By Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider | September 4, 2012 |

(from left) Sr. Dean, Sr. Valerie and Sr. Karen are part of the Lial Renewal Center team.

Recently I changed my e-mail address, making my business cards useless. Of course, I could build a tower of business cards or write math facts on the back for a youngster learning multiplication tables or store them somewhere. What do you do with useless business cards? A more perplexing question is the content of a new business card. What is my real business? More than liturgist/musician at St. Richard, more than team member atLialRenewalCenter, more than a community member with the Sisters of Notre Dame, I am the created expression of God’s love. I am an initiator of free energy radiating out to give life abundantly to all. I am Christ in evolution. I am an indispensable member of a living body, which is the Body of Christ. Well, if that’s what I am, please excuse me. I better get down to business.

What would you write on a new business card? What is your most useful business?

Ready or not

By Sr. Marilyn Marie | August 30, 2012 |

Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with the nitty gritty of each day and forget that the real reason I’m here is to encounter God. The “catch” is that I don’t know when and how God will choose to be present.  I need to be always prepared and on the lookout for God. It reminds me of the games of tag we used to play as children when someone would call out, “Ready or not, here I come!”

Today’s Gospel reading reminds me of the importance of being faithful each and every day for “I know not the day or the hour” when God will come.  Not only do I not know the timing of the final coming or the time of my death, I also do not know when and how God will choose to enter my life.  It is for me to be faithful at all times and so to be prepared.

I’m reminded of Mother Teresa’s saying that the important thing is to be “faithful, not successful.”  Anticipating that God is indeed just around the corner, eager to be part of my day, can help me live a more faithful life.

Where will God appear in my life today?  Will I be ready for His coming?

Can you drink of the cup?

By Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider | August 28, 2012 |

One of the Sisters with whom I live has a favorite coffee mug with scenes from The Lion King and a handle with “just the right shape.” Most coffee drinkers have a favorite cup, I suppose.

Do you have a favorite mug or cup?

When Jesus asked James and John, “Can you drink of the cup?” they quickly assured Jesus that they could. Just as quickly Jesus assured the two that they would indeed drink of the cup that he would drink—the cup of suffering and death. Then at the Last Supper the apostles drank of the blood of the new covenant, thus sharing in the covenant sealed by the death of Christ.

The next time you sit down with your cup of coffee or tea, ask yourself, “Can I drink of Christ’s cup?” It will mean accepting death as the way to life, crucifixion as the way to resurrection

Taking time to catch a glimpse of God

By Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider | August 27, 2012 |

The satellite sighting information sheet claimed I could see the space station on Friday, August 4 at 8:51 p.m. for five minutes at 20 above NNW. Outside and ready, my inner spirit jumping with exclamation points, I watched the night sky. Before and beyond the predicted minutes I watched, but I missed the “sighting opportunity,” knowing that others were hosting a star party and giving high-fives over an event that I missed.

Summer sunset at Lial Renewal Center

What I saw was the sky in its pinkish-orange pajamas, dark birds like shutting eyes above yawning clouds. All I saw was the moment between day and night, the miracle that happens every 24 hours. O God, your wonder takes my breath away. May I be attuned to such sightings every day. Let me catch a glimpse of at least one minute each day, and forgive me for missing the other 23 hours and 59 minutes.

Poker Run?

By Sr. Marilyn Marie | August 23, 2012 |

One never knows what a Wednesday night in August will bring!  Last night, Sister Alice Marie and I joined about 180 other people (including the Cross Country Team from NDA) at Sidecut Park in Maumee for a Poker Run to benefit SewHope.  SewHope is an organization founded to assist the people of northern Guatemala.  Sister Pamela Marie has been a vital member of this group and is now serving in Guatemala, so Sister Alice Marie and I thought this was a great way of showing our support.  Well….

We arrived at Sidecut in plenty of time to register and scope out the trails.  Our task was to run/walk (WE definitely walked!) to at least five of the seven stations in 45 minutes.  At each station, we were given an envelope with a playing card inside.  After collecting 5-7 cards, the person with the best poker hand ws the winner.  The start siren sounded and we were off!

