News from the Novice: Thoughts About Community and Charism
By Michelle Garlinski, SNJM
Well, it has been anything but boring since my return from retreat. Unfortunately, Sr. Cathy was admitted to hospital in August and she continues to struggle with health concerns. I try to visit her each day after work as the walk is good for me. We had our first death in over three years in the Manitoba Province last week. When in a smaller province, we certainly feel the pulls on the community resources in particular ways. God is always faithful!
Cathy being in the hospital has left me holding down the fort. So far, so good. I have had plenty of experience living on my own and so this has been easy enough to adjust to, although not my preference. It has forced me to confront some of the concerns I named before returning from California. It takes more effort and commitment from me to seek out opportunities to pray and gather with others in community. However, I believe this is an example of how we will have to live into being as a smaller congregation as the 34th Acts of General Chapter identified. An adventure in the Spirit, indeed!
My new position as Director of Charism and Mission is slowly unfolding. There are some projects on the horizon. One being the development and implementation of the Charism into each year (grades 7-12) of the Religion curriculum. This will include a foundational dimension (what do they need to know) and a functional dimension (how can they live it). It is nice to have someone in the department with me (the Coordinator of Campus Ministry) as we actually have department meetings! The meetings with the Boards will begin soon and I am sure there will of other projects coming. I have also started a ministry experience at a local agency called Oak Table. They are located just down the street in the basement of the neighborhood United Church. They offer lunch and community to those who are struggling with economic poverty, living with physical or mental illnesses or recently out of prison. This will hopefully be a weekly commitment for me, once some of the community realities settle.
I have enjoyed reconnecting with family, friends and my parish community since I have returned. It has been fun to enjoy some of the day-to-day experiences again. I am amazed at how people can carry such heavy burdens daily and still be so present to others. I really feel blessed to have such people in my life who model service and humility. We also had a community day a few weeks ago, which was a nice opportunity to see most of our Sisters and many Associates and celebrate a few 60th jubilees.
I continue to think of you often and hold you in prayer. I’m sure the fall routines are in full speed for you as well. I appreciate the regular connection with Sr. Beth and Sr. Carol. I was also delighted to hear that Angela has joined them on Arch Street. In case I haven’t mentioned it before – it is a great living community!
Until next time, I pray that our journey through this Year of Mercy may continue to be a sign of hope and love in a broken world.
Note: Michelle Garlinski was received as a novice of the Sisters of the Holy Names in July 2015. She spent her first year living and learning with Sisters at our Province’s welcome house in Berkeley, CA. This fall she began her missionary novice year at St. Mary’s Academy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. To learn more about becoming a Sister and the SNJM formation process, please click here.
In the photo: Novice reception ceremony for Michelle Garlinski in July 2015.