adminWelcome to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport. I've been spending a lot of time in airports lately. This is in large part due to the fact that this summer I have been working for Franciscan University, helping them run these week-long retreats we call Franciscan LEAD. The purpose of LEAD is to help young people grow as disciples of the Lord so that they might introduce others to Christ. I've worked two LEAD week so far and I can honestly say that they have been so much fun! Fun. I think I forget about that sometimes. Pursuing a relationship with Jesus and even doing ministry are often times very serious tasks, but they also can be (and might even NEED to be) fun. Our Lord longs to rejoice and have fun with us, not just to walk with us through the tough stuff. As Pope Saint John Paul II says, "Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are an Easter people and alleluia is our song!" So as I prepare to dive into my third week of Franciscan LEAD tomorrow, I have given myself two goals: love and have fun. #lifeofjoyP.S. If you have a chance, shoot up a prayer for our 59 teens and 7 LEAD facilitators that will be coming out this week!
adminI wanted to take a minute to introduce you to my insane, weird, imperfect, dysfunctional, lovable, selfless, caring family. Growing up I was blessed to live pretty close to the majority of my extended family and over the years this became a gift that I learned not to take for granted. My family is definitely not perfect, not even close, but I can confidently say that each and every one of these hooligans has helped me along my journey to the Kingdom. One unforgettable lesson the Lord taught me through my family is what it means to be a missionary. I used to think that to be a missionary you had to go to third world countries to talk to foreigners about Jesus. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized that being a missionary simply meant sharing Christ with everyone I encountered…including my family.Now the members of my family are faithful Christians who seek to live out the will of God; despite this it took me years to find the courage to talk to them about my relationship with Jesus and the ways in which he has transformed my heart. I'm not entirely sure why I found/still find this so difficult (something about prophets in their own homes I guess), but at some point I had to decide that it was way more important for me to share the love of the Lord with my family than it was for me to stay within the realms of my comfort zone. Basically, being a missionary is hard, but then again, most things worth pursuing usually are. #lifeofjoy
adminSometimes the Lord shows his love for us through big, life-changing gestures. Other times the Lord speaks his love for us in small, seemingly insignificant moments. Today the Lord showed me his love through the music at Church.On our way up to Rockford, my little brother and I stopped at this church (Holy Family in Cahokia, Illinois) for the vigil mass. Now I should preface this by saying that I, unfortunately, have a completely irrational fear of the organ. I don't mean any offense to those of you who have a special place in their hearts for this particular instrument, but ever since I was a kid I just couldn't handle it (chalk it up to watching the Christmas edition of Beauty & the Beast one too many times). Anyway, today as we walked into this church I saw them setting up the organ for mass. I rolled my eyes at Jesus who I figured was just answering my prayer to grow in patience; but as mass began the organ wouldn't work. It was broken and the musicians had to resume their songs with the piano instead.I realize this probably seems super small and maybe even a bit silly, but in my experience it is not unlike the Lord to express his love in the little things. Dear Jesus, thank you for your love, for the mass, for small/beautiful/random churches, for joyful priests, for America, and for pianos. #lifeofjoy
adminHappy Independence Day everyone! Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Lauren Wright and I am one of Adore's newest full-time missionaries! I signed on with Adore towards the end of April, right before graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville and starting this August, I will be serving with the Frank family in Rockford, Illinois. Now I'm not sure what your crazy 4th of July plans are but I decided I would celebrate my independence by spending the day driving/moving approximately 920 miles away from my old home in Dallas, Texas to my new home in Rockford. Deciding to follow the Lord's call and move so far away from my home and my family was definitely not easy, but if I'm being honest I sort of saw it coming. In Scripture when Christ calls James and John we are told that they immediately "left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him" (Mark 1:20). I remember first reading this passage when I was in high school and knowing that it somehow applied to me, that at some point the Lord was going to direct this call to me and ask me to leave my family behind and follow him. For years this thought terrified me. Until college I had lived in the same house, in the same city, in the same state. But as I'm sure many of you have experienced, the Lord has a way of transforming our hearts so that he can fill them with more joy than they were originally capable of possessing. Over the next few days I hope to share more with you about the ways in which the Lord has fulfilled the desires of my heart through his call for me to live a missionary life, but for now let's just say that as I prepare to embark on this new adventure that the Lord has laid out for me I could not be more terrified, overwhelmed, excited, full of joy, and free! Sometimes the world tells us that being able to do whatever we want, to do what is easy is what it means to be free. But as I drive hundreds of miles away from what I have always known to be comfortable and easy in order to follow the call of my Savior, I can tell you that I've never been/felt so free. Happy Independence Day, let freedom ring! #lifeofjoy
adminWe're excited for you to meet our newest full-time missionary, Lauren Wright who will be joining @stbridgethsm this summer! In fact, she is driving from Texas to Rockford, IL right now to start her #lifeofjoy with Adore! Take it away @lauren2893…of course not until your next rest stop.
