Alive with Franciscan joy

Similarities between Sisters and skaters

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

FigureIceSkating02by Sister Laura Zelten

This Sunday our Church celebrates Consecrated Life Day. This day is set aside to appreciate the gifts religious women and men bring to the Church.

It might sound strange but as I watched the U.S. Women's Figure Skating competition last Sunday, it occurred to me there were similarities between the successful skaters and those of us called to religious life.

First, the dedication to excellence: Each woman was committed to long hours of practice. Some put their education on hold in order to compete. Dedication is also a trait of religious women and men. We are committed to rooting our lives in prayer and ministry.  And yes, it takes practice.  Every day my Sisters and I spend time in communal prayer and personal prayer. We are dedicated to growing in our relationship with God. Renewed by prayer, religious women and men serve the Church. We give our whole lives to working with and for the people of God, whether as teachers, health-care givers, pastoral ministers, parish directors, faith formation personnel or hospital chaplains.

Second, the ability to stay focused: Figure skaters need to block out all distractions so they can perform their routines flawlessly. At one point during Sunday's competition a skater slipped and fell because she looked up at the crowd after hearing her name called. She lost her focus. We religious women and men are called to give our all to the people of God.  For that to happen we must stay focused on Jesus and His mission.

Like St. Paul tells us, our crown is the gift of eternal life. "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith."

We may not be champion figure skaters, but we are champions in the light of Christ.  May you, too, see yourself as someone who has their eyes on the prize of Jesus.

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Follow that star

Friday, December 30, 2011

Star-Goldby Sister Laura Zelten

Follow that star!

When we think of the month of January, we often feel let down after the glitter and sparkle of the holidays. But before we can completely put away the decorations, finish up the parties and thank-you notes, resolve to drop a few pounds and settle into snow-covered roads and cold and dark nights, the stars of the season shine forth.

The January calendar reminds us of stars who have brightened the horizons of our lives with curiosity and wisdom, with courage and determination, with self-sacrifice and simplicity. Stars of hope and warmth these cold January days are:  Mary the Mother of God, the Magi of Matthew's Gospel, St. John Neumann, St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther King Jr. and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

May the celebration of the Epiphany on Jan. 8 and all the Saints of January give you reason for hope and happiness!

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