My Part in the Community

TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2012

The other day at noon prayer, one of the sisters at Our Lady of Grace said to me, with a wink, “You’ve fallen into our routine so well, you should just join us!”

While many of the sisters know that I do not feel called to religious life in this sense, they always encourage me in my faith and let me know how nice it is that I like to join them for offices. In fact, I was just given my own cubby shelf to keep my copy of the prayer book and music. This was such a gracious gesture by one of the sisters, and it really touched me.

I delight in the relationship that I have developed with the community at Our Lady of Grace. A while back, my dad said something wise to me in an email: “You can’t truly do the work of the community unless you’re a part of it,” he wrote. After working at Benedict Inn for the past several months, I see how this is true. The Inn is one of the corporate ministries of the monastery, meaning that more than just the sisters physically present have an investment. The investment is emotional and spiritual, and oftentimes we ask for blessings on this ministry at morning prayer. By serving at Benedict Inn, I have become invested in the ministry. However, I am also invested in Our Lady of Grace as a whole, not just through my internship, but through my participation in prayer and Mass, by sharing meals at the monastery, by being invited to the Easter Vigil celebration, and by having conversations with many of the sisters. Even sharing a “good morning” and a smile with whichever sister greets me at the door in the morning is a small act that actually means much to me.

I am blessed with my internship. Perhaps not every intern feels as welcome or appreciated as I do, or receives such kindness and encouragement; perhaps the relationship between “bosses” and “interns” are more impersonal and rigid for others. Sharing a common faith and common values certainly established a mutual understanding from the very beginning. In an environment that specializes in caring for others, I have developed connections that go beyond professional life. I learn so much, not just about business or non-profit work, but about life from the women I am with at OLG. I care about those that have come into my life, and hope that this makes me a better intern. I desire for these relationships to deepen throughout the remainder of my internship, and afterward as well.

Work-Study: Things Learned & Things to Study

MONDAY, MAY 21, 2012

This week brings exciting updates from my work at Benedict Inn!

First, I have a link to the page I completed for the website. It is a “wish list,” encouraging people to contribute their time and/or talent. As we continue planning the programming for 2013, we are always interested in finding new people who desire to lead workshops or special events at the Inn. On this page, we also explain some of our intended renovations, designed to improve the experiences of the groups that come through. Together with the administrator and facilities director, we have brainstormed several items that would be much appreciated by the ministry, and those we serve. As promised, I have a link to this page to show off my first web design project. Feel free to explore: I have updated some of the program information, and so will shamelessly plug this as well!

Second, I am extremely pleased with the newest project I have taken on with the director of spirituality. I will be helping organize the materials for the Spiritual Direction Internship program that is run through Benedict Inn. This four-semester program trains spiritual directors, and offers credit through Marian University and Christian Theological Seminary. I value this experience as a way to learn more about the internship, and about spiritual direction in general (I’ve been given Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction to read as an introduction.) My first order of business is to ensure that we have the proper number of articles on file for student use. The best part of this has been that I am encouraged to peruse any article that might catch my eye – as long as I return it to its proper place, of course! I already know I will return to some of the articles on St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, as I read some of their works in a class on Spanish literature and culture. What an interesting way to connect my academic experience with what I can learn about spiritual direction!

Brain Gain

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012

This week, I begin my new internship.

What???

Well, while I am still interning at Benedict Inn throughout this summer for Butler’s CFV, I am doing so in conjunction with another wonderful program funded by Lilly, the Brain Gain Program. This program promotes the culture and opportunities of Indianapolis and Indiana in order to prevent the “brain drain” from the state. The idea is to show what one would miss were one to ditch Indiana for another region upon graduation. I applied for this program because I am already very interested in becoming an adopted Hoosier, because I wanted to be able to explore Indianapolis this summer, and because I wanted to stay with my internship at Benedict Inn (I can’t bear to give it up just yet!)

On Sunday evening I moved into a university apartment with three new roommates, all of whom are participants in the Brain Gain Program. In fact, my one roommate is also an intern with the CFV, working with communications for the United Methodist Church in Indiana. I am definitely looking forward to learning about her internship experience, as well as hearing about the internships my other roommates are completing.

So how does my summer internship look at Benedict Inn? As usual, a mix of familiar and unfamiliar, old and new. As I will be able to work more hours, I will continue to work with the marketing coordinator but will work on other projects as well. One new area I will be gaining knowledge about is the Spiritual Direction office, where I anticipate researching articles on the topic (and learning a lot myself!)

I am very excited to get to know my fellow participants, to attend special events around the Indianapolis area, to have time to explore my new city, and, of course, to continue to intern at Benedict Inn!

Past, Present & Future

TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2012

Can you believe how fast 2012 is passing by? It’s already May, and at Benedict Inn that means we are working with both the past and the future (as well as the present!)

The end of June will mark the close of the fiscal year, and so last week I spent some of my time preparing our timelines so that we can close out the programs from July 2011-June 2012. Despite always having a schedule and calendar in front of me, I was amazed by all the events and programs that had occurred during that period! From this standpoint, it seems to have been a very successful year.

However, we haven’t just been looking back on the past, but are also planning for the future. As many of my readers will know, I love to plan and work ahead, if possible. If you ask any of my co-workers at the Inn, they will probably tell you I’ve been even more enthusiastic this past week, because I’ve got to put that characteristic to good use. I began by browsing the web pages for various retreat centers across the country to see what types of programs are trending now. I was able to see which types of events might be new and interesting, and which might be too popular.

Then, yesterday, there was a staff meeting,which I was privileged to attend. The administrator, the programming director, the marketing coordinator and myself began discussing the calendar for next year (armed with pencils, not pens!) We decided on several events that we definitely want to repeat, due to their success this year and in years past. These include Girls’ Night Out, the Friendship Tea, the Triduum Retreat, and others. We also started throwing around ideas for new topics (especially for the series on Catholic Identity) and potential speakers. While we know that people love to come back year after year to Benedict Inn for certain programs, we also want to offer new opportunities for loyal friends and newcomers.

We can’t see clearly into the future, and so as we continue to brainstorm and discuss what 2013 might look like, we pray for God’s wisdom and blessings.