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Volume 1, Issue 2

November 2011

Stream ~ Lines E-News from CSA Office of Vocation Discernment

From Texas to the Appalachian Trail! I suppose that any mention of the State of Texas immediately calls to mind cowboys– the football team as well – and austere desert landscapes, cattle drives, the Rio Grande River, the Houston Astros baseball team, and visions of acres of the State Flower, the Bluebonnet, covering rolling hillsides. During the past year, I have been in communication with a young woman who is very familiar with these wonderful “down home” elements of Texas along with all its grand hospitality. Let me introduce Lauren, who is from the Houston, TX, area and recently graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio http://www.uiw.edu. One of her many goals beyond graduation was to visit CSA in September. Over the summer, she worked at Yellowstone National Park and eventually followed the trail east across the Mississippi to Fond du Lac, WI, at the end of September. I created a “Let’s Get Acquainted with CSA” travel itinerary introducing Lauren to many sisters, their ministries, stories of call, and CSA’s mission as it is lived out in our everyday lives. It was through meals, prayer, liturgy, and visits to all sorts of sites that Lauren became familiar with CSA and how we “walk the talk.” Since Lauren has a deep interest and passion in regard to social justice issues, we drove to CORE/El Centro in

Milwaukee to meet with Sisters Madeline and Pat. CORE is a “nonprofit organization that offers individuals of all income levels access to natural healing therapies.” Sister Pat gave us a grand tour and shared with us the history, purpose, present work, and future goals of their ministry. We were introduced to their many volunteers and were able to observe some of the daily activities that their site offers http://coreelcentro.org. It was hard to leave and Lauren felt “at home” with all its various works and people. Lauren has presently made her way to Detroit to be with relatives and hopes to earn money to carry out her next goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine which is roughly 2,180 miles, passing through 14 states http:// www.appalachiantrail.org. continued on page 2...

“You must mightily believe that beneath the noise is a call to a deeper life that only you can respond to in the unique ways that your gifts allow and your life path has led you.” John P. Schuster, “Answering Your Call”


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One of the features of the trail is “Trail Angels.” These are individuals who perform random acts of kindness to the hikers by providing food, beverages, and/or transportation to them when needed. I would like to think that CSA has been a “Trail Angel” for Lauren as she prepares to make her journey east, but also as she continues to discern a call to religious life. I wish to thank all the CSA “Trail Angels” who provided hospitality, laughter, time, and presence to Lauren during her visit. Submitted by Sister Jean Hinderer, CSA

L to R: Sister Pat, Lauren, Sister Madeline, Sister Mary Rose

NRVC Region 7 “Gen X, Y, and a White Rose” On October 10-12, 2011, Sister Sue and I attended the National Religious Vocation Conference Region 7 Meeting in Frankfort, Illinois. One of our presenters was Lauren Gaffey, Program Coordinator for Charis Ministries. Charis Ministries www.charisministries.org is a Jesuit ministry to young adults who are in their 20s and 30s. A ministry of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus, they offer retreats, leadership development, and formation activities that bring the gifts of Ignatian Spirituality to the lives of young adults. Lauren’s presentation focused on the characteristics of young adults today. She presented a PowerPoint that identified them as “Digital Natives” in contrast to the “Digital Immigrants” that some of us who are reading this article may be considered. These young adults are:  “Natives” born after 1980  Global interaction – distinctions disappear  Always online - identities blur  Culture of sharing – personal information, ideas  Creative, not passive users Page 2

 Peer collaboration  Learn by browsing - surface knowledge

She further presented how these young adults would define church:  Like being Catholic  Say sacraments and devotion to Mary essential  Pray, and consider themselves spiritual  Proud of the global dimension of the Church, its

social mission, and charitable works Young adult Catholics are not angry, just distanced/ disinterested.  Not sure what is distinctive about the faith  Believe they can define Catholicism on their own

terms

 Want their children taught the faith but only for

moral formation

 Don’t feel welcomed and may not attend

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Much discussion came from her presentation. For further viewing of her PowerPoint, go to the Charis Ministries website, click on Resources & Links, and look for the link at the bottom entitled, What’s Love Got to do With It? Our concluding presentation of the day was by two young adults, Amy and John, who are members of the White Rose Catholic Worker House in Chicago, which was founded by three students of Loyola University of Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies. www.luc.edu/ips Both Amy and John presented how they are committed to the mission of the Catholic Worker movement www.catholicworker.org/index.cfm which is grounded in the belief in the “God-given dignity of every human person.” Their message expressed their ongoing commitment to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and “hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken.” They also stated how living in community gives them support to carry out their other activities such as protesting injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms. Amy concluded by saying, “Living in community teaches me to be human.” John ended by stating, “My gifts were meant for others; faith has called me to confront injustice, to stand up for the poor, and to care for creation.” Other facts, links, and volunteer opportunities can be found on the Catholic Worker home page. Submitted by Sister Jean Hinderer, CSA

Connections to Discernment Virtual Discernment Retreat www.ihmsisters.org Discover Your Talents with the Story of Your Life Sister Sue, CSA, and Sister Teresa, OP

Presenters Amy and John

“The Story of My Life - Millennial Version helps a person reflect on the talents and strengths he or she has in spirituality, relationship, and leadership.” The Story of My Life is a ready-made survey of 96 statements for you to describe yourself your background, experience, expertise, goals for life, thoughts about leadership, and understanding of God. After completing the survey, you will receive instant results that identify your gifts in leadership, relationships, and spirituality. This is a very helpful tool for vocation discernment. Go to www.vocations.com and click on the link tab “Religious Life.”

