Saturday, June 15, 2013

Meet Mary Reilly, our new Lay associate

I believe exercise helps my body to perform better and improves my health. My soul also needs to be nourished in the same way. For me, that way is through the belief in a higher power that I chose to call God and daily contact with Him through prayer and meditation.

I was raised in and still practice the Catholic faith but at times I have found myself feeling separated from God because of not always devoting the time I should to spiritual endeavors. I found myself spiritually floundering was in the year 1994. My quadriplegic brother had died of sepsis and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had hospice care at home until it became impossible for my family to work and still give her the care she deserved. My parish priest suggested that Marion Manor in Taunton, MA might be a good solution for her terminal illness.

It was there that I had my first introduction to the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation. Sister Paulina and her fellow sisters were just wonderful to her during her stay and went out of their way to make her as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, she died three weeks after entering the nursing home in 1997.

The sisters had asked several times to come and see their facilities in Dighton when I got a chance because it was so beautiful there. I just never seemed to find the time because life always seemed to get in the way. I periodically returned to visit other friends and relatives residing at Marion Manor and would see the sisters and have an enjoyabel chat.

Several years passed and once again I felt that my life had become unmanageable and that my spiritual life was suffering because of it. I searched for different ways that I could build a stronger relationship with God. That search led me to consider consider the Lay Associate Program of with the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation. I truly feel it was part of God's plan for my life that with the sisters I could achieve the peace and serenity I sought. 

At the beginning, I had no idea if I would have the courage to complete the formation requirements. When they told me it would be at least a two year process, I was frankly a little intimidated. Slowly, with the help and generosity of the sisters, I learned a lot about the order and what would be expected of me as a lay associate. Sister Carole Mello was extremely supportive during my formation process and I can never thank her enough for being my guide.

It has been such a rewarding journey to become a part of the life of the sisters. On July 9th of 2013, I became a member of the Lay Associate group and made a one-year commitment to contribute to the mission of the sisters. I look forward to and hope to grow more and more into the person God wants me to be. I encourage anyone who might be thinking of enhancing their own spiritual life to consider becoming a Lay Associate. I can’t say enough about the positive things that I have enjoyed through my interactions with the sisters and the group.I think it was one of God's little miracles that I was inspired to take a journey on the road towards self-improvement and spirituality. I will forever be grateful to all the sisters for helping me to be the best I can be.