Throughout the semester, the Lord has been showing me the little ways he is calling me to martyrdom. This process started when a priest at seminary gave a homily about this topic and encouraged us to accept the union that Christ desires for us through our suffering. I started to pray about this, and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. At random times throughout the day, when something irritating or disappointing happens, I hear the Lord’s invitation to me to pick up my cross and follow him. I have a greater sense of how Jesus wants to accompany me through my struggles and the joy my little crosses can bring when they are united to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Before this new perspective, I would simply see these situations as a useless burden and avoid them at all costs. Now when these situations present themselves, I do my best to embrace them as Jesus embraced his cross and thank God for my dependence on him. I do not do this perfectly by any means, but I have been blessed this semester to grow in my ability to see my crosses in a new way and enter into the union that Christ desires for me through them. ~Josh Luttig
Overall, this has been a difficult semester. One thing which has contributed to this is the academics. The four classes I’m taking this semester are among the hardest that I will take while at college seminary. A lot of the material is very abstract, which has been tough to comprehend at times. In addition to this, until recently, I hadn’t experienced much consolation in prayer this semester. Through these challenges, the Lord has been calling me to lean more on him, especially when I am weak. A special grace I have recently received is simply knowing that God loves me. Yeah, I know, this sounds like some canned, overused sentiment, but for one of the first times in my life, the Lord has shown me not only the reality of his love for me, but also how much he has freely blessed me throughout my life without me earning any of it. It is amazing how far-reaching his love is for me, and how far it is beyond my understanding. This insight into God’s love has definitely been the highlight of my semester. We want to thank everyone for all the ways you support us as we discern our vocations in the seminary, especially for those who pray for us!! Without people interceding for us, we could never grow to become the men God is calling us to be! Know of our prayers for you.
God bless! ~Brian Arbrustmacher
Hello from the Motherhouse of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM) of Alma, Michigan! Since entering the community on August 1st, I have met multiple priests and religious who know our Fowler faith community – one Sister referred to the area of Fowler, Pewamo, and Westphalia as the “trifecta Holy Land of Michigan!” There are ~100 RSMs in our community with seven of us new Postulants (aka “first years”) – 3 from Michigan, 1 from Washington DC, 1 from Seattle area, 1 from Germany, and 1 from Australia. They are absolutely beautiful women, and I feel so blessed that the Lord chose the seven of us to enter together.
As RSMs, every moment is consecrated to our Lord as an expression of prayer and praise. We rise at 4:30am most mornings, so that we may pray the Liturgy of the Hours, meditate on Scripture, and have daily mass before breakfast. Many of the perpetually professed Sisters then depart for their apolostates, which is in healthcare and/or teaching for most RSMs. In the morning, we Postulants typically have a work project (i.e. cleaning, mowing, weeding, etc.), and then the Postulants and Canonical Novices (“second years”) have an additional silent Holy Hour. After lunch, we either have a work project or class on theology, philosophy, and/or Scripture – all of which I absolutely love! Stretching my mind to learn more about our Lord truly deepens my prayer life and relationship with Him. We then have a community Holy Hour, which includes Adoration, praying the rosary, and the Liturgy of the Hours. After dinner, we have community recreation, and then end the day with Compline (aka night prayer). Our time in prayer grounds and fuels us to live in complete surrender to God’s Will each day.
I am amazed by how natural it feels to be here; it feels like this is what I was made for! So much strength comes from our prayer – it is the most important thing we do as brides of Christ. On Saturdays, we Postulants do not have our additional Holy Hour before lunch, and I definitely notice its absence – I long for that extra time with our Lord. Our lives are rooted in prayer, and everything else flows from that.
Before entering, I knew the amount of time we dedicate to prayer would be a jump for me, but I trusted that if this is where God is calling me, He would continually provide the graces needed and more. When we trust in the Lord, His plans are way more amazing than anything we could plan for ourselves, and He is full of such great sweetness that nothing else compares. I recently read that our very pulse proclaims God’s sustaining presence with us, and the beauty on earth is but a shadow of His glory and His beauty. God has been pouring His graces into my heart to grasp these as the truths they are.
There is so much joy in knowing, loving, and following our Lord – He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He alone can satisfy the thirsting and longing in our hearts. A few weeks ago, I checked in on one of our elderly Sisters who was sleep-talking while napping – she was praying Hail Mary’s aloud while sound asleep! That is how I hope to be someday. Our baptism as Catholic Christians is both a privilege and a responsibility – let us not waste this short and transitory life on earth. Thank you for your continued prayers, and please know that you remain in mine! ~Sister Brianne Feldpausch
Thanks be to God for all the young people entering religious life/seminary from our parish! In September I completed four years living in Europe as a missionary Sister in the Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará. First I was in Italy, then in the Netherlands for two years, and I am about to start my third year in Ireland. It has truly been an adventure that I never dared to dream of even as a teenager when I was picturing myself back packing across Europe. Sitting in Fowler High senior year I would often find myself day dreaming of Old Europe and I wanted to get to know it from the inside. I knew that my desire was rather unrealistic and that, at most, I would be able to see it as a tourist if I could save up enough money. Little did I know that God was planning exactly how to fulfill my longings and I can attest that His plans are always better than ours. Not only have I gotten to know other cultures, languages, customs, and landscapes, but I have had the best lens to look through: the faith. In Christian Europe I have seen much of the unspeakable beauty that made St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton abandon her American Protestantism and dedicate herself to God in His Catholic Church. Although Europe is suffering through a trial of faith right now I truly believe that Christ wants His Kingdom to have a renaissance in the hearts of these peoples. The Missionaries who have come here with Hope and Love are returning the favor done for us so many years ago when those holy missionaries came from Europe to bring the Good News to the New World. I am so blessed to have been called here to play my small part in the salvation of these beautiful souls. I thank you all for your prayers and support. ~Sr. Holy Family