If you are, I thought it was high time I posted again and let you know about the big things going on in our lives over here in the Bluegrass state. So let's get started!!
Back in August of 2014, myself and 8 others were invested as Benedictine novice oblates for the Archabbey of St. Meinrad. I'm pleased to report that three of us made our final oblation on Saturday April 2. It was a very special day! We all headed up to Indiana that morning with five kids in tow. The kids got a chance to run around outside the guest house for a bit, I was finally able to go to confession (after a failed attempt on Good Friday), we had the oblation ceremony in the chapel of the guest house, and then lunch with the Oblate Director. A few pictures for you:
|Oblation ceremony starts|
|Reading my promises, Silas supervises|
|Signing my promises|
As part of final oblation, we all also took on a new religious name. I thought very carefully about this decision because I have always felt like I did not choose my confirmation name very carefully (it's Mary, so really, it's an excellent choice). For this I really wanted to make sure I chose a patron saint who would be a good guide for me as a Benedictine. I ended up choosing St. Gertrude the Great. Read more about St. Gertrude here. I think she was a wise choice for me. So now I have three incredible patron saints: St. Ann, Mama Mary, and St. Gertrude. Interestingly, my grandmothers' names were Mary and Gertrude.
|Fr. Meinrad, Oblate Director, and the three newest Oblates with our families|
|Three new Oblates with our Oblate Director|
One last word on Benedictine Oblates. We are similar to those who are part of a third order associated with the Dominicans or Carmelites or Franciscans. From what I understand of third orders, they are a part of that order as a lay person and can join a local third order group wherever they happen to live. Benedictine Oblates are actually associated with a specific monastery. So St. Meinrad's will always be my home monastery. That doesn't mean I can't attend a retreat at any other Benedictine monastery, I certainly can. But I'll always be considered a part of the St. Meinrad's community. Stability is one of the major components of Benedictine life and I believe this association with one monastery is a part of living out the virtue of stability as a lay member of the Benedictines.
So, more exciting news!! Many people have already seen this news, but many probably don't know what this means for my future. For those that don't know, on April 1, 2016 I submitted my resignation to the University of Kentucky Libraries. The following Friday, April 8, my dean made it public on his blog. This came as quite a surprise to many, but I've gotten some very positive support ever since I've been able to speak more openly about it.
So what does this mean?? That's been the most asked question I've gotten over the last month and a half. Well ... it means I'll be home with my boys. It's something I never thought I'd do, but started feeling a tug toward it about 3 years ago, and the time was finally right. It took a long time for us to get here and I'm sure I'll have moments of doubt, but overall I know this is what I am supposed to do next. I love my job, I think I'm pretty good at my job, and I've been doing it for 16 years (almost). I think sixteen years a nice long career. I've done a lot in those 16 years, so I have no regrets.
So, what is next? Good question! The twins will be starting Kindergarten this coming fall. They will be attending a classical education school that also happens to be part-time. Not half-day Kindergarten, but a part-time school from Pre-K all the way through High School. They will attend 2 days a week through the 4th grade and 3 days from 5th through 12th grades. So it's a hybrid approach: part-time in school, part-time at home. The best of both worlds, really. While they are in school Silas and I can run errands, go the gym, and have some one-on-one time.
One thing I most enjoy about my job is mentoring staff and students, teaching and training new concepts, new ideas, and helping expand people's thought processes in solving problems. I taught a class in the Library and Information Science School for several semesters a few years back which I also really enjoyed. So I'll still be getting to do some of that with my own children. I've always preferred teaching college/graduate level students and older, and I always said I'd never want to teach anything younger than college. Haha!! God definitely has a sense of humor. I'm confident I'll do fine. We're starting with Kindergarten after all.
Wow!! This is quite the post! I had intended to make this two separate posts, but as I sat down to finally do this and realized that it was Thursday night I figured it would work for a #7QT post for Friday. Looking over this I realize that there is a theme to this post: vocation. Taking on the promises of an oblate is now part of my vocation as a Christian now tied to the Benedictines. My job has felt like a vocation at times (and maybe it has been) but my more important vocation is that of wife and mother. And now I'm finally getting the opportunity to make that my focus full-time. It's scary and exciting all at the same time.
The lesson here, though, is to always be open to God's will for your vocation. You never know where it'll take you! I certainly didn't.
Many thanks to Kelly for hosting the weekly 7QTs over at This Ain't The Lyceum. Go check out her post for many more 7QT posts.