Sister Tracey decides to “roll and trust the gravity of grace” as an SP novice
Editor’s note: Sister Tracey Horan recently entered her Canonical Novice year with the Sisters of Providence. She asked in her request to the Congregation, “Beckoned by the rich legacy of Mother Theodore and the mission of Providence as I have witnessed it lived in this community, I move freely and intentionally into this time of deeper discernment. I come as I am, incomplete and evolving, as part of creation, requesting entrance into the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence. I entrust my emerging “yes” to you, my sisters, and ask for your prayers, support and companionship as we continue this journey together into the grace of the eternal now.” View a photo album of the event.
Sister Tracey shares her reflections with us thus far.
1. How has your experience been so far, as a woman in formation with the Sisters of Providence?
The best and most honest metaphor for my time in formation with the Sisters of Providence so far is a rollercoaster ride. Postulant year is full of transitions as I was traveling to visit sisters on ministry visits, attending Inter-Community gatherings in Wisconsin, and busy with volunteer ministries, book discussions, etc., back home at the Woods. Oh yeah – and discerning whether being a Sister of Providence fits with who God is calling me to be! So, the first year has been full of laughs, excitement and new nourishing relationships, along with the tears, confusion and challenges that come with transitioning to a different way of living with a new group of people. My retreat last month was a great time to reflect in gratitude on how all this – though at times difficult – has brought unique graces and growth that I’ve never encountered before.
2. Is it what you expected?
When I moved back into Owens Hall after having lived there as an intern at the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice for a year, I assumed I already had a good idea of what I was getting myself into. I was familiar with many of the sisters and the way things generally flowed among them. What I found was that intentional community is a whole different world compared with doing my own thing and spending time with sisters when I felt like it. Coming to understand what it means to really be present to other house members – to consider how my actions and decisions affect them – was an area of serious new learning for me this year.
3. What are you looking forward to as a Novice?
Lots of things! Since we are into our orientation time, I’m already getting a taste of the nourishing prayer experiences and solitude we will have this year, which I love. I know it will be challenging to peel back the layers of “ego” and get in touch with the vulnerable core of who I am in God (especially since I’m used to being so “productive,” in the way our society defines it), but I look forward to the growth and new understandings that will come with this time. I’m also excited about our weekly Inter-Community Novitiate gatherings in St. Louis. This will be a chance for us to gather with other men and women in formation to learn about and discuss various topics relevant to developing our interior life.
4. Anything else that you’d like to share?
My prayer as I begin this year is to move freely into this opportunity for intimacy with the Divine. I know this is such a unique opportunity – one that many would love to have – so I am holding an awareness that, as we read in Scripture, if I plant bountifully, I will reap bountifully.
A fun image for this that I encountered on my last day of retreat was rolling down a hill. One day as I was walking, I came upon a beautiful piece of green lawn that was just begging someone to roll down it. The grass was neatly cut, and there was a seriously perfect slope. I got into position, but then came the “What ifs” – “What if I roll over bees or biting ants?”…”What if my trajectory puts me smack into the middle of that tree trunk?”…”What if there are obstacles on the way down that I can’t see?” As these thoughts came into my head, I laughed to myself thinking how this position at the top of the hill was so similar to embarking on the canonical novitiate. I could sit and think of all the things that might be difficult or go wrong – and miss out on a great ride – OR I could just roll and trust that the gravity of grace knows what it’s doing. In case you didn’t guess, I rolled down the hill. And it was fantastic.
I love reading Tracey’s work! As with Tracey we as the Horan Family have had a transitional period as well. I know we have met many new “family members” in the past few years and have grown to love the all of the new Providence Family Members! I also feel like I have grown in my faith trying to keep up with Tracey!! We look forward to a continued growth! I also wanted to thank the Sisters of Providence for looking after Tracey and keeping her in line because after twenty some years of it I was growing weary!!!! Just kidding!! We Love You Tracey !! Padre and Madre!!! Joe Daddy!!!!
Mr. Horan, thank you for being such a blessing to Tracey in her faith journey, and thank you for the gift that Tracey is to the SPs.
Wow – thanks for your beautiful response, Papi!!! And as usual, you’re hilarious. 🙂 It’s been exciting to invite new Providence Family Members into our family, and I’m so grateful for the welcome they receive from you and Mom. Of course you both know my faith had a strong start at home, and I that’s a big part of why I’m here. Mil gracias por su apoyo! Love you!
Thanks for rolling with us, Tracey. And thanks for sharing your experiences so openly and honestly. You have a wonderful voice for touching others through your writing.
Thanks, Tracey, for your “yes!” to continuing to roll with the gravity of grace. I feel so blessed you are among us. Keep sharing your prophetic wisdom and writings with us. Peace and many happy landings along the path that Providence is tracing out for you.
Tracey, thanks for sharing so openly some of your anxieties! You are so gifted and are sharing these gifts with so many of us. We appreciate this. I’m glad you are enjoying and appreciating this very special canonical year. Keep on rolling, singing, being yourself as you meet the challenges on your Providence journey.
Keep on rollin’ Tracey! Just like with the rollercoaster, if you’ve got momentum going, you can barrel down one hill and be halfway up the other before you have to exert yourself again! You’ve always loved to exercise, but hope you will have many chances to just enjoy the ride! Love to you and all the good Sisters!
Querida Treisi, I once remember doing the very same thing at St. Meinrad Seminary . . . rolling down a hill. No pun intended b/c St. Meinrad is A.K.A. “The Holy Hill”. My problem was that I did not give it any thought before doing so, and I felt very nauseous for a very long time afterward! In fact, thinking about it right now after eaten stuffed shells (which your mommy, my sister, makes very well) makes me a little sea sick. So, here I am, over 26 years later, living in a foreign land (Duluth) with a wife and four children. My prayer for you is . . . discern well and enjoy every minute of it! All my love, Tio Juancito
P.S. I do hope to convince Grandma and Aunt Marty to come with me for a visit in September . . . maybe with your help. 🙂
Thanks much, Tracey! The amazing part of this journey is that we just keep on rolling…..but, how great to be on the journey together!