Sr. Therese Carson made her First Monastic Profession recently and Sister Gretchen Johnson made her Perpetual Profession. Here are excerpts Sister Therese is sharing from her meditations on the promises of stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience.
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away.
See, everything has become new!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
My new life fits me like clothing that is slightly too tight, but that I love and don’t want to exchange. For it to fit I must reduce the ‘fat’ in my life. I still long for Michigan, but that must go; in my dreams I still walk my garden. My house was alive with color and music, and my room here is so plain, white walls and curtains. Let it go. Put on the outward appearance of a Benedictine sister: dress simply, walk quietly, live in communal poverty, do not ask for exceptions, come to Office and Mass, and come to the communal table even when it is a struggle.
On a deeper level I am learning to ‘put on the mind of Christ’. Quiet the mind. Embrace silence, the root of all being. Drink deeply from Scripture. Meditate. Watch my thoughts and stop them before they become desires. Control my stories. Let go of the need to own things and embrace a spirit of poverty. Stop being the ego-driven center of my life; instead, seek out the good of others before my own good. Care deeply. Participate with my whole heart in communal life and the work of the Community. Take care of tools and of the earth, and of myself. Work for peace and justice. Welcome the stranger as I would welcome Christ. Exper-ience, one by one, the twelve steps of humility, a lifetime of descent to reach God in the darkness.
I am learning to see chastity as a gift that unleashes my energies to serve God. In this new life, what I give is myself, and what God gives me is also myself, transformed. Through lectio and contemplation I am growing as a paschal person, learning to accept suffering, rejection, and misunderstanding with the same calmness and humility as I accept love and friendship. That is hard, but God is sending lots of practice my way.
I aim for a balance of prayer, work, study and conversatio, to live in imitation of Christ.
Sister Therese Marie Carson
Therese Marie was born in Detroit, Michigan and spent many years as a microbiologist in Harbor Springs, Michigan before coming to Duluth. She had heard a call to vocation since she was young, and found the courage to surrender to it when her faith in God caught fire and became deep love. She made her First Profession on August 31, 2014, at St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota, and looks forward with joy to becoming a perpetually professed Benedictine. She believes with Albert Einstein that, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.“