Today’s media is saturated with advertisements about how to attain physical beauty… silky hair, beautiful skin, slim bodies, and much more…about how to make women more attractive and, as a result, happier. As Vocation Directors, we need to spend more time “advertising” to young people what brings deeper and more lasting success and joy—Virtue and Holiness. Our deepest, and universal, “call”. We also need to guide young people in studying another call, the one to a particular State of Life: married life, single life, consecrated life, and priesthood.For this reason, we offered our second, annual Vocation-Awareness Picnic for senior and junior high school girls. Nine girls responded to our invitation (including 4 sets of sisters) and on Saturday, July 30, the girls spent 5 hours with us. The day included some fun and time for something more serious.
In commemorating this Holy Year of Mercy, proclaimed by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we took apart his official prayer, “Prayer for the Year of Mercy”. We took a closer look at the persons mentioned in the prayer, persons who actually experienced Jesus’ mercy. As each name was spoken aloud, two symbols were place on the table to represent the person. To name a few: Mary Magdalene - a tall perfume bottle and a lace shawl; the Adulteress - a large stone; Peter - a box of tissues; the Good Thief - an empty cross. We shared a pantomime which dramatized MERCY. (It was a skit we learned from several of our Slovak Sisters who spent time with us.) Short scenes depict various sins such a theft or excluding others. Each scene ends with the players—the “sinners”—looking into a box, without letting the audience know what is in a box. The players then offer a gesture of reconciliation to one another. At the end of the play, the contents of the box were revealed … A CRUCIFIX!!!
We sang traditional musical “rounds” and enjoyed making harmony with the same rounds we learned as children. One Sister remembered “Are You Sleeping, Brother John?” in English, in Polish (her native country) and French (her specialty in teaching high school students).
During the day the participants were led to reflect on the four States of Life: married life, single life, consecrated life and priesthood. As God sometimes does, He had a better plan, and provided living examples for each of the above.
MARRIED LIFE – The day was blessed by an unexpected visit from one of the mothers and her twin baby boys, born just since our last Vocation Awareness Picnic. The Sisters invited them out of the pouring rain, and into the community room. They stayed awhile to dry off and warm up—a living representation of married life and motherhood.
PRIESTHOOD – The presence of our Chaplain, Father Thomas Kirby, for most of the day, and Father Edward Litavec, who was visiting, also gave living witness of good priests, God’ gift to us.
CONSECRATED LIFE – The five hours that the girls spent with us, Sisters, was a great way of seeing one Religious Community “up close and personal”.
SINGLE LIFE – One of our employees, a close friend, was here working that day. She is an example of one who cares about others and has found fulfillment as a single person.
Last, but not least, the PICNIC! It included: everything that makes a 5-star picnic, from potato salad, hotdogs and hamburgers to cold watermelon, and much more in between.
After having satisfied appetites, the girls and the Sisters learned three hymns originating from the famous TAIZE Community (interdenominational) in France. These beautiful chants were used in the Chapel as the responses to three invitations to prayer: thanking God, praising God and asking His help.
The day ended with a few enjoyable games, an ice cream treat, and time to just visit with one another. It was good having the young women with us and, judging from their smiles and comments, they had a special day also.
Thank You, God, for everything, for all who participated and for all who made the day possible.