I recently had the opportunity to stay at Holy Name Monastery while attending a week-end graduate school conference at Saint Leo University. I had several reasons not to attend the conference because of the cost in travel from Virginia; leaving seven children (from age 3 to age 18); having to take time off my job as a 911 Dispatcher; and putting all my family responsibilities on my husband Brian’s shoulders.
We moms care for everyone – our children, husband, parents, friends and neighbors. Taking time to care for ourselves is not a priority. But have I ever learned by spending time with the Sisters! My husband (a fireman) and I have recently been arguing and having trouble solving our conflicts. Big decisions have been weighing me down over whether it would be best to wait to do my second year of graduate school; the advisability of keeping my very stressful job which I’ve held for ten years; and my marital relationship was as shaky as I was fearing…all keeping me from sleep and from thinking clearly.
My stay at the monastery was not planned nor was it what I expected, but the experience was profound. My stress level and insomnia were just accepted as part of my life. I never dreamed that spending time in such a quiet, peaceful place would bring such peace and awareness. The Sisters were incredibly nurturing and service oriented. Though not Catholic, I even decided to attend prayers and Mass. It was definitely God’s plan for me to be here! Even the meals with the Sisters brought me back to wonderful memories of my grandmother’s home and how it felt when she cared for me.
Being cared for and cared about by the Sisters, prayer, time to be introspective, walks in the gardens, talking to God and sleeping soundly, have brought me back to what is important. My perspective has dramatically changed, my energy is renewed and clarity is firm. I had no idea how much I needed that time. Even my husband, since my return home, has seen that I’m more relaxed and easier to talk with. And those big decisions have been made – I will attend my second year of grad school and next year begin a new career helping people in the field of social work.
Family life can still be hectic at times, but I’m grateful for a path and a new sensitivity to the importance of prayer and reflection in my life.
In telling all my friends and work colleagues about my stay, they said it sounds like a “Spiritual B&B.” For me, it is extraordinary that God brought me to Holy Name and a life-changing revelation whether I knew it was needed or not!
Kristina Moore – August 2017