January 1st marked the completion of my first year of retirement, so I have been asked to share what it has been like for me.
Well you may ask, “Do Sisters really retire?: I thought the Vows said “forever”! I must answer Yes, but with a difference. There are some things from which Sisters never retire… the promises of Baptism, for instance – keeping the light of faith strongly bright; keeping a special relationship with God through loving prayer; giving faithful witness as a daughter of the Church; living the Gospel as religious consecrated by vows of poverty, chastity, obedience living faithfully the Charism and Constitutions of the Sisters of the Holy Family; taking part in community life generously, wholeheartedly, gratefully; serving the mission and ministries of the congregation according to one’s gifts.
But, you see, I have retired from the ministry I have enjoyed for over thirty years as the librarian of our own Holy Family College, Mission San Jose, then later as one of the librarians at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park. Although the salaried position ended, I found I could not retire from caring about how things were going there, and learned that my services would be appreciated on a volunteer basis. I have been giving one day a week doing what I know so well, and enjoying the companionship of the staff members.
Tune now has become my friend! I never have really been the clock and calendar person that community schedules and ministry assignments required, so that change pleases me. Tune is now more available than regular working hours allowed to consider joining some of the congregational projects that are coming up. I can also be more attentive and active in addressing local community and house affairs. There are even more ways to get to know the people we are living with Offering to be responsible for meals and the kitchen is something I particularly like doing, but I thought it would be a help to the other members of my house. It probably would not take anyone else as much time as I give it, but some of that is for my personal pleasure, and actually one of the reasons I looked forward to retirement! The parish I chose is giving me the opportunity to take part hi activities as a parishioner rather than an employee. A committee called the Care Connection holds a possibility for me to bring our Holy Family charism to the local church by meeting personal needs for caring concern by home visits – so Holy Family! Simply now to be able to drive down to the Motherhouse to visit with the Sisters is good. I save Christmastime to be with my sister Stephanie in Spokane; phone calls oftener. Time is now more available for self! Time for addressing some issues that take tune; and for deeper reading; for prayer… ;in considering one’s preparation for end of life.
What a privilege it is to have unscheduled time to use as mind and body and present circumstances suggest or require. Again referring to the things from which a Sister never retires, is the obligation to see God’s loving concern hi the present moment, and the only appropriate response to be an agent of that love when, where, and who you are.