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Holy Family “Mini Vocation Fair” A “mini” vocation fair is a great program that offers parishes the opportunity to have the vocation promoter from CSA present before and after mass on the weekend. We bring all of the information about CSA to the site and “meet and greet” folks. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with everyone from the little children who love the pencils to the grandparent who remembers “Sister so and so” as a teacher. More than vocation promotion, it is an opportunity to share with everyone our CSA story and who we are today. This past weekend, October 22 and 23, we held just such a fair at Holy Family Parish in Fond du Lac www.hffdl.org. Fourteen sisters staffed tables at all of the Holy Family Parish sites. In addition, ten sisters gave “witness talks” prior to the twelve masses. At the Holy Family liturgies, Father Bob Stiefvater referred to the Sisters of St. Agnes as the “back bone” of Fond du Lac. He also praised CSA for the professionalism with which we conduct ourselves in our mission to be of service to the Gospel. This positive response was echoed by the many people who stopped to share their experiences of CSA in Fond du Lac. Thank you to everyone who helped to make the Holy Family “mini” vocation fair a success. If you would like to bring our fair to your parish, please contact Sister Susan Seeby at sseeby@csasisters.org. Submitted by Sister Sue Seeby, CSA

Right front: Sister Emily; Right back: Sister Mary Martin

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Prayer of Discernment God of My Life God of my life, I give you thanks and praise that I have life, and that my life is filled with touches of your love. You have given me a heart that wants to be happy, and you have placed in me a desire to make a difference.

CSA Out-n-About! By Sister Madeline, CSA “I believe call is so important. Call is inherent to all of us. I believe each of us is called to live a life that ignites a fire within, to live our passion or our life dream. Religious life has been that for me. It has truly been a blessing and honor to live my call to a life of service with CSA.”

Quiet the fears and distractions of my heart long enough for me to listen to the movement of your Spirit, to hear your gentle invitation. Reveal to me the choices that will make me happy. Help me to discover my identity. Let me understand how best to use the gifts you have so lovingly lavished upon me in preparation for our journey together. And give me the courage to choose you as you have chosen me. God, let me know myself and let me know you. In this is my happiness. (With permission from the Augustinians of the Mid-West)

L to R: Sister Madeline, CSA, co-founder and co-executive director of CORE /El Centro in Milwaukee with Sister Pat, CSA, development director. www.core-elcentro.org

http:// www.midwestaugustinians.org/ vocatprayer.html

Will You “Like” Us? Follow us on CSA Facebook www.facebook.com/csasisters and click the “like” button

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Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes Vocation Discernment Office 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937 920.907.2310 vocations@csasisters.org


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Undercover Work: Grace Abounds “Sister Edith Prendergast, R.S.C., stirs readers’ enthusiasm and fires their imaginations in Grace Abounds: A Call to Awaken and Renew Your Faith, an inspiring set of reflections on faith and the call to serve one another in the Church and the world. Catechists, priests, DREs, and teachers will gain inspiration and encouragement in Prendergast’s compelling spiritual vision and find in her an inspiring example of leadership with her skilled use of scripture, the saints and mystics, and contemporary writers and poets. She also draws from the little epiphanies of ordinary, everyday life—be they the words of a child or the insights of a homeless man. With a spirit of reverence and delight, each reflection harmonizes a host of voices that both inspire and energize her readers.” www.avemariapress.com

CSA STATEMENT OF MISSION We, the Sisters of St. Agnes, participate in the mission of Christ by joyful service in the Church, always aware that we, too, are among the needy and are enriched by those we serve. Inspired by our founders—by the missionary zeal of Father Caspar Rehrl, the courageous initiatives of Mother Agnes Hazotte, and the spiritual influence of Father Francis Haas—we continue to respond in our own times to those whose faith life or human dignity is threatened. Rooted in Christ through prayer and worship we serve in both rural and urban settings throughout the United States and in Latin America. We strive to minister with simplicity and hospitality in the fields of education, health care, pastoral ministry and social service. We are committed to transformation of the world, the church, and ourselves through promoting • • • 

systemic change for the quality of life justice for the economically poor furtherance of the role of women in church and society mutuality, inclusivity, and collaboration.

Love binds us together, and by sharing our lives and our faith in community, we support one another to live with singleness of purpose: that among us and in our world the Risen Christ be discovered and revealed. 1990

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