Written by Margaret Meisner, SCN
I suddenly find myself celebrating that Diamond Jubilee. Wow, 60 years! I find myself reflecting on and praising God for certain people who God sent to journey with me, to help me to grow and become the person that I am today. I can only highlight a few.The SCNs taught me at St. Cecilia’s and Presentation. They were important in beginning to form my spiritual life. I gave thought to becoming an SCN only in the eighth grade when I met Sister Mary Madeline Abdelnour. A deep bond that formed. In her, in her kind, gentle, caring, loving way, her genuine concern I saw Jesus. She influenced my life to the extent that I knew that God was calling me to be an SCN. She walked with me in discerning my call and entering the community and continued to journey with me not only until her death but even today
As a young sister I greatly desired to really pray, to deepen my relationship with God. My prayer life was not satisfying. Being an introvert didn’t help matters. In 1972 the Spirit tricked me into going where I didn’t want to go and into attending a Charismatic Prayer Meeting. My tongue was loosed, my prayer life changed, there was a new life, a new direction of growing in my relationship with God.
I entered the Masters Program In Religious Education at Loyola. My courses focused on prayer and scripture. A Dominican professor was my mentor through learning and experiencing various forms of prayer , mainly contemplative prayer, experiences that would deepen that new life and bring about life changes. During these years Sister Velma Roof saw my heart, my needs, my capabilities , encouraging me to move into spiritual ministry in parishes. She knew this would be life giving for me.
This move brought a Franciscan priest, a hermit, into my life. Under his guidance and companionship there came a clear call to deepen this new found prayer life through a time of prayer in a hermitage. He taught me that, it God wants it the doors will open. The Council gave me a full year. In the midst of God’s leadings there was nothing to indicate that I would first build the hermitage. That was a prayer experience all its own, the beginning of an awesome year, a spiritually, life giving experience, a time wherein God led me towards ministering to the spiritual needs of others. The Franciscan hermit continued to journey with me, directing me, encouraging me towards an internship in a House of prayer where I gained skills in directing retreats and journeying with others in their spiritual life. This was where my heart, my spirit was alive and at home. I was to further learn that the Spirit moves in His time, in His way, when and where He wills, even creating detours to bring us “home”, to where we are more fully God’s ministers, God’s presence of love to all along the way.
I got detoured to Belize where a Benedictine would begin journeying with me and leading me on in my spiritual life. This relationship would allow us to support and encourage each other to grow spiritually and become who God has called us to be and would shape my life as I ministered to God’s people in various ways, in Houses of Prayer, in parishes in Arkansas, till bringing me to a long, lasting ministry at St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock where, in God’s way, I touch the lives of others in ways that God alone knows. I’ve learned that I do not need to know how God touches others through me I need only to be the vessel to be used in God’s ways, one day at a time. I have been and am blessed with others who have and continue to journey with me, enabling me to grow and become who I am today. For each of them, living and deceased, I praise and thank God.