Tag Archives: convent life

Notes on my Spiritual Journey 4 – The Convent

My decision to leave university was both last minute and unexpected. As such, when I came to look for something to do a large aim was to find something which would give me the opportunity to reflect on my experiences and reassess my future plans. After an initial light hearted suggestion to my chaplain that I go off and become I nun, I approached an order in Birmingham to see if they’d let me live alongside them for 6 months. As it would have it, after an appropriate time of discernment for all concerned, I moved in about 6 months after leaving university.

The space provided me with great love and acceptance as well as encouragement to be myself. I truly began to understand that in serving the needs and requirements of those around me, especially those who were very humble and unassuming, I could not only find myself but also find great joy in that action. The regularity of routine, particularly meals and prayers, helped me to develop beyond my university experience and grow into an adult.

As part of my stay, I was encouraged to combine activity with action to deepen my understanding of my faith. I undertook an introductory course in Biblical Studies which helped my understanding, and my volunteering both inside and outside the community gave me many ways to see the ways in which the action was as important as the prayer and bible study.

The final part of my stay which continues to be of relevance to me is my spiritual director. During my residency, I was encouraged to find someone with whom I could share my thoughts and feelings about faith. I was perfectly matched on my first attempt to find a director, and continue to see him regularly. He has shared with me different facets of my spiritual experiences over the last 5 years. The sessions frequently provide a useful reminder of things which may have happened some time ago, or of changes I have made. My visits to see him also enable me to continue to visit the sisters and, no matter how formative each strand is, I find them permanently linked.

The sisters were truly welcoming and encouraging and it remains a great honour to have had them welcome me into their lives. They continue to be like family to me and hold a very special place in my heart.

Wonderings

All this talk of convents has got me thinking. I don’t think that I ever got round to writing a proper reflection on my time in the (not the one on the telly) convent. I wondered if people thought this would be worth reading. It’s two years, almost, since I left so I have had plenty of time to think.

Also, prayers would be appreciated for my grandad who is particularly weak and frail at the moment. I get the impression that folks at home are worried. It’s also a year since he had his stroke and it is almost time for my sister and nanny’s birthdays too and it would be nice if they could celebrate without worrying about Grandad so much.

Thanks.

Catch Up

I’ve been a little quieter lately, so I thought I’d give a brief update:

I’ve just been away for a few days. I went to stay in the Community for a couple of nights and it was really lovely to see them all again. The main reason for this trip was in order to attend a job interview but it was so good to see the sisters again.

As I said, I had a job interview the other day and am waiting for the result. I’ll update more once I know more.

Last night I went to a party and it was really good to be able to catch up with friends. While I’m sure the majority of people used the extra hour to sleep through, we partied right through until about 3am GMT. It meant I managed to stay over despite not expecting to.

It was nice to get back to my flat after a busy few days though. Last weekend I was away on the Saturday too so I was beginning to feel that I spend very little time here. Not that it is a bad thing. It does mean that I will need to clear the flat during the week rather than over the weekend as a friend is coming to visit next weekend. I have cleaned the kitchen today though.

How’s this for organisation and forward planning? I’ve bought my diary for next year! Seeing as I’ve filled up the majority of weekends this year, I need to start blocking off next year too. I think it must be the first year I’m getting this good at planning and organisation.

Being mature and grown up

I do try from time to time to do one or t’other of the above things. Hopefully not at the same time but I’ve faced the consequences today. I’ve got a cold and I’ve had it for a week now. I’d hoped that it would be getting better by now but it’s making little impression of it. I’m off to the doctors soon to check that it hasn’t gone to my chest. Anyhoo, I was supposed to be going to the nuns to stay for a week and I’ve cancelled. It’s not fair on a close knit community, especially one with some relatively old residents, to go and stay when you could pass on the lurgee. It’s really quite gutting as I was really looking forward to going and I thought it would do me good but I’m sure that I’ll think of something else to do for the free days I have.

If anyone has any suggestions of places North of Birmingham and South of Lancaster in the UK that are worth visiting please feel free to let me know. I was thinking of visiting Liverpool but I have been there on several occasions. Manchester likewise so I’ll see what I can come up with…

Oh, I have potential dates for the party too. Either November 17 or 26. Hopefully the 26th and I really hope there’s nothing that should be in my diary for those days…. 8pm if you’re interested.

I’ve got a lovely comfy chair

I’ve been given a lovely, really comfortable chair and it rocks, literally. It was quite a chore to get it into the flat as it’s wider than the front (well…) door. Eventually, after surgery, we got it into the flat and it’s so comfortable. I can get really settled now.

It was quite weird though as me and my friend were discussing my time in the convent. She said did I by any chance know of a certain person who had also gone to stay in a convent. Yes I did know her. She had been in the same convent as me at the time I was there! How bizarre. It’s such a small world as I’m not that near to convent now.

On a different tangent, I’ve started a new routine and I’ve been doing it for four days. I’m so hopeless at these things I thought I’d not make it past two days.

Wow.

Arrived

I arrived safe and sound. I discovered the landlord had acquired a bed for me. The relief. It’s a double too. Means I don’t have to sleep on the floor for the next week.

I’ve decided that the comfy chairs, while looking comfy are just too foul to use so will see if they can go. I’ve been offered nearly a dozen chairs anyway. It’s tables I’m short of… not that I’ll have space with all the chairs.

