Sunday evening we welcomed Father Joshua Ehli, Deacon Kregg Hochhalter; chaperones Marlo Nelson and Dana Kostelecky, and seven 18 year-old girls to St. Mary’s Home. The group was traveling from their home diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota through the Midwest on a 4-day “nun run.”
In case you never heard of it, a “nun run” is a road trip in which a group of vocation-discerning young women (mostly high school seniors and college students) visit several convents and/or communities within a small period of time to get an inside look into religious life. We were the second stop on their inaugural run, which all came about when some of Fr. Ehli’s students asked why he only brought the “boys to seminaries.”
The first leg on the Chicago adventure was a trip via our elevated subway (aka the “el”) to Ford Theatre to see “The Beauty and the Beast,” which two of the girls had just performed in school. The following morning, everyone joined us for meditation followed by “hospitality” where we made beds and visited the Residents. After Morning Prayer and breakfast, the group helped serve breakfast to the Residents in the infirmary.
Because it was also the day of the yearly outing for the Residents, two of the nun “runners” along with Fr. Ehli, joined Sr. Caroline and Sr. Mary to climb aboard the bus to tour Chicago. The group assisted the Residents and enjoyed the sightseeing.
The others who stayed back toured the home and helped with the Residents. In the afternoon, they joined the Sisters to play Bingo with the Residents. We then headed out on a walk through the neighborhood where we stopped in to see St. Vincent de Paul Church, one of Chicago’s marvels, and make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Everyone ate supper together and we ended the evening with night prayer in our main chapel. It was a lovely day!
Tuesday started way before dawn, when two of the “nun runners” joined Sr. Caroline and me on our weekly trip to the produce market where we solicit donations of vegetables for the home. The rest of the group made a pilgrimage also by subway to the Shrine of St. Jude in South Chicago.
We all returned in time for 11:00 a.m. Mass, which Father Ehli celebrated. Deacon Kregg’s homily challenged us to change our focus from “what we are not allowed to do” to how we can say “yes” to God.
Although the visit was short, the young women quickly fell in love with the Residents! We are looking forward to seeing our nun “runners” again.
Top: Our nun “runners” pose with the community in the chapel.
Middle: Sierra joins Sister Agathe and Residents for a friendly game of Bingo.
Bottom: Angie says goodbye to her new friend Sr. Lucille.