adminI couldn't resist using my last Adore post on this little man. This is 10 month old Leo Baum, trying out my favorite rosary, and the mystery hand is Megan's (she couldn't wait until she was done driving to tickle him obviously). Her love for this boy is unreal.I most certainly have learned a lot about ministry this summer – family dinners, small groups, VBS – I've helped with all of them. But even more than that, I have learned what it looks like to be a wife, mother, and missionary in the day to day. I have not only seen Megan and Paul's awesome triumphs, but I have also witnessed the challenges and dirty diapers that they conquer together. Above all, they have shown me the beauty of a holy marriage in their love for each other and for the sacrament. It has been such an honor to spend this summer with them as they start their family and face everyday life together. You guys mean so much to me!I've had so much fun with these posts over the last few days, but that's it for me! Go spread joy!!! – Libby #lifeofjoy
adminI asked Holly (right) to take some pictures of the coffee shop for me to post. She sent me a bunch of pictures of herself with my coworkers and said, "I brought my go pro to work just for you." I'm considering dropping out of Ave and making lattes with these people for the rest of my life. I'm a pretty regular barista. I'm just on standby for all your caffeine needs, but I do love learning a little bit about each person as I take their order. There's a lot to know about coffee shop-goers, and people in general, my just watching and listening. Even though it is the cutest, most hipster place in the world, I have the coolest coworkers ever, and they're what make working here so enjoyable for me. These are some of the most genuine, funny, and joy-filled people in my life… Working a nine hour shift isn't too bad when laughter is so contagious here! I'll be sad to say goodbye to these people and my beloved coffee shop when I leave for school in a few weeks, but I couldn't have asked for a more perfect summer job!#lifeofjoy
adminMegan, Paul and I made the trip to Catholic Youth Summer Camp today to check up on the Portsmouth kids who are there this week. The bottom picture is my little brother, Luke (he's a rockstar), who is on staff this summer. This camp has a special place in my heart!This is the first summer in the ten years that I won't be at CYSC as either a camper or a counselor. Needless to say, it has been hard for me to accept that I'm not able to escape the real world for a week of paintball and jet skis. I owe so much to this camp – it truly shaped me into the person I am. Every year I came back here I could see how I had grown and changed since the year prior, and look at the areas that still needed work. Since we didn't have much of a youth group growing up, it was my one week out of the year to fall in love with Jesus all over again.CYSC made me desire the #lifeofjoy that I know originates in relationships rooted in Christ. Yes, this is somewhat of a sad summer for me as I remember how much I grew at camp, but now I can see it through new eyes and appreciate it on a deeper level than ever before. I pray that it has the same impact on these kids from Portsmouth as it did me! I have this camp to thank for forming me in the faith by making it so real and attractive to me every summer for the last ten years. #livetheadventure #lifeofjoy @catholicyouthsummercamp
admin"What should we do for the picture?" … "This. No one smiles at 5:30 am." This is my crossfit companion, Father Adam. Yes, he's a priest. Yes, he's a boss. Days are best started before it's light outside, so I set my alarm and stumble (still half asleep) into crossfit at 5:30. I started crossfit three summers ago and have been thankful for sore muscles and torn callouses ever since. At first the only reason I made an effort was because I knew I needed to stay in shape for volleyball season in the fall, but as my alarm continued to go off at 5 morning after morning, I knew there was something more getting me out of bed. Crossfit has not only helped me stay healthy physically, it has been an awesome way to grow in virtue for me….Pope Pius XII once said: "Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a person courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole person, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth."…God gave us these bodies, these bodies that He LIVES in. Why would we not do everything we can to take good care of them? Even though Father Adam might disagree immediately after a workout, early-morning crossfit is such a source of joy in my life. And then to walk outside and see what kind of sunrise God painted – what better way to start the day? "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?"- 1 Corinthians 6:19#lifeofjoy