The summer marks a period of transition for both the RMC program and volunteers. It’s a time of saying goodbye to our volunteers as they prepare to move forward from their RMC experience and a time to begin preparations to welcome the new volunteers. Although goodbyes are never easy, especially when the RMC’s have become like family, there is still so much joy and beauty to be celebrated!
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Emily’s year with RMC at the Closing Mass. This was an opportunity to thank Emily for sharing of herself so openly this year and to pray with her as she prepared to journey forward. It was a beautiful gathering of friends, family, Sisters, Associates, Supervisors and Co-workers who expressed their gratitude for Emily’s presence this year. Before the close of the Liturgy, Emily shared her reflection on her RMC experience with the congregation in which she spoke of the many gifts she received throughout the year. Emily shared:
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a friend’s backyard, looking out onto the front lawn of St. Basil Academy. As I sat there watching the sun setting, I noticed a few fireflies starting to come out and flash all over the lawn. After the sun went down, and even though I couldn’t see the actual fireflies anymore, I saw hundreds of them flash like little bursts all over the lawn, around me, and down the road. I realized this unexpectedly beautiful night was an applicable depiction of my journey here as a Redeemer Ministry Corps Volunteer and the unanticipated blessings I have received through this program. When I was asked to write a reflection for the RMC Blog back in October, I focused on the need to trust in the process, letting go of some of the control in your life and trusting that things will work out on their own. Taking my own advice was not as easy as I expected. I think I can speak for more than just myself and say that this year did not turn out as I anticipated in the beginning. As I continued my year, despite a few challenges along the way, I experienced and received many gifts, popping up out of seemingly nowhere like those little flashes of the fireflies, that might never have occurred if I did not stay here in Meadowbrook and trust in the remainder of my time here.
One gift I received this year was the gift of community. Although I thought I understood what community life entailed, I have redefined my definition of community life after living in many communities this year. Intentionally living as a community is much more than sharing spaces and avoiding what drives each other crazy. Community life not only involves compromise, but also living your best life independently and receiving the support you need from your group while doing so. You make yourself available for each other completely and face challenges as they arise directly and collectively as a group. This is not an easy task; however, the lessons I have learned about community life while here as an RMC has undoubtedly changed how I will approach this in the future. As a volunteer from a completely different state, I was also welcomed into many communities this past year, that of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer, Bott Cancer Center, Comprehensive Breast Care Surgeons, and the Bucks County Breast Friends just to name a few. Each of these groups of people has nurtured in me a certain quality which I had not developed prior to coming here. Due to the support I received from these dedicated and passionate people, I have become a more assertive and passionate person who can pretty much talk to anyone (which might not have helped with my productivity, but certainly did with my ability to meet new people). I will carry the lessons of community with me to the next phase of my life.
Along with this gift of community, I have also made some amazing friendships here. By letting go of the control of my life, I made myself open for these wonderful friends to enter my life and show me the place they call home. Whether it was the Sisters I lived with, the staff of the Province Center, my coworkers, people I have met through the Healing Consciousness Foundation, or those who I met randomly along the way, I have shared too many laughs to count and had many meaningful conversations that I will always remember. Many of my adventures here were initiated from an invitation of these wonderful people- dancing in South Philly, driving through Lancaster County, attending a two day genetics conference at Penn Medicine, walking all over Center City to the Mutter Museum, and joining in a few trips to WaWa along the way. These friends have also shown me an inexhaustible amount of hospitality for which I can’t thank them enough. I am incredibly grateful for the coffee runs, the guest rooms, the lunch plans, the visits to everyone’s pets, and the many opportunities I had to “tag along if I wanted to.” These moments, and the friends who have made them possible, are gifts I am truly happy I received this year.
Even though I could talk to you all about my RMC year all day, I will just mention one more final gift I have received here. By volunteering my time this year, I was given the opportunity for personal growth. Each day, I had an excuse to stop and reflect on the happenings of each day. I had a wonderful director, mentors, and the Sisters to challenge me to consider the intention of everything I said and did. I have lived simply and intentionally, reflecting on my life and my goals for my program. In doing so, I have chosen a new career path, learned more about own abilities and limitations, and carried out the lessons my faith has taught me. By serving others for a year, I have become my most authentic self, a gift which I will never be able to repay the Redeemer Ministry Corps and the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer.
This brings me to my closing. I just want to thank the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer and my director Lisa for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Not only has this program brought me the gifts I mentioned, but also has just been a wonderful blessing in my life in general. I will always remember the memories I have made here in Meadowbrook and carry them with me onto the next step in my journey just as my fellow RMC alumni have done before me. I have had an unexpectedly beautiful adventure here. Thank you.
After the Closing Liturgy, Emily participated in a three day debriefing retreat in which she was able to start processing her experience and prepare for life after RMC. On Thursday, July 27th we officially said goodbye by sending her off with the Sisters traditional handkerchief wave! Thank you Emily for a wonderful year and many blessings in your year ahead!
And just like that, preparations for a new beginning with our newest RMC member, Regina Scheller begins! Regina will be joining us August 20th, coming all the way from Germany! Please keep Regina in your thoughts and prays as she prepares for this new life journey. You can learn more about Regina, here.