My colleagues bought me nice pressies which I’ll enjoy. I got a Peace Lily, which I’ve had to leave in the convent for now, and a £10 Debenhams voucher. 🙂

It was hard saying goodbye to the sisters, especially my mentor sister. She sent me a really nice email this evening to say that she’s missing me already. 🙁

The first batch of my stuff should arrive tomorrow. I think it will take ages for it all to get to the same place but it will keep things interesting.

I didn’t realise proper cleaning took so looooooonnnnnnnnng. I decided to clean the kitchen properly and even tho it’s small it still took all afternoon. I even cooked. Both these things are a shock. What I had forgotten to collect was my crockery so I had to come up with creative ways of serving the food. I also don’t have a fridge or freezer yet so it will be an interesting diet for a few days or weeks.

Anyway, shouldn’t be online through my mobile. It’s expensive. Will blog again when I can find some form of internet access.

Night

Emails and Dreams

Or even dreams and emails. That is the right order in more than one way.

Had the weirdest of dreams. It involved homophobic abuse, people from Home, from Student World and from the convent. It definately wasn’t fun. Oh well. It wasn’t real either, but it did mess me up for the rest of the day. Serves me right for not getting up when the first alarm went off. It happened between the alarms. Must. Do. Better.

I have been promoted to a dafter level of minion that before. I am a sucker for taking on more jobs and not saying no. Must learn from Alice’s list. As a result of my latest scheme I need to send out a whole bunch of emails and letters. Ideally before I move house. What with this being a good church structure it needs the approval of a committee first. It may take a while and I move in 9 days. I think I should have been more organised. Even so, I came online to email folks and I’ve forgotten who I came to email. Oops. I got distracted by my mentor sister who has just returned from holiday complete with a beach.

My mentor sister has ‘mum’ed me and supported me brilliantly throughout the last 6 months so it was really good to see her again.

There is so much to think about at the moment tho. My latest scheme is needing to have some idea about a church to go to. I’m not sure I want to stay where I attended last time I lived in The Other City but I also need to find somewhere that will accept me for who I am without saying nice things like I couldn’t possibly be. I also could do with finding someone who I could explore new spiritual direction things with. Hmmm… the church can be quite a problem at times.

Randomly changing the subject… Does anyone know of someone who might be able to lead a Christian workshop that’s crafty and to do with textiles, like making banners? I really could do with someone.

Update on the accommodation front

It’s been a busy week which is why this is the first time I’ve been online since returning from The Other City. I’m really tired. Two visits in a fortnight is somewhat tiring and I now have a massive to do list. Most of it needs doing before I go back to work on Wednesday…

I eventually found somewhere to live. It was something of an emotional trip. I went on the Thursday and came back on Monday but knew that I *needed* to find somewhere while I was visiting. On the Friday I saw a whole bunch of places that were complete dives. They weren’t even in particularly nice areas so they were definately charging way too much. On the Saturday I only saw one place. It was alright but it didn’t feel right and I’d been told to go on instincts. It would have done if necessary but it is about an hour away from where I would be working and miles away from my friends. Also the bathroom ceiling was only a few centimetres above my head. By Sunday I had worked myself into something of a worried state so went to find any of my friends who were around. Fortunately a number of them had decided to gather together for lunch so I kept them company.

On Monday everything went wrong, then everything went a bit better. The one house I was holding out for suddenly became unavailable and the only other places I had to view were either studios or over my budget. At this point, being the mature and grown up person I am, I had a kiddie style paddy. I was not in the best of moods and offended my friend in the process. Oops. I decided to wander about in a stress moping for a bit. While I was doing this an agency phoned to say, after some negotiation, that they could arrange a viewing for that day. So they did, and I made it worth their while.

The house, not flat, is a newly refurbished two bedroom house with new flooring, curtains, bathroom and kitchen. Even the doors are new. I won’t worry too much about the state it was in before all this work. I did just fall in love with it when I walked through the door so entirely forgot anything practical. I hope it’s alright. I even have the opportunity to ask the landlord for things so have requested an alarm, shower, fridge-freezer, washing machine and bed. I’m being optomistic but don’t expect to get them all.

Anyway, I submitted the application and arranged for the deposit and things to arrive so it’s being processed. I also got confirmation of my job, which was a relief cos I’d resigned the day before.

It’s all happening. I was at work the other day and my colleague, who is leaving on the same day as me, mentioned that there was only two weeks til she leaves. TWO WEEKS? I honestly thought there were 3 weeks left. What this means is that in two weeks time I will be in my house in The Other City and two weeks tomorrow I start my new job!!!

Just to help make me aware of how soon things are happening someone looked round my room in the convent to decide whether she wants it or not. That was something of a wake up call. So after that I started packing. Realistically I have 6 days at work and 6 days in the convent then I move. I have so much to do. My housemate is going to help me move things but at the moment it’s going from being something manageable to something really massive. About equal times for each.

I have been offered some chairs so that is a good start and all I need now is the rest of it… Won’t worry about that until I have the house confirmed and have moved in. I will have FOUR rooms plus the kitchen and bathroom. Seeing as I have lived in shared accommodation until now the space is going to be a shock to the system but hopefully a good one.

Oh well, all change…