Tomorrow, Saturday August 5, I will be at our St. Thecla Retreat House. A Sister from Colombia, Sr. Bernarda Cadavid, will be conducting an 8 day retreat in Italian. I will be translating for her morning and evening prayers, as well as for her two talks each day. The retreat topic is taken from St. Paul to the Galatians 4:19: "Until Christ be formed in you." I took part in the retreat which often uses the Latin title "Donec Formetur" in 2003 in the USA and in 2004 in Rome. Both retreats were given in Italian. The retreat participants keep strict silence during the eight days so they can pray better and listen to the inspirations of the Lord. Since our Internet connection there is an analog line, I may not be able to keep in touch with you all until I get back to Toronto. We will see what happens.
Tonight our postulants--the young women who are in the initial stages of becoming a Sister--led our evening prayer service with Power Point presentations and a beautiful song. Theirs was a farewell prayer service, since tomorrow morning they will fly to St. Louis, Missouri to continue their postulancy program. In St. Louis they will be living with a smaller Daughters of St. Paul community. The Daughters of St. Paul operate a Pauline Books & Media book center on a very busy road in the Brentwood section of St. Louis. I am sure that the youngest members of our Pauline community will find many opportunities to use media to evangelize.
Keep them and me in your prayers too!
On August 15, three other postulants will make another step ahead in their journey toward becoming full-fledged Daughters of St. Paul. They will become novices. Novitiate is a two year period during which the young women study more deeply what it means to be a Daughter of St. Paul; they study themselves to see if this life is truly for them; the formation team follows them closely to guide them and see also if this person offers the qualifications to become a good religious Sister and Pauline missionary. During the second year of novitiate, there is a time of what we call "apostolic experience" when the novice goes to a smaller community to experience first hand what life might be like after she has committed hersef with vows. When I was a novice in the last century, ours was only a one year, but very intense, novitiate.
Our former Novice Mistress, Sister Concetta, will be 90 years old in September.
Originally from Italy, Sister Concetta still has mostly black hair, and smooth skin. She certainly does not look her age! We love to remind Sister Concedtta how strict she was. She has a wry smile and replies, "I could not have been so bad. You all made profession and you are still here."