Emma Kendrick

Nuns’ radical love

By  Emma Kendrick, Youth Speak News
  • August 22, 2014

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue was alive with spirit, laughter and heart on the last weekend of July. While the rock festival Lollapalooza drew many tourists to Chicago, for me and other young women, Nunapalooza took centre stage. The annual Come and See weekend retreat, hosted by the Daughters of St. Paul, was held on the same weekend and in the same city as the music festival, but it called young women to come together for a different purpose: to better know God. 

The Pauline Books and Media Centre and convent was home for me and 12 other young women from across Ontario and the United States. Our weekend was marked by adoration, contemplative walks in the city, occasional rooftop ‘selfies,’ mini Theology of the Body lectures, one-on-one talks with the sisters and plenty of stories and laughter. Carefully crafted, the retreat welcomed young women to discern their vocation and deepen their relationship with God. 

Our contemplative walk brought us to Millennium Park on a sunny afternoon, full of festival goers, locals and visitors. We focussed on the movement of people and the environment around us. In between the photos and soccer games, there was an intimate connection, a quiet grace, an underlying serenity. Similarly we saw brokenness, a restless spirit within the crowds. We ended the walk on a bridge, visibly expressing our faith in prayer as we watched people and cars weave in and out of city streets. The restlessness and movement of the city depicted life, but also indicated a society that values goods or attractions ahead of loved ones, the Earth and our relationship with God. Our walk urged us to question ourselves: Am I open to God’s will? Am I living authentically? 

Choosing to deepen our relationship with Christ and seeking to use our talents to serve others is a radical and honest response to God’s love. Our vocation is a passionate commitment to partake in His love, whether that is through consecrated, single or married life. 

In God’s abundant grace and love we are personally invited to respond by seeking our vocation. He makes His love known through the people who are our constant supporters, through the quiet spaces of our hearts, through the gradual growth of nature and the laughter that makes us ache. 

Over the weekend we were able to participate and witness the fruits of wholeheartedly responding to God’s call. The sisters shared their passion, a passion rooted in an eternal source. 

Through His grace, we are welcomed to see the possibilities of fulfillment that only His radical love can bring to us. His radical love will transform us. 

(Kendrick, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Paul Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.) 

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