#Superbowlintheconvent AKA Nuns Being Awesome

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Out of all of my tweets during the Super Bowl last night, this tweet had the most likes and retweets. This is about as close as I’ll get to going viral.

For those of you hung over or were too busy paying attention to the game to check your Twitter feed, ChurchPop made an article highlighting the nuns who tweeted throughout the game. I’m honestly surprised that #SuperbowlintheConvent didn’t end up trending because LOTS of people were following that particular hashtag.

I stumbled onto this hashtag when I saw what is currently my favorite Super Bowl ad (apologies to Avengers and Han Solo)

Gotta love that interfaith! Pope Francis would totally love this. And note that nuns were part of this ad, too.

I already follow a lot of nuns on Twitter, so I just checked one and found the hashtag. It quickly became the best thing ever, topping the Justin Timberlake halftime show.

Highlights that ChurchPop didn’t include:

And some love from people who were following the hashtag and applauding all the nuns having fun:

I love being Catholic. That is all. Please pray for all the nuns who were watching the game from beginning to end because contrary to what that Mucinex commercial said, some people will actually show up for work today.

The Laments of Liabilities in Discerning Religious Life

I’ve mentioned on here before that although I want to get to know what it’s like to be a nun more, I haven’t exactly been provided with opportunities to do so. I do have a wonderful nun who acts as my spiritual director, but she’s told me that pursuing religious life would be harder for me because I have more liabilities. What are my liabilities, you ask? Mainly the fact that I have autism and that I have a long list of food allergies. 

When I told a few orders about myself as part of the interview process for come-and-see events, they told me outright that I wouldn’t be considered as a potential sister. One order even said that I wasn’t qualified to go to the come-and-see retreat they were hosting.

I know everyone’s praying for an increase in vocations but it’s kind of hard when convents and monasteries feel more like a VIP nightclubs. I get that I’m socially awkward. I get that being in a convent is a completely different lifestyle change and for people with autism, the process of adjusting would take a long time. What really bugs me is that these people decided to slam the door before they even saw my face.

And I’m not the only one who faces this problem. More than a few young adults who identify themselves as under the LBGT+ spectrum also face rejections from religious orders just on the basis that they have same sex attraction. These Catholics could be living chaste lifestyles, but their sexual orientation becomes a liability instead of an opportunity to further understanding.

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I’m not asking for religious orders to be as open as Grand Central Station. Nor am I asking for them to give people who may not fit the usual mold any special treatment. I’m just asking to give those who seek to understand religious life a chance. Get to know all those who desire to be a nun, a monk, or a priest as individuals. What people call “liabilities” are still parts of our lives. And if there’s anything we know, it’s that God has a way of turning what the world sees as a liability into a strength. After all, love is an open door and besides that…

“Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Abraham was old,… and Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!”

Women of Christ Wednesday: Linda Hernandez

I first met Linda back in my college days. She worked in the library and was part of my Bible study. After college, we met again at an Awakening retreat and a year later, she came to visit me and told me that she was entering the convent. I decided to ask her about her discernment process and the order she decided to join.
Who are the Disciples of Christ and how did you meet them?
Discipulas de Jesus (disciples of Jesus) are a religious community of consecrated life established in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1986–a new congregation that has been instituted in less than 30 years. They seek to be like Jesus (hence, Disciples of Jesus) and imitate Mary as women.  Their charism is to evangelize. They emerged out of the Charismatic movement, so their prayer style is charismatic. I met them at my current parish, St. Charles Borromeo, about almost five years ago when I was sent there to take formation (FTCM) courses and was very attracted to the life and prescence of God that irradiated from this one sister. It was through the youth group (which is also charismatic and which they advise) that I was led closer to them and to their praying style. They’re the kind that sing and dance for the Lord joyfully.
Tell me about your discernment process. How did you know/decide that religious life was your calling?
My discernment process has been pretty long…I did not grow up going to church, but when I began to do so, I fell in love.
I remember purchasing a missalette, and in the cover was an image of St. Therese of Lisieux. The image caught my attention so much. That’s all I remember, but it struck me and I still remember where I was.
I also remember reading about St. Lucy. I looked at her story because my middle name is Lucía–or Lucy in Spanish. I loved her story and it resonated with me. I knew at that moment I wanted to be consecrated and I admired her courage, chastity, and determination. I wanted to be like her since then. I came home telling my mom I didn’t wish to marry, but to be consecrated like St. Lucy. I was born premature, and was the first child to survive. My mom couldn’t have kids, so she prayed to Our Lady and promised to take me to the Basillica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico). I see this as a type of consecration, even if she was unaware of it. It reminds me of the story of Samuel, when his mom couldn’t have kids and prayed and Samuel was born. Later, God calls Samuel to be a priest.
Of course, years passed by for me as well. The later signs for me have been answered in mass and in prayer. I told God, I’ll go in..maybe in 2 years or so. I felt Him call me closer. I shook my head and gave excuses. Every excuse I threw at Him, He seemed to take care of. I wanted to provide for my family, but at the moment I didn’t have a stable job. I sought, prayed about it, and wouldn’t make it. I asked Him to close the doors and open the ones He wanted me to walk by. And He did. I asked Him to shout because I couldn’t hear Him well. Oh, He even called me out during class. People I didn’t even know (and those I knew) began coming to me (different places, sometimes several times a day) and asking me if I would be interested in religious life, had I considered? Or saying they saw God’s prescence around me..I knew it was His grace and His way of telling me to go in.  I told Him if He wanted me sooner to provide scholarships for my sister. The next day or two she sents me a picture message with an image of an award letter for a scholarship. I said I at least need to save up for her laptop. The next day or so, she brings one from school for her to use throughout the semester.The day I made my decision in my heart, I felt at peace with my heart and happiness radiated, even though I didn’t know how it would all work out. When I set a “date” to go in, the next day in morning prayer (Lauds) I read: “My L ord, Jesus Christ, has placed a ring on my finger; he has adorned me like a bride with a crown” preceeding Psalm 63. And ” He who is the Lord of the angels is the one who I am betrothed.” And ” God is her help.”
Also, I realized that the week I made my decision it was all vocational readings for mass. And the day before I enter is the Annunciation feast day, when Mary says “yes”. Too much coincidence? I did not do it on purpose; I wasn’t aware of these details until afterwards. You can say “what a coincidence.” I say, “Wow, God, I hear You loud.”
Who are your go-to saints?
In prayer, I always address God first throughout my day. I’ve learned to ask daily intercession of our blessed mother, Mary, and through the rosary. I want to say “yes” to whatever God asks of me, but my natural inclination is not always to say “yes,” therefore, I must pray for intercession. This has helped strenghten my vocation and ward off evil waiting to attack, strenghtening me to turn away from sin. My go-to saints are: St. Therese of Lisieux (of the Little Child of Jesus)–I ask her to pray for me, and my patron saints: St. Francis of Assisi & St. Lucy, who was virgin & martyr, consecrating herself to the LORD despite all oppositions, even until death. I find her intercession important, especially in terms of chastity, to ward off lustful desires. Also, recently, the prayer to St. Joseph has also helped.
What advice would you give to people who are discerning vocations?
If anyone is discerning, I urge them to pray about it. Daily mass is recommended and frequent visits to adoration, as well as meditating on scripture and praying the rosary more often will help lead them in the right direction. Pay attention to the signs; be receptive. Is it something you desire? God does not force a vocation, it is an alignment between what one deeply desires and what He has in store for our happiness. Join discernment groups, such as the Come and See meetings (Vengan y Vean in Spanish), inquire, and don’t be scared too peek!
As of this blog post, my friend is now starting her novitiate, so please pray for her!

My Year In Photos: January

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This picture is more than just a picture of a door. The day before my birthday, I was in Austin. I was helping my brother move back into his dorm room, but I also paid a visit to an order of sisters. Specifically, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

I first saw these sisters while I was at Mass with my family. We were celebrating Mass in Buda, TX and I saw these sisters (not the ones I met, but another group of sisters from the same order staying in Buda) sitting towards the front. It was basically the equivalent of a celebrity sighting for me.

They made me feel very welcome. I prayed vespers on the vigil of my birthday and made small talk, talking to these sisters about my path of discernment.

I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to pray with these wonderful women. I just forgot to get a picture with them. But in a way, I like this picture more because it represents a new beginning.

The month of January had a lot of other wonderful things. I saw Frozen, finally got my diploma from my alma mater and started taking pictures as part of my 365grateful challenge. But it was also a month where I really had to persevere and keep my goals in mind. Most people who make New Year’s resolutions end up not keeping them and I really struggled to make sure that I kept at least a few of them. Right now, I think the only resolution I ended up keeping was taking a picture every day. But hey, that’s one resolution kept and by the standards of Bridget Jones’s Diary, that makes my year very good indeed.

Eat, Pray, Love (Catholic Version) Days 3 + 4: A Weekend Recap

Saturday and Sunday were jam-packed with a lot of awesome, wonderful events. 

Saturday was the day of my cousin Di’s 18th birthday party. I got dressed up to the nines and danced the night away. I ate sirloin for the first time. It was really good, all things considered. The best part was making funny faces in the photobooth, both by myself and with my cousins. 

At the end of the party, my uncle announced that there would be a huge family reunion the next day. But I had other plans.

On Sunday, I went out to Alhambra, where I attended a Papal Party, also known as a celebration of the canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. (Fun fact: The canonization took place at around 12-1AM Cali time so as soon as the party was over, I turned on my computer and fell asleep watching it.) The party was hosted by the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart. They were all wonderful. 

Part of the party included (you guessed it) line dancing after spending an hour in prayer. Here are some pictures of nuns having fun:

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There was a church nearby, so I was able to fulfill my obligation of going to Mass that day. It was founded in 1924 by Discalced Carmelite Friars from Ireland and at the time, St. Therese was just Blessed. It’s the first church in America dedicated to St. Therese, or so one of the sisters told me.

Although I didn’t get to know the sisters as much as I wanted to, just meeting them was a wonderful privilege that I’ll never forget. Plus, I got to take a selfie with Pope Francis!

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After the party, I went out and got sushi for dinner.

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Overall, I had an awesome weekend.