Sister Joyce Lorentz
|Sister Joyce Lorentz in Saskatchewan.|
When I entered the SSND community, my first ministry was as an elementary school teacher. This lasted 18 years. Seeing the need to work with child and parent together to more effectively bring about the child's potential growth, I moved into counselling, at first with abused women and children, and then with others. I focussed on working with parents of young children and on fostering their relationship to each other.
Although at present, I am involved in several part-time ministries, all of which are SSND "charism-atic" in some way. I continue counselling, and have recently completed the Spiritual Direction Training Program. For the past few years, I have been journeying in prayer or through spiritual direction with folks in the Lay Ministry Formation Program, with SSND Associates, with Sisters from other congregations, and with other laity. Truly this is "gift", and I stand in awe at the marvellous and unique ways God works in each person. At the same time, my own faith and relationship with my God is deepened.
My involvement in Spiritual Direction in the Regina Archdiocese includes facilitating some reflection evenings or retreats, and giving input sessions for RCIA, Lay Ministry, or other groups. Although I enjoy preparing such sessions immensely, it is always a challenge for me to present. Public speaking in front of groups is not my forte; I am better at one-on-one. For sure, my trust in God's Spirit speaking through me is growing.
I lead Taize Prayer evenings on the third Monday of each month. One of our SSND Associate couples, Carol and Bruce Sheldon, and their family, has been most supportive in helping lead the chants, readings, and intercessory prayers. We've had a positive response; from as few as seven to as many as 30 come each night, young, old, Catholic and non, men and women. Together we pray for peace and reconciliation among Christians and among all nations, for that oneness for which Jesus Christ came: "that all may be one".
My commitment to our congregation's Associate Program has been most life giving. The Associates here in Regina are a very dynamic group; we meet monthly. I share with them our SSND charism and endeavour to support them in living out their baptismal call in their chosen lifestyle. We use opportunities together to stay informed about global concerns that our SSND congregation is addressing as well as those that are in our local area; e.g., we SSNDs have corporately committed to raising awareness in ourselves and others of the tragedy of human trafficking of women and children. Like Blessed Theresa, we believe in the transformation of persons, one at a time. Awareness is the beginning of transformation.
Study to affect early childhood education
Although I am not actively counselling parents and children together (filial therapy: enhancing parent-child relationships through play) I have been involved with parents and young children through a six-year longitudinal pre-kindergarten study, contracted by the University of Regina. Hopefully this study will help bring about change in the unjust structures affecting early childhood education here in Saskatchewan for those children from backgrounds of high risk - poverty, abuse, neglect, addictions, etc. "Gospel poverty urges us to serve the poor; we work actively to eliminate the root causes of injustice in order to realize a world of peace, justice, and love".
Living my call
For many years I taught and then worked at a Child and Family Centre; time was structured and job descriptions clearly defined. I find it challenging to work without such a structure and to balance several part-time ministries. This is a challenge in living the gospel poverty I have vowed that includes trust in divine providence. Many gifts have come however, particularly the gift of contemplative seeing and hearing, and the prