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News from the Novice: Walking the Way of the Cross

By Michelle Garlinski, SNJM

Christ is risen – indeed He is risen!

I realize it has been a long stretch since my last update and all I can say is that life has been full. It is wonderful to be watching a glorious sunset as I write. I am appreciating the longer days and although we were surprised with some “white precipitation” last weekend, I am confident that God has it all sorted out now. While I was at Mass this morning, I was experiencing even more gratitude towards my parents today. Forty-seven years ago, they chose to have me baptized and gave me the gift that keeps on giving – faith!

My ministry at St. Mary’s Academy in Winnipeg continues to unfold. It seems like there are no two days alike in the Charism and Mission office! My primary focus in Lent was finalizing the coordination and preparations for the Public Way of the Cross, which we co-sponsored with the Archdiocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. It was a true experience of full community involvement. Though Good Friday started with thunder and lightning at 6:00 a.m., by the time the 1,700 participants arrived for the procession, the weather upgraded to cloudy and windy. It was a moving and humbling public expression of our faith. The SMA Winnipeg Facebook page has an archived copy of the live video that we provided for those unable to walk in the procession. You are also welcome to visit the online photo gallery.

As for the formation and day-to-day life of the Novice, Lent also afforded me opportunities to have necessary, grace-filled and honest conversations with God and those accompanying me on my formation journey. It has been a challenging year. I have learned more about religious life and myself through these experiences. I could name some of my needs as I live into the vows in very uncertain times. In response to these needs and in order to move forward in my discernment, I will move out of my current living situation in early May into a smaller apartment and live on my own. Although my preference is to live with others, it is not possible now. I am committed to living community alone, and the Manitoba and U.S.-Ontario provinces are dedicated to doing this with me. I remain open to whatever might develop, trying to KEEP CALM AND TRUST GOD.

I continue to gather with the young adults for faith sharing, and the space in the new apartment will facilitate this in the future. I resumed my commitment at Gonzaga following a Lenten hiatus. It is amazing to see the growth (physically, intellectually and socially) among the students. It felt like I was never away as they welcomed me back with such ease. Our Archdiocese has undertaken a Synod process, and I have been part of a focus group developing the recommendations and priorities for Youth and Young Adult Ministry. It was an intense and meaningful experience. I pray that we will be open to where the Spirit is calling us to go and grow as Church. It feels like there is lots of room for improvement!

I pray that you continue to experience the joy that permeates this Easter Season. May we hold in prayer the many people – Sisters, Associates, family and friends – who are now embracing the fullness of NEW LIFE with our loving God.

Blessed be the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary – Alleluia!

Note: Michelle Garlinski was received as a novice of the Sisters of the Holy Names in July 2015. During her first year living with Sisters at our Province’s welcome house in Berkeley, CA, she began sharing her journey through a series of "News from the Novice" letters. She is spending in her missionary novice year at St. Mary’s Academy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. To learn more about becoming a Sister and the SNJM formation process, please click here.

In the photo: Sister Michelle helps to coordinate the Public Way of the Cross procession in Winnipeg.