Preparing for the Unknown

I begin a course of chemotherapy tomorrow so will probably be blogging only intermittently, if at all. It is fitting that I should start this new phase of my life on the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, the Dies Memorabilis of the English Benedictine Congregation, and my own Clothing anniversary. However much we try to prepare for certain eventualities or to predict outcomes, we have to live with the unpredictable, with scenarios for which we are most definitely not prepared — as Our Lady did with such spectacular consequences for us all. I think that is what it means to live by grace. It is certainly what is meant by monastic profession, when we place our whole lives not only in the hands of God (the easy bit) but also in the hands of fallible human beings (the difficult bit) and learn to walk, as St Benedict says, by another’s judgement and decisions.

So, you get a little rest from my words, at least for now. The prayer, however, goes on and on.


54 thoughts on “Preparing for the Unknown”

  1. Thank you for your blog: always incite full and inspiring. I do hope and pray that your treatment goes smoothly .all will be well! Blessings and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ!
    With my love. Brenda

  2. We do not need “a little rest from” your words, Sister. We will miss your wisdom and insight.

    Our prayers go with you as you undertake the treatment, for its success.

  3. Congratulations on the anniversary of your clothing – Ad Multos Annos – truly! We continue to pray that the treatment goes well and that it helps. At least properly clothed nuns don’t need to worry over duly about how their hair looks, which might be a small consolation.

    Hugs and prayers,

  4. Will much miss your blogs – always insightful and challenging – I look forward to their return, but, in the meantime, pray God’s blessing be upon you, particularly during your spell of chemo. You are a wonderful example of courage, acceptance and good humour but I’m sure you have difficult times and at those times please be assured of the love and prayers of your Twitter community as well as those you see face to face. God bless you.

  5. Thank you once again for your words of clarity and insight. Ever practical and useful.

    I look forward to hearing from you after your tour.

    All blessings, and all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

  6. Just to reiterate, I will be continuing to pray for you daily, Sister. For your own peace & strength to be supplied by God; for the oncology team, that they will be wise & kind; and for the treatment, that it may bring a greater measure of healing than anyone expects … and that it’s side-effects may be less traumatic than anticipated.
    With true empathy & love in the Lord.

  7. Thoughts and prayers with you each day. You give so much to others how can we repay you, other than by our prayers and actions. May God bless and keep you each step of the way.

  8. I remember that “Dies Memorabilis” very well. I was Sr. Catherine’s fellow postulant, and after that day, fellow novice! Although I eventually left monastic life to pursue a calling in music, my monastic grounding forever formed and changed me. Part of that monastic grounding were the seeds of learning to live life as it comes, knowing that it is completely unpredictable, and that we have only God’s grace upon which to rely. Or, as the Buddha would say, one of the three marks of existence is impermanence: everything changes. So, as Mary did, we hold our desires and attachments, our entire lives and every aspect of them, very lightly, because everything does change except God.

  9. In my thoughts and prayers every day, dear Sr Catherine. Lighting candles, too.

    May you be strengthened and upheld. We pray that ‘their hands’ will be God’s hands, their insights informed by him. And God bless those friends and the community who support you.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    With much love, Rosy.

  10. I pray for your healing, that God’s wisdom is in all the judgements and decisions made by the medical professions during your treatment and that His grace radiates from you into their lives. X

  11. Dear Sr Catherine…may you ever be clothed in His grace. In reading all the other responses I am heartened to find myself within this online community of thinkers and praying people who find your words of great worth and insight – and rejoice that we are all linked in prayer and, with you, travel on the Way. God bless you and Sr Lucy and Br Duncan.

  12. May God bless you with the strength you need to recover your health and may the doctors, nurses and all responsible for your care be blessed with tender hearts and healing hands.

  13. Dear Sister, I follow you with great interest and admiration. Be assured and comforted by our prayers. Please be put at ease by those words from Cardinal Newman, “he knows what he is about.”

    Praying for your healing and consolation.

    with love

  14. Dear Sister,
    With every day, with every step, with every breath and very heartbeat I encourage you and pray for you , with this on-line community…”even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”..

  15. I wish I knew great words of uplifting wisdom. Failing that, with your hand hold tight to the one who has already prepared the way and hold our prayers and thoughts for you in the other.

  16. oh Sister, i did not know!! My very Catholic, almost 89 yr old Mom, here in Portland, Oregon, just finished a small course of radiation for her terminal Merkel Cell Carcinona. My poor Mom only having it to be able to keep her leg until God calls her home anytime from now to 6 months from now. My Mom is truly doing penance before she leaves and until now, was a cancer survivor of 52 years, breast cancer. Many prayers for you during your experience and may God hold you in the palm of His Hand and lighten your load and give you strength Sister. (on a curious note, my 12 yr cat, the best thing God has ever given me in my 56 years, also had Merkel Cell cancer this past summer. He had surgery and is fine. Very odd, indeed, it is a rare csncer!)

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