Where are you?
Mallorie Gerwitz, CVV 17
Mallorie–now Sister Mallorie is in the Novitiate with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in Leavenworth, KS. Having spent the past two years working with those with differing abilities and making huge batches of salsa, she will be taking the next year for prayer, service and classes on the community’s Foundress, Mother Xavier Ross as well as the Vincentian charism.
I was recently struck by the question, Where are you? While reading through an article by Sister Nancy Schreck, OSF, who offered the keynote presentation at the 2013 National Conference of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Where are you? In the context that we are most often used to responding is usually literal: “I am in Florida,” “I am here in the living room,” or like that of a child playing hide-n-seek and asking, “I can’t find you. Where are you?” The context of ‘Where are you?’ In this article is not outside of us, but within us.
I relate to this question of ‘Where are you?’ when thinking back to my Colorado Vincentian Volunteer experience in 2011-2012. One of the questions that was posed during the application process was to draw a picture of where we are now and how we think we will be after our CVV experience. I remember this, because I drew a picture of myself (before CVV) with many questions, uncertainties, the need to have everything figured out and then imagined myself finished with CVV, all my questions, doubts and insecurities, answered. As if one could be finished solving the world’s problems and my own. How naïve of me!
In looking back and thinking about the drawing I created and S. Nancy Scheck’s speech, a connection emerged. This connection is one that I learned and took away with me upon my completion of CVV, and it is one of Intentionality. Intentionality is hard to find in a world that seems to rush past us, with people being active and busy much of the time and our minds being scattered and fragmented. The question that emerged for me was, where are you with intentionality?
Intentionality, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, states– the act of being deliberate or purposive. I look at my own life, as someone who has entered into religious life in these days where demographics of many of our Religious orders are aging and the young seem far and few between… and many ask the question of me: Why would you enter? I thought Sisters were all gone! Will you wear the habit? Do you have to change your name? On and on. Which brings me back to Intentionality? I see it as the deep knowing that God has a deliberate plan of intention for my life. Of that I am sure. Now what that is… that is for God to unfold to me in due time. The intention of my actions in the world, also affects God’s unfolding plan. Intention to me is defined as such, bringing to each moment the desire to be right where I am and to act and make decisions not out of ego but out of thinking of the other. Thinking of how this purchase may affect my neighbor in Mexico, thinking about what I put in the water that will affect my neighbor downstream; how the words I say (or don’t say) affect those around me or how what I purchase casts a vote for what I value.
As I look at Where I am with Intentionality, I sense in myself room for growth, but also deep gratitude that I hold for CVV for making me aware of intentionality, and the ways I can bring it about in my life. CVV instilled this in me by holding Mondays sacred for Reflection and Discussion, CVV staff always having prayer, events and interactions with each volunteer with deep presence to the other. It wasn’t a run of the mill, ‘go in and get the job done,’ kind of year. It was a year of deep intention and knowing how the intention that we set in ourselves, affects not only our days and our prayer, but also others.
As I have been out of CVV for three years or so and I am drawn in my prayer life and in my days to seek that intention, the deep understanding that all is connected and what I do or choose not to do causes a ripple effect out to those I interact with. I will end with a quote stated by David Byrne, “Everything is intentional it’s just filling in the dots.” May God continue to fill in the dots and may I be faithful in my intentions.