The girls are back behind the mics. Julie and Lisa banter a bit about the past weekend. One experienced a relaxing family weekend and the other hung out with 60 energetic girls. Care to guess who did what?
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It was Lisa who enjoyed a welcomed weekend of family time — and what fun the Schmidts had as they went ice skating! Okay, maybe the ice skating wasn’t so relaxing but definitely enjoyable. Julie spent time with 60 energetic Challenge Girls on the annual winter retreat. Julie seemed to be in the “retreat bubble” of exhilaration and shares a bit about her weekend during the show.
On with the show….
Vocations, Vocations, Vocations
It’s National Vocation Awareness Week. While a vocation is a calling, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has highlighted this week for religious vocations. Joining us in the studio were Susan Downey, mother of two children who’ve discerned religious life; Sara Le Duc, teacher at St. Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines and organizer of Bella Vita dinners; and Megan Schoop, Youth Director at St. Mary of Nazareth in Des Moines.
It’s Latin to me. Bella Vita. Translated — Beautiful Life: Heard of the Andrew Dinners for young men to learn more about priesthood? Bella Vita is the counterpart for young women. Sara shared the dinners are for women age 16 through 40, and they serve as an opportunity for young women to visit with nuns and consecrated women from different orders. The evenings begin with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Many of the ladies who’ve attended a dinner are surprised that the sisters are anything but the stereotypical, ruler-wielding image. They discover faithful women who are fun and joy-filled as they live to serve Christ. Interested in attending a Bella Vita dinner? All young women are invited to come and discover how these women live their vocation. The next Bella Vita dinner will be in late February. The best way to stay informed is to “like” the Diocese’s Vocation Facebook Page as updates will be posted on that page.
What?! Did we hear correctly? Two religious vocations from the same family? Susan Downey brought motherly wisdom to the table. Two of her seven children have discerned religious vocations. Her son James is in the seminary and daughter Laura with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. What does Susan feed these children? What prayers does she pray? Inquiring minds want to know! Susan shared the things they have done through the years in their family. Praying with her children and teaching them to pray were vital for all her children to foster a friendship with Jesus. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI agrees. “Young people, if they know how to pray, can be trusted to know what to do with God’s call.” It really can be that simple.
And what about hearing God’s voice in this day of instant technology, 15-second soundbites, texting and Twitter? Shutting down from time to time in order to listen to God is a challenge for youth. Attending retreats are vital for our youth to unplug and tune in to God. Susan always supported her kids to attend Kairos, Challenge retreats, Youth 2000 and FOCUS retreats to foster this spirit of prayer and quiet.
Virtue in Vogue: Generosity! This virtue teaches us to give ourselves completely and to work with the maximum of love, not only in great things but also in little things, even the least. How do we imbue our children with generosity? In the small ways: Teach your kids to share their toys, go on missions, complete service projects. How uncomplicated it is when we think about it. The family truly is the seedbed of vocations — marriage is also a vocation. Generosity is also something to think about for us as wives and husbands, mothers and fathers. Children are His gifts to us to nurture and mold into holy men and women. Have you ever thought about your child being a priest or nun?
A quiet invitation. Ask any priest, sister, deacon or brother to share their vocation story, and it’s rare not to hear that someone invited and encouraged them to consider this life of service to God. It’s even true for Blessed John Paul II. As the story goes, it was 1939 and young Karol Wojtyla had to quit college and work at a quarry to support himself and keep from being deported to Germany. It was there one day in the mines that a fellow miner said, “I think you would make a great priest.” Until that moment, John Paul II had never thought of being a priest. He said, “That man who I worked with already saw me as a priest.”
Hmmm … have you ever been nudged by the Holy Spirit to share such an inspiration with someone who may have a call? Your children? It is a fine balance of nudging vs. nagging. Prayer for guidance is key.
Buzz. Buzz. We hear the text message notification again. We received another text from a listener today who was inspired by the show. Thank you, girlfriend… we love to hear from all of you, dear friends. Be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And like our Holy Father, we’re on Twitter, too! Follow Julie at jknelsonjulie and Lisa at lisaannschmidt.
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