discovery - Related Content

Sister Amy's 6 Word Story of Hope

Thursday, June 4th 2020 11:10 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

Discerning action, spreading strength in times of great need

Hope is more than a word: it is an invisible, nutrient-dense reservoir of strength, resiliency and creativity. Hope holds the dichotomy of present unrest and future peace. It is the hardy root of our prayer reaching deep into relationship with God who helps to nourish the brave new tendrils of growth. Sharing hope with one another germinates new possibilities. The winds of collaboration carry the precious, newly-formed seeds to new places, transforming the landscape of our world.

This Show me a sign blog post is the first in the new series "6 Word Stories of Hope" that features inspiration shared by many Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Their stories reflect FSPA's mission and vision, "prayer, witness and service," so critical to us all in this time of uncertainty.

We invite you to take their words of wisdom with you as you face each new day, opening yourself to new possibilities.

And perhaps these 6 Word Stories will enlighten you to discernment of religious life.

Stay tuned for more Show me a sign 6 Word Stories.

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link,, and join the conversation.

Discovery in discernment: breakthroughs of mind and heart

Thursday, January 11th 2018 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

Image courtesy

I am fascinated with the brains of scientist and inventors. What keeps them in the lab testing and retesting and searching for the answers they long for? How do they resist boredom? How do they deal with feelings of failure? How does their determination lead them to take risks that most others would not even consider, all in the name of research? Do they draw a line in the sand? 

What I am certain about science, however, is that such curiosity can spark new ideas, leads to life-changing discovery. Revelation begins with a single question that evolves along the way by:

-    Experimenting, testing new theories.
-    Recording findings.
-    Looking for patterns.
-    Observing discrepancies in the data.
-    Consulting experts.
-    Making adjustments along the way.
-    Pondering.
-    Persevering.
-    Celebrating both achievements and failures as pathways to learning.

Discovery requires participation. Every observation calls for attention. Deep reflection is vital. Evolution of the question contains markers of change and integration of learning. Each reflection has the potential to reveal a new hypothesis to be explored.

I also know, from personal, life-changing curiosity, that such questions and methods and principles can guide you through discernment of religious life.

What may seem to be a naive question must really be the first: “What is religious life?” It is, as I’ve written about before, a culture all its own.     

With learning and reflection, do you feel a calling? 

In time, you may find yourself wondering “What could religious life be like with a specific community?” Living into that question will change as you go deeper into the discernment process. If accepted into a community the question could become “What is religious life for us as communally?” Throughout the years of incorporation the ultimate ask may surface: “Am I willing to make a life commitment to God as a vowed religious sister and in the context of this congregation?”

Try to take in your wonderings one at a time. Choose carefully how often to sit with them: daily, weekly or monthly time periods of reflection may continually stoke your excitement. How will your record your learnings along the way: a journal, a log, maybe even a spread sheet? It’s important not to lose insight you find along your quest.  

Each new year, just like each scientific hypothesis, begins with the potential to evolve into a lifetime of implications.

In 2018, what are the questions that could lead you on a year of discovery?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link,, and join the conversation. 

Unpredictability, overwhelming beauty coexist

Thursday, April 27th 2017 12:05 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


Sometimes we are like spring: indecisive and moody. In one moment calm breezes and blinding sunshine soak into our winter-weary bones. In the next, peals of lightning and ear-splitting thunder rumble through as rain pelts blossoming flowers and awaiting garden plots. I’m overwhelmed by scents of pungent earth, pollen-producing flowers and trees. It is a season when our renewed senses merge as if on cue from some distant stage director for the grandest play opening on the world stage.

Each new bud of life offers a gentle invitation to reflect on the ways in which we are all called into renewed being this Easter Season.


As I take in the beauty of the beginning of the daylilies in the yard, I am reminded of Jesus’ message to depend on our God who presents the flowers as teachers who don’t “toil or spin.” This, for me, is the essence of not only spring but of discernment—trust in God’s providence and stillness of heart. Discerning religious life can’t be rushed for the risk of impulsive decisions possibly destined for regret. The process must take time to unfold. We do not need to funnel our tornadic drive to get things done to the abundance of springtime storms; in the atmosphere inherently unstable. There are moments, in the lengthening light of evening, meant for sitting on the front porch and taking in the greening world around us. There is room for both unpredictability and overwhelming beauty to coexist. It is a time full of discovery and awe.


St. Rose Convent in spring (photo by Nancy Chapman)

As you ponder your own growth in this season of your discernment, take time to celebrate the new life that is emerging.

Where do you see roots taking firmer hold?

What new shoots of life are visible to you now?


Thursday, May 11th 2017 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA



Some days are filled with fragmented energy: my attention is pulled in many directions and lacks the clear focus and interior motivation necessary to complete the tasks at hand. Perhaps it’s the fickleness of the weather or the simple fact that I’m daydreaming of the near future when I will take a break from my office and go on retreat. It is a challenge for me to keep both feet planted in the now and not run towards a time that is not yet here. The irony is that once I arrive at the retreat center, part of my time will be spent settling into the quiet and letting go of the work I left behind. The quiet is often disrupted as I laugh at myself and recall that no matter the location, I am who I am. Time passes in the same way; the difference is the means at which I move through it.

I believe what I’m describing is a universal experience. Most of us feel anticipation as we get closer to vacations and get-togethers without realizing it can overshadow the present day and appreciation of the gifts it offers.

There are lessons in distraction. Sometimes distractions can serve as light to the deeper questions in my life easily overlooked in everyday busyness—why am I distracted? What does distraction teach? We are taught from an early age to be productive, but what if the pathway to greater understanding is to accept and immerse ourselves in the times of interference; to welcome discovery of the creativity that can surface when we ask a different question of ourselves. There are times in discernment where distraction will be part of the journey; when the idea of exploring a back road to see what is out there rather than continuing on the well-worn highway may lead to insight. Perspective is gained when we allow room for newness of the experience to unfold and evolve over time.

And perhaps it is the influence of the Holy Spirit that gifts us with days of distraction so that ultimately we settle into the present.

Where did you experience diversion in your discernment?

What did you find within it?

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