Friday, September 11, 2009

Day to Day with the MCs

This is post 2 of 4 on the Missionaries of Charity in Milan.

I recently discovered there are more eyes online than I previously thought. Somehow my first blog entry about the Missionaries of Charity went from someone in Rome to a Missionary of Charity Sister to the Regional Superior to Milan by post, all in a matter of two weeks, so that the sisters, approaching me after prayer one afternoon, said, "Oh brother, you write so well." Haha...I guess I have to love it.

photo by warmnfuzzy

Let me continue with my posts about the Missionaries. I really did fall in love with their lives. Another seminarian here went south to Naples and had the same things to say. He's even going back for Christmas. I thought I would give a few anecdotes of my time there to express a small small bit of what I found enjoyable here.

There are many things to like about the Missionaries. I think one of the main ones though is their brutal honesty. Sometimes they just like to tell it like it is. For example...

One day I was sitting in their chapel for Mass and it was packed because it was the feast of the Assumption. I had a seat in the way back and I am pretty sure I offered this seat to one of the sisters but she declined. So there I was sitting and she was standing by with the music. At some point during the first reading or perhaps the second, she turned to me and said, "Get out of there" and up I jump and she plops down in the chair.

Another day I was cutting a couple roses for the statue of the Blessed Mother in the chapel. One of the sisters had given me strict instructions to get flowers that were barely beginning to bud. But their garden had none. They had closed ones and ones that were well into bloom. So I snipped a stem that had one of each. The sister walked by and said to me, "Brother, if I can be honest, this is horrible."

photo by tscarlisle

Third story. I passed over my evaluation papers for my time here in Milan to the superior and she said, "You have to talk to your people over there because these questions are much too difficult to answer after we have only seen you for one month. Yes, here you are generous and ready to do any work we ask but who knows what happens later."


Oh, I am not complaining. In fact, I find their honesty quite refreshing. Perhaps that is why they work so well. They do not have to waste time getting to the point.

I also experienced a bit of their spirituality. I have already mentioned some of their prayers and I will mention more. But these 2 incidents touched me.

There was a day when I accidentally forgotten to get to Mass in the morning because I lost track of time doing some task. I told one of the sisters that I had missed and thought to myself, well the only other Mass is at 6pm and that is when there is the most work to do. Perhaps I will just not go to Mass today. But sister said, "Well brother, that is when we have a lot of work to do but you know, Mass always comes first. That is the most important. So you will just have to go."

I remember a friend telling me just the opposite thing about a group of sisters in Central America who did not get to daily Mass at all and sometimes not even on Sunday if there was not time. Talk about a difference.

There was another day, one of the first days I was here, that I finished the day completely exhausted. It was hot, humid, and lots of lifting and stairs all in one day. One of the sisters saw me and said, "You know, Mother always said, 'If you are not tired at the end of the day, you have not worked for the Lord.' "

photo by evoo73

But further, just their love for priests and desire for them to be holy, has inspired my own desire to be holy. They are like a spiritual pick-me-up.

All these little stories hopefully give some sense of my days here in Milan. I have learned a lot from the sisters. In some way, I feel like I have been on retreat because I am constantly learning things from the sisters and then reflecting on things I have learned. I have also noticed things, like no mirrors. :)


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