to mass in the crypt at the National shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. It was awesome! As it turns out this shrine is our finish line as well! Everything should start and end with our Lady! The next day began training, which consisted of a visit to a local convent of the Missionaries of Charity. If you don't know, the Missionaries of Charity were founded by Blessed Mother Theresa, who was and still is wonderful! There we all were assigned to different random jobs, and I have to argue that I had the best job!
I was lucky enough to work between two sisters and hand wash the clothing of the sick elderly tenants (from what I gathered many of them had HIV). While washing the clothing there was no conversation, only praying. We went through a few sets of the mysteries of the rosary, and they asked me to lead a couple times! It was such a humbling experience and so beautiful at the same time. Those women have so much love in their hearts that you can feel it radiating from their person without them having conversation.
Things continued to get even better, because the next day we went to a private training session with Christopher West on Theology of the Body. It was awesome; I learned so much and had many questions of Catholic teachings answered! It is amazing how well he can put things into perspective, such as contraception, abortion and premarital sex and how these are all negatively affecting today's society and marriage as we currently know it.
From there we went to St. Vincent's Abby which was amazing! I was able to go to adoration each morning at 5am! Loved it! We listened to many talks given by brilliant Benedictine Monks, and continued to grow as a group and as individuals. We were there for almost an entire week. During that week we also spent our evenings with wonderful families and had some really great times such as: building giant bonfires, riding horses, jumping on trampolines with small children, and swinging from ropes! It was so much fun interacting with such loving parents and children!
Then we went to Brooklyn NY, which is where I go to school! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a beautiful monastery there, and we were lucky enough to spend the weekend at this magnificent place. That was where we meet Sister Precious! She was so cute, her name was not really Sister Precious but she called herself that because it was a nickname given to her by some of the other sisters. She had been a nun for 60 plus years and did not look a day over the age of 65! So, she must have known at a very young age that God was calling her to religious life! No, but really she was filled with so much joy and love for Christ that she remained so youthful. We took a vote and decided that we should bring her along for the trip and she could ride "shot gun" or, as Andi would say "St. Andrew"! Oh, and when her cell phone rang (yes she has a cell phone and she is a cloistered nun!) she answered, "Here I am Lord" with a giggle. The funniest part was that the phone call was from another sister who was down the hall looking for her. They were very funny little old nuns, and hold a special place in our hearts!
So, that was pretty much our 2 weeks of training from my perspective! It was awesome, hard and very tiring, but we made it though and are a stronger group for it!
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.