Sister Valerie

Mission and Ministry Matters: Change

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

in News

by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND

Sister Valerie Sweeney

Do you know what is the ONE THING in life that we can always count on? CHANGE! Everything and everyone changes, and we can always count on that to happen. That may be a scary thought, but it is a reality. So it’s important for us to face change and embrace change when possible. If we don’t choose change, it will just happen to us. For the next few months I will use some thoughts from Lynn Levo, CSJ, to explore change and our responses to it.

The root of the word change means becoming. That gives it a more positive nuance, doesn’t it? We can GROW when we change. We can try new things and become new people. If we aren’t open to change, we end up denying it and resisting it, often feeling angry or victimized. A positive response to change leads to life, not death.

Change usually involves gains and losses. They often come together. If we want to gain a new job, we need to let go of our former role. If we choose to move to a new home, we vacate our previous one. That’s why change results in so many mixed feelings. We may feel happy, excited, anxious, fearful, eager, resistant. It’s important to celebrate the gains and grieve the losses that change brings.

There is a difference between change and transition. Change is situational and outside of us. Transition is psychological and internal. It’s the process we go through to come to terms with change. Change can happen quickly, but the transition process can take a long time.

What are some strategies we can use to help ourselves during times of change? First, be aware of it and acknowledge the impact the change is having on us. Journaling or talking to a friend or counselor can help with that. Second, practice self-care techniques such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, exercising, and doing activities we enjoy. We can also look to a spiritual source of strength such as prayer, reading Scripture, meditating, or whatever else gives us inner strength.

Change is a part of life, but it’s not necessarily easy. Facing it with openness and knowing how to help ourselves through it make all the difference.

Spirituality and You: Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

in News

Ash Wednesday begins the Christian celebration of Lent. Forty days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare believers for the celebration of Easter. A part of Lent is the call to quiet and reflection. A call to still ourselves and consider our faith lives. We cease searching and striving for the external markers of success and fulfillment and settle in to listen to what the still, small voice of God is saying in our lives and in our hearts.  It’s an opportunity to ask ourselves: Am I able to hear the voice of God?  

Our lives are filled with noise. From our televisions and computers, tablets, phones and radios, even some gas pumps feature built-in speakers and screens for advertisement. And it’s not just media. Our lives are packed to the brim with things that require attention. In our facilities, monitors are always flashing, often beeping. Residents call out for assistance or need comfort. Calls have to be made. Emails must be answered. Codes, sirens and call lights all require immediate action. While our faith affirms that God is in all of these things, Lent still calls us away.  

Lent calls us to our inner room. To an extra moment of quiet in the car or our office. To linger in the chapel. To wander in the woods. To soften our hearts and listen for the voice of God. The still, small voice that whispers and waits inside of us. Calling us to return. Calling us to faithfulness. Calling us to begin our Lenten journey back home to the God who loves us.  How can you make space in your days this Lent to hear the still, small voice of God in your heart?  

Mission and Ministry Matters: Simple truths about life

Monday, December 3, 2018

by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Chief Mission Leader at Jennings
For the past several months I have been writing about end of life decisions. Those are some heavy topics (but important ones) to consider. I thought I would end the calendar year with some reflections about life and relationships. Most of them I have absorbed through [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Lessons Learned

Monday, May 7, 2018

Lessons Learned

Age 6:    I’ve learned that you can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
Age 9:    I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
Age 12:  I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Pray

Monday, November 6, 2017

Every spiritual tradition has its own form of prayer: ways in which we connect our essence with the divine essence as we understand it. There is no one way to pray. We can speak or remain in silence. We can sit or walk or pray lying down. We can be still or dance. We can [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Facing Change

Monday, October 23, 2017

It comes at us constantly
sometimes in a whisper
like a falling leaf
sometimes like a river
roaring through a gorge.
It is all we know: change
all we are: ever-evolving
creatures of nature.
Next time you hear
the stubborn bray
of your donkey voice
resisting the horizon ahead
take a lesson from your Mother.
Watch how summer kneels down
when she hears the flutter of fall.
Notice how spring [more…]

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Residents pray for end to violence

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Feeling the weight of recent events, Jennings residents sought a way to take action. Sister Valerie Sweeney, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings, coordinated a prayer service that offered an activity of unity that also reflects Jennings’ value of compassion. All who wished to participate were invited to join, with residents also taking on [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Consciousness

Monday, October 9, 2017

Examination of Consciousness
Did you say only kind words today?
Did you remember your thoughts become your life?
Did you say thank you as often as you were grateful?
Did you shine your light?
Did you laugh out loud?
Did you sing?
Did you hug anyone?
Did you love your body?
Did you see yourself reflected in anyone?
Were you thankful?
Did you say it?
—Jan Phillips

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Spirituality and You: Patience

Monday, September 18, 2017

An affirmation for patience:
Patience is a spiritual practice that is beneficial to cultivate so I can feel more at ease in my life. I grow through every human experience, especially those that I don’t like or plan for. There is divine order woven into the fabric of my days. 
 –by Jan Lundy

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Spirituality and You: The Candle and the Mirror

Monday, September 11, 2017

Edith Wharton has said that there are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Sometimes we are the candle. We shed light of love and hope. We shine encouragement into dark souls, for this is a bleak and cold world for too many people, a frightening [more…]

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