A Reflection by Sister Joseph Francesca, O.C.D.

My time in Carmel has been rich in love, life, and lessons learned. As I prepare to say foreveron July 18, I keep reminding myself that ten years have already passed since I moved to California to enter Carmel. Last year on my annual eight-day retreat, the retreat master encouraged us to make a list of lessons learned in community. Here are some of mine:

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1. I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. There is a reason St. Teresa talks about The Way of Perfection. This life is a journey to the perfection of heaven.
2. Nobody knows everything – we need each other and it is good to ask for help.
3. It’s not about the rules after all, it’s about deepening our love relationship with Christ.
4. Every day, every moment and circumstance, everything we receive is a gift from God.
5. God always has a plan, but most times we have to wait with Him to see the whole picture.

On that note, for some reason I cannot fathom, God has planned our perpetual vows to look very different from how it ‘normally’ does in our community. God gives gifts whether or not they will be received. During this time of preparation, I am praying that my heart will continue to be open to receive all the love and graces He is already giving and will continue to give.

Mom and Dad, thank you for the un-repayable gift of your constant love and support, both in these last ten years and for my whole life. I would need more than a book to express my gratitude and to praise God for the gifts He has given me through you. It will have to be said here in just three words:

I LOVE YOU!

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