By Angela Bursch
The answer is a resounding “Yes,” but the story begins with a “No.” You see, without that one word, perhaps our family would not be what it is today. While in college, the campus minister at the local church was a Dominican Sister. She invited the young women discerning a religious vocation to attend one of her community’s “Discover” weekends. As I had considered being a sister during my childhood and teen years, I decided to go. It was while on this retreat, during prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, that I felt a very firm “No,” this is not for you. Little did I know then that it was simply a “no” to religious life, not the Dominican Family.
Now 22 years later, I have been married to my best friend, John, for 19 years, and we have been blessed with five wonderful gifts from God: Karina, Michael, Amanda, Evan, and Alyssa. Our family’s part of the story begins with a “Yes!” in 2005. Through a mutual friend, we were reconnected with the sister from our college days and when asked if she knew a priest that would be a support to our oldest son who was discerning a vocation (at the age of 6), the answer was “Yes! Father Andrew Carl Wisdom.” And so the story continued.
What began as a quest to meet the spiritual needs of our son, has blossomed into tremendous blessings and spiritual enrichment for our entire family. Every experience that we have had with the Friars has been filled with kindness, laughter, friendship, and faith. As we were welcomed to share in evening prayers and meals, or a book was shared and topics were discussed, we were slowly and gently being introduced to the four pillars of the Dominicans: Prayer, Common Life, Study, and Preaching. There is always an invitation to learn more about our Catholic Faith and the Dominican family, thus growing closer to the community and in the process growing closer to each other in our family.
As a mother, I see how the Four Pillars relate to our family life. Common life is an obvious correlation. As a family, we simply have to share a common life to be a loving and nurturing family. It is our common experience that draws us closer. Prayer in our family leads us all to grow in our relation with God our Father, Jesus our Brother and Mary our Mother. There is nothing more beautiful to me than to hear our children pray spontaneously from their heart. Study of our faith and sharing what we learn enlivens the Spirit in each of us. Preaching, I have learned can be done in a myriad of ways. For one child it is a quiet one on one discussion while riding the school bus about what the beads are for that they are holding in their hands. For another, it is defending their faith during a class discussion. For another, it is the quiet witness of their faith in how they treat other people, especially their siblings.
I can see and I feel how each of the Four Pillars supports the other, making each part stronger. Just like each member of our family. Just like each member of the Dominican family. I can see the thread of the Holy Spirit weaving us all together, forming the answer to the question, “Yes!”