A Simple Kind of Life

Sister Rose Marie shares from the heart...     When I came to St. Joseph’s for my live-in visit (which turned into my aspirancy!), I was at a crucial and very INTENSE point in my vocational discernment. What I really needed at the end of all of the ‘roller-coaster experiences’ of a generally tough discernment was quiet, simplicity, and a good healthy environment where I could truly be free to hear the Lord.

    It was time to focus on simply living the life I was pretty sure He was calling me to. It was time to put aside all distractions. Time to put aside fears, worries and sorrows that involved what I might face in the near future. It was time to listen, to simply be, and to finally KNOW the answer to my overall question:

Are you calling me to love You this way, Jesus?

Close detail of a holy card very symbolic of the life of a Passionist Nun. St. Paul of the Cross called the Nuns "the doves of the passion" anointing the wounds of Jesus by taking up our cross daily and practicing the virtous life. Our Holy Mother Mary (symbolized by her Immaculate Heart) is our mediatrix of every grace of fidelity and charity.

    I was strongly affirmed in a conviction I had arrived at some time ago: What a blessing a simple life is! It’s a very good thing to live a life that harmonizes with nature rather than jars against it. Imagine going to sleep soon after the sun goes down, getting 7 plus hours of sleep, waking up soon before the sun comes up, having a built in time to rest in the afternoon. Think of plain and simple work that keeps a respect for nature and the natural rhythm of life– work that gets you involved with the earth and its “fruits” (like pulling up weeds out of flower beds, peeling carrots and potatoes, sweeping a floor). It’s so easy to distance ourselves from that sort of work out in the world, either because someone else does it for us, or we just omit it in favor of more ‘pressing’ things.   

From the rising of the sun...

     At the monastery, the focus isn’t on the work itself. The most important work done in the monastery is the work of our hearts in remaining prayerfully attentive to the presence of the Lord, no matter what we do. The actual labor that is done is done because it is needed in order to keep the community operating in a balanced way.

    My experience was that simple forms of work helped to facilitate clarity of mind and heart and also allowed the inner freedom necessary for prayer and discernment. What a blessing and relief to a heart like mine– fresh out of the constant noise, rush, distraction, the imbalance and general disorder often prevalent in a young adult’s life in the outside world! “Been there. Done that.”

...to its setting...may the Name of the Lord be praised!

    And as I came out of it all, I recall having a feeling that I could finally ‘breathe’ after what had seemed like an unbelievably long time.