June 29, 2017
By Michelle Garlinski, SNJM

As I gather my thoughts to compose this News from the Novice, I am appreciating the smells of spring (minus the allergies) and longer hours of daylight. Thank you, God! At the same time, my heart aches as I watch the news reports of the ongoing acts of violence that ravage our world.

So many things happening in such a short time. I have successfully moved into my new apartment, with the assistance of my “moving team” (whom I highly recommend), though they have warned me that this should not be an annual event. Within the first 24 hours I had 90% of the boxes emptied and the kitchen organized. Admittedly, I ran out of steam and the last 10% has taken me longer to manage than the first 90%.

Following the move, I departed for Longueuil. It was an opportunity to share our sacred sites with four staff members from St. Mary’s Academy-Winnipeg. The Charism and Mission office at SMA has taken the initiative to invite staff to deepen their understanding of the charism and grow in their faith. Based on overwhelming interest by staff and the extremely positive experience of the first group, we hope to repeat this in the next school year.

It was wonderful to have Sister Carol Fleitz visit in early June. She was welcomed by the SMA community, our Sisters and even with warm weather! No sooner were the sheets washed than Sister Beth arrived for a lovely five-day visit. She attended the Jubilee celebration for Sister Cathy Laviolette (postponed from the fall) and although it was not her first visit here, we managed to include a few new Winnipeg highlights. The California visitors were wonderful about keeping themselves busy or just enjoying some quiet time while I went off to work. The Charism and Mission Office did not slow down even as the end of the school year approached.

My summer is going to be very exciting. I depart for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on July 12 for a retreat with Fr. Ron Rolheiser, which is offered to religious in Canada who are age 55 and under. It is hard to believe a dream that took root last May during my prayer time has become a reality. A group of 22 participants will gather from many regions of Canada, representing various religious communities.  Following this, I will be in California visiting the Novitiate House and attending the gathering of Sisters who entered after 1970 in Santa Cruz. I am feeling very blessed to be invited to join these women. Immediately after Santa Cruz, I will travel to Chicago for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Leadership Institute for new Mission Officers. I am looking forward to adding some tools to the box as I prepare for my second year in this role.

I am confident that this summer will also provide opportunities for me to enter the quiet. I am eager and grateful to have this time to be with God, to listen deeply and attentively to the inner voice of the Spirit. The God of Surprises always makes me smile! I ask that you pray for and with me this summer knowing, “that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion.”

I am writing as we welcome the summer solstice. May this season offer all of us moments of re-creation and rest for body, mind and spirit.

Blessed be the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, now and forever!

Note: Michelle Garlinski was received as a novice of the Sisters of the Holy Names in July 2015. During her first year living with Sisters at our Province’s welcome house in Berkeley, CA, she began sharing her journey through a series of “News from the Novice” letters. She is spending in 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: Sister Michelle (on left) sits with staff members from St. Mary’s Academy as they read “Pilgrimage of the Heart” study materials about the life and ministry of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher.