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A Lesson From My Week Off - And Gifts

Monday, April 4th 2022 2:46 pm

I am back from my week off, thanks for your patience. An amazing thing happened on my week off from deep thinking and reflections - I ended up reflecting and learning anyway! Sometimes I think I make things into jobs that don't need to be and that's what I had been doing. I had been thinking that I needed to make sure I had great lessons all the time while I was here. I think the mindset I had was actually distracting me from the presence that I want to have. I am glad to walk away with that lesson!

Gifts from the last week:

A hug from the most adorable abuela (grandmother) you have ever seen. She couldn't talk, but that didn't keep her from saying lots! She even harvested a couple of mani (peanuts) for us.

Time spent reflecting on synodality with sisters around the department (state) of Santa Cruz. I had lunch with a Polish priest, and sisters from Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and Austria.

I got to the point where I can say all the prayers of the rosary in Spanish without looking. I'm not counting the creed as a prayer. It's pretty long and I don't have it down yet.

Sister Yanira lent me a Mass book in Spanish so I can follow along. It is great! I couldn't understand even the simple prayers due to face masks and now I feel like I am really participating. I am even able to sing a few things!

I have been really enjoying the ingenuity of the people here. They make stoves out of motorcycle gears or create mud ovens, make brooms from weeds, re-purpose wood in every way and reuse plastic bottles for just about everything.

Service Saturday: mutuality at its core

Thursday, January 26th 2017 2:15 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


Most Saturdays, especially those overshadowed by rain and cold, are prime sleep-in opportunities for college students. Yet at 8:30 a.m. last weekend more than 60 from Viterbo University came through doors of St. Rose Convent with light and joy to join FSPA in a day of service projects. The energy and excitement was contagious as participants eagerly grabbed fabric to make blankets and dry ingredients to package instant soup in jars, ready to share their joy of life with others.


Service Saturday students from Viterbo University at St. Rose Convent

Collaboration between the Viterbo community and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration on behalf of serving others was the theme dubbed Service Saturday. As FSPA director of membership I co-coordinated the event with Kirsten Gabriel (director of Viterbo's service learning program) who reminded everyone of the mutual transformation that is possible when we enter into service with open minds and hearts.


A Viterbo student makes valentines for veterans with Sister Esther Leis

Sister Antona Schedlo reiterated the importance of service as it contributes to mission. Sharing her vocation story and commitment to the mission of FSPA, she challenged everyone to follow their dreams and take time to ponder how far they are willing to go to reach them. Her goal as a young sister was to serve as a missionary and, although it took more than 17 years, she did make it to the mission fields of her dreams in El Salvador. She invited participants to look beyond the projects of the day into the deeper reality of serving others throughout their lives. The activities are more than tasks to complete: sewing mittens to donate to The Salvation Army is a way to stitch together the stories of those in need and letting their lived realities change your outlook.


Two of the many pairs of mittens knitted that day

Heads nodded as the wisdom of Sister Antona’s thought-provoking statements took root. More than hands were busy later that morning as students pondered the deeper meaning of packing hygiene bags for homeless, frosting Valentine cookies for a local shelter, writing letters of care and encouragement to people they don't know nor will see face-to-face.

You could almost hear them wondering what it's like to walk in the shoes of someone in need. What lessons do they teach? How are both parties changed in their awareness? The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus accompanying others in good times and challenging ones, inspiring the disciples not to impose power but to walk with the people. St. Francis of Assisi learned this lesson by taking time to accompany the lepers; observing and then taking action.

Discernment has such mutuality at its core.

It takes the willingness to learn and grow along the journey of life. Sometimes it means relinquishing control and letting God provide the lesson—vulnerability offered for those willing to let the experiences of service sink in.

How can the idea of collaboration shed light on your discernment journey?

Are you open to the idea that God co-creates with you the future?

Want more inspiration for service and discernment? Check out the recent Global Sisters Report article "Oh, the places you'll go if you collaborate."

Praying through the storms of the heart

Thursday, August 25th 2016 10:16 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA



Image courtesy of www.freeimages.com

The weather has been saturated with dark skies, torrential rain and in many places, flooding. Traffic bogs down and short tempers flare. Under bright sun or dark clouds, honking horns and disgruntled drivers slowly creep at a snail’s pace down roadways as they make the daily work-to-home dash. Irritability follows us inside to days packed with ringing phones and endless meetings. Out in the elements again we are further exacerbated by fueling stops and dry cleaning pick up, all while mentally wondering what to cook for dinner.

Some days, just getting into a hot, steamy car can feel as if nothing is going the way we plan. But, although we can’t control the weather, we can choose the climate in our hearts. Driving through big puddles should be an invitation to slow down; can be a reminder to look again at what we let ourselves pass by in the now normal speed of life.

Rain, in moderation, has the ability to refresh the air, the earth. Perhaps we too can find revitalization if we look up from a different perspective; see through the drops for the gifts it may hold.

Becoming aware of how we let external sources determine our interior dispositions is a great lesson for our spiritual journeys.  

How do the elements—both nurturing and damaging—reflect upon your discernment?


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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