Friday, December 9, 2016

SJI // Our Lady of Guadalupe

Hello! So much has happened in the past 5 months here at the Saint John Institute, and I wanted to share a few thoughts on how things are going. 

In a word - wonderful! We are wrapping up our first semester and it's a little bittersweet. On one hand, I'm so thankful to have a few of these business classes under my belt, and on the other hand, I can't believe how quickly my time at SJI is going by. I can't explain how great of a blessing it is to be surrounded by the people I'm surrounded by daily, and as much as I have hope for the life after SJI, I know I will miss spending just about every waking hour with these people.  

And by every waking hour, I do mean, every. waking. hour. 

Our normal schedule starts out with 6:15am silent prayer, and ends around 9pm after Theology or Philosophy class taught by one of the Brothers of St. John with about 3 hours of free time in between. Free time, which is often spent doing homework, squeezing in a workout, or in desperate times, napping. I think everyone here can vouch for me when I say that this schedule was nothing short of a struggle to adapt to, but I'm learning to love the rhythm, structure, and peace it brings. 

Another thing I'm learning and loving more is my faith. I have always been into my faith, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I really began to dive into it. One thing that brings me great hope is learning about the Saints. Ordinary people with ordinary struggles who lived a very extraordinary Faith on Earth and are now spending eternity in total paradise. What an opportunity we have to learn from their example and emulate in our own lives! 

St. Juan Diego, who's Feast day is celebrated on December 9th, was a farmer in what is now Mexico City. He was on his way to the chapel on that day in 1531 when Mary appeared to him asking that a church be built in that spot so that people may come to know her Mother's Heart and experience her compassion.

"My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother's Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard."

Juan Diego was a very simple man, and feared that the Bishop would not believe him saying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, "
I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf." Despite his feelings of unworthiness, his faith carried him to deliver the message to the Bishop. After the first visit, the Bishop asked for a sign to know that the message be true. So, Juan Diego went back and asked the Blessed Mother for a sign for the Bishop. She then sent him to the top of the hill where they first met where he found Castilian roses growing out of the frozen ground (a type of rose that did not grow in Mexico). He gathered them in his tilma with the roses and went immediately back to the Bishop. When he dropped the roses at the Bishop's feet, the Bishop was amazed, not because of the roses, but because of the image of the Blessed Mother that appeared on his tilma, which can still be seen today - almost 500 years later. 

A church was built on the site where Our Lady appeared, and thousands converted to Christianity. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the patroness of the Americas.

To be honest, I never used to find that particular image of Mary to be the most beautiful. It was only after actually learning about the story and learning about all of the ways that the image survived fires, floods, and even a bomb that exploded right under it, that I have been able to find a deep admiration for the image and love for St. Juan Diego in his faith and response to his call. 
Our Lady of Guadalupe's Feast Day is celebrated every year on December 12th

“Listen and let it penetrate your heart… do not be troubled or weighed 
down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.  
Am I not here who am your Mother? 
Are you not under my shadow and protection? 
Am I not your fountain of life?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms?
Is there anything else you need?” 
(Our Lady’s words to Juan Diego)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Saint John Institute


I've tried writing this post a million and one times (I counted), but never finished, so I guess the million and 2nd time is the charm!

For starters, I'M MOVING TO DENVER!
And I'm so, so excited. If you could see me right now, I look just like the above Carlton. Sweater and all... Well, almost.

Anyhow! I'm shaping up and shipping out in July to attend the Saint John Institute. SJI is a completely new program where I will be earning my fully accredited MBA through Walsh University, while living in Denver near the Religious Community of Saint John, from whom I will be receiving Theology and Philosophy classes, as well as a deep and intense spiritual formation.


SJI will help to form me into the woman I was created to be, by challenging me in just about every facet of my being to become more deeply rooted in Christ. Why does this matter? Well for one, to become who you were created to be is to become more fully human, and who doesn't want that? Another reason (there are many), as I am learning and growing throughout this experience, I will be sharing all of the good that God has done and continues to do. In a world that is so quick to be cynical, jump to conclusions, and condemn others, I want to be a light. I want to feed the world's cry for Christ!

In my 26 short years of life, there are few things I'd say I'm truly convicted of. One of those is knowing that there is a God, and that He is a very, very good One. While I often doubt my knowledge and understanding of who He is, I know that I will never be truly satisfied until I do. So, it is my mission to seek and serve Him in all that I do, and I will start by first attending the Saint John Institute, where I will be learning how to more effectively share my God-given gifts with the world. I'm an artist, not a business person. This will undoubtedly be a challenge for me, but one with a much greater goal in mind.

While it feels like it's taken quite some time to get to this point, I couldn't be more humbled and honored to be a part of it. I was talking to a woman the other day and said to her, "I really don't understand why I'm the one doing this!" Translation: I feel like God has called me to recruit for His team, but I'm so not qualified! I guess you could say I've gained an understanding of the "God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called" line on a more personal level. Again, I'm humbled by the invitation, and eager to see what He has in store for me!

There is so much more I want to share with all of this, but for now I will keep it short (remember, the one million and 2nd time was the charm, not the million and 3rd 😉 )

If you'd like to learn more, or are interested in becoming a sponsor for me, please send me a message! I'd be happy to share more of my story and have the opportunity to hear yours as well.

Please pray for me!

God Bless,