Sister Grace would always say something along the lines of, everything happens in God’s time, and God is always ontime.
This week, I had the blessed opportunity to be missioned to California to spread the word of Cabrini Mission Corps at my alma mater, USD, and at LA college, LMU. In addition, I get to volunteer at LA Congress for the 4th year in a row! woohooo! for that, I am grateful, and for that, I am super stoked to be here!
It has already been quite the whirlwind, since my 3 hour flight delay leaving la guardia airport on early saturday morning. mary had told me that she wanted to take me to the airport, and so we planned to leave at 7:45am…well, she came in at 8am, and i realized i was still in bed. oops! her, michelle, and i ventured to the airport, and why is parting so difficult! not a good set up for what is to come with the inevitable departure in june, but it was wonderful to be sent off by my sisters themselves.
after the hours of sitting on the runway, got on the plane, only to freak out and wonder if i would miss my connection – sure enough…time past, we were still on the runway, getting into the air, and it was my connection flight…about to leave…in chicago. awesome. i get to chicago only to find that that flight too was delayed – thank you Lord. get on the plane, sit on the runway for a little longer and i end up sitting next to a girl who is in her first year of college at john hopkins and she’s from dana point, and right next to me is a 22 year old, who looks like she could be 30, and she’s from alabama. we exchanged life stories (kinda), and at the end of it, she told me to wait to have a kid (she had one when she was 17), she told me about the book fireproof (a book on love), and said to have fun before i buckle down with anything. she asked me if i was engaged – i noticed her staring at my ring, but she would nonchalantly look away and looked kinda confused especially when i said no, but it was ok. she was visiting her marine husband in camp pendleton and was so antsy throughout the flight. meanwhile, i fell asleep with uncle jim’s book in hand – the jesuit’s guide to [almost] everything. woke up and we were descending. perfect!
it was great to be reunited with my mom and spend some time with her. sunday morning i got to sing at mass, and it was one of the funnest times i’ve ever had singing. it could have been the songs for that day, it could have been that i could actually see people singing along with the choir, but particularly, we got to sing lead me home by matt maher. that song resounded in my ears as i prepared for mission corps. it’s on the “drive to work” playlist i would have on my ipod – it’s what i would listen to when i would be driving to work in LA, wondering what’s next for my life…we got to sing it, and i think i sang that pretty loud. my mom said she could hear me on the mic. that’s always fun. haha, but i guess i’m pretty loud anyway. 🙂 so i thought that was a totally unexpected blessing, and it helped me reflect on where i am, what i am doing, and affirmed me with joy through it all. all i thought about through mass was, disponibilita. how that resounded in my mind and in my heart? i have no idea, but i think the fact that there’s portraits of some american saints, including mother cabrini, lined along the walls by the choir, facilitated those feelings a little bit. it got me excited!
driving down the 5 freeway to san diego, i had so many urges to to stop on the side of the road and take pictures. i didn’t, cause i was just anxious to get out of my car and be in the city that helped shape who i was through college, but it was absolutely gorgeous. there were times when i was just thinking, i need mary and michelle in here – they need to see this! it was absolutely beautiful. i’m not someone for the outdoors, or nature, or anything of the sort, but i guess doing without the sun in new york really sharpens my senses of sunshine and yellow, here in southern california.
got to san diego and was greeted by ben and rochelle. loved catching up and loved hearing stories. then the other roomies came, and it was such a great time! i could not help but just listen, smile, affirm, and celebrate. we all went to mass at founders and i had the opportunity to talk with graduating seniors and other students after the mass to talk Cabrini Mission Corps placements and application process. the more i talked about it, the more excited i got to be a missioner. someone said, “it helps to have a face go with the program!” that made me happy cause i was like, phew! so my presence does matter. i got to see some of my freshman residents (when i was an RA) who are now seniors. why can they pick me up? crazy! i saw one of my students’ sister, who attends USD and she was saying that she has yet to meet one dominican. i said, YUP. that’s EXACTLY how i was, when i left southern california. i was still pretty convinced for short, i would call them dominican republican. yup, my worldview was completely off in that aspect…little did i know the beauty and the richness of that which is dominican up in the heights and in the world. so beautiful!
being in founders chapel was pretty nostalgic and surges of emotions just came over me the whole time. the altar, with jesus on the cross and the women all around him, was still more powerful than ever. this was the place where i loved, where i broke down, where i prayed, where i would run to in the middle of the night when i had nowhere else to go (i would usually drag someone with me cause i get scared of the dark…haha, figures), it’s the place where we would celebrate God’s love, where i had my embarrassing moment while singing at the cantor microphone in front of a whole congregation at the 7pm mass, where i saw healing, where affirmation resounded off the walls, and where as a community, we all were able to share in the celebration of mass, and masses intended for peace every wednesday night. this was a place where i got to see my best friends serve, and truly it’s where i found some of my bestest friends.
woke up pretty early the next day and drove back to orange county, only to stop by coffee bean (to get my tropical passion tea latte fix – i’ve been going without it in new york!!), only to see alli from response ability!! crazy!! we did orientation together in philly and she is teaching in LA…why was she in san diego? she was visiting her cousin. crazy, small world! i love it. 🙂
drove home, walked the dogs, had my phone call with marie (my spiritual director in NY) to talk about the spiritual exercises for this week – i start the passion…here we go kids…it’s all about to get tough. but i think i’m ready. and then headed off to the beach, for some crystal time – some much needed reflection time and just being.
earlier that morning, i got to have an impromptu hangout with one of my favorite priests. i talked to him about vocation, how he knew he wanted to be a religious, what his calling was like, and how he dealt with the whole loneliness factor. sure, this is different for everyone, but i figure the more perspectives i get, the more i learn, the greater my knowledge and understanding will be. we talked about some of the struggles that are common, especially when seeing a majority of friends getting married around you, and you, seeing that that is not your vocation, rather, that you may be an instrument in rejoicing and celebrating that couple’s love.
he told me stories about how important it is to not look at the past, or the future, but to truly, truly stay in the present. sure, it is inevitable for memories to stay locked down in the back of our minds, and there are beautiful moments in the past and sad moments from the past that may resurface, but the temptation to dive into those parts can be dangerous. who knows what the future will hold? through this time, i felt like i was just externally processing my feelings of being home and what this experience looked like for me, and again, it was me thinking faster than what was truly presently happening…he told me something that my spiritual director has been telling me for the past two/three weeks of direction…have faith. what.a.concept.
my spiritual director, marie, also said that it’s quite key that i’m here at home right now, in this particular time, and if anything, this is playing such a wonderful role in my discernment to continue mission [in the philippines]. she told me that i’m doing a great job, and i’m a few steps ahead of a lot older people that she works with, and she reminded me to trust myself. especially with my heart and passion for the philippines. she affirmed me, especially amidst all this transition that i have been experiencing since i decided to move to new york, and you know, when i take a step back and think about it, wow. this, IS crazy, but i think the best part, is that i could not imagine myself doing anything different right now – this is where i am called to be right now, and thank God for that. it’s a beautiful life.
the missionary spirit…mother cabrini, you found it in me! i see it, i feel it, and it gets me every time. 🙂
and with that, i’m off to get ready for a cabrini mission corps info sesh at LMU.