What did we learn from the evening?  1) We are NOT runners!  We do walk well.  We were happy to make it to four of the seven stations in the allotted time. 2) We won nothing with the cards we collected.  3) Everyone had a great time!  4) SewHope is a wonderful cause for spending a lovely August evening outdoors!

I Vow…forever

By Sr. Marilyn Marie | August 20, 2012 |

One of the reasons I love our summers in community is because it is often during the summer that we celebrate jubilees, first professions and perpetual professions.  I had the privilege on Saturday of witnessing the perpetual profession of our Sister Maria Christina and Sister Mary Judine in Covington, KY.   It was a great joy to be part of this celebration since I have come to know these Sisters through our national formation gatherings.

Each time I take part in one of these ceremonies of commitment, I am renewed in my own gift of vocation. Our life in Notre Dame is a tremendous gift, and I am blessed to be called to give my whole life to God and God’s people along with this amazing group of women.  I rejoice that our spirit continues in our newer members.

Congratulations, Sisters Maria Christina and Mary Judine!  May you know the joy of a life given in love!

Active fun and faith!

By Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider | August 14, 2012 |

Sr. Kathleen, Sr. Alice & Sr. Carolyn having fun!

What are you doing today?  Working? Having fun? Sleeping? What about faith-ing? Verbs ending in –ing tell us something is in process. For example, I am writing this blog now. I’m actually doing something; I don’t just have the capacity to do it.  In the spiritual life, too, I think we should go about our day faith-ing.  Faith isn’t something I have. It’s something I’m doing and something I’m becoming. I grow more deeply in love with God, I’m more willing to make a difference in people’s lives, I’m more open to the Spirit’s possibilities. Well, gotta go!  I’ve got a lot of faith-ing to do today.

What now?

By Sr. Marilyn Marie | August 13, 2012 |

There’s something magical about the whole world coming together for the Olympics.  They certainly bring our competitive spirit to the fore, but there is also the shared amazement at the incredible ability of each athlete.  I’m always struck by the effort and sacrifice these individuals and their families put forth with the hope of being named “best in the world.”

As I watched some of the closing ceremony last night, it left me with a sense of “What now?” What will happen now to those athletes who were declared winners?  What will be the future of those who didn’t make it to the winning platforms?  What will life be like for the people of Great Britain when everyone leaves and goes home?  What impact will these Olympic games have had on the way I live my daily life? What now?

I’d like to think I come away with a renewed sense of giving my very best to whatever I’m doing, of celebrating the amazing things I see people doing around me each and every day, and of focusing on those things that unite us rather than our differences.

What lessons are you taking away from the Olympics?

Can you be bothered today?

By Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider | August 10, 2012 |

Am I bothered enough to bother?  My to-do list is long, my job jar is full, the laundry basket is overflowing. I have plenty of reasons not to bother with requests for volunteers or donations or letters to congresspersons. But sometimes the requests touch my heart, especially those wanting help to educate children. Putting a book and a child together is enough to make me bother. Most of the doors to curing the world’s ills are closed to me, but I can at least open the world to a child through a book.  What bothers you?  Are you bothered enough to bother today?

Road Closed

By Sr. Marilyn Marie | August 8, 2012 |

Yes, I had another one of those nights when, what should have been a simple trip became quite the adventure!  Leaving a half hour early for a picnic with the Tiffin Serra Club, I still managed to arrive five minutes late.  It seemed there were even detours on the detours!  I didn’t do too badly for a person who is not gifted with a good sense of direction.

 I worked hard to reach my destination last night despite the many road closures I encountered.  I couldn’t help reflecting how easily I sometimes give up when I encounter what seems like a closed road in my spiritual life.  Perhaps I need to be a little more creative in finding different ways to pray or try looking at situations from a different perspective. I wouldn’t think of just sitting on a road staring at the road closed sign; yet, sometimes I sit and do nothing when I encounter a block in my spiritual life. I know the ultimate destination I have – how hard am I willing to work to get there?

Even coming home last night provided some good laughs.  After deciding to take a route I was sure of even though it was a little out of the way — you guessed it, another road closure! God has a great sense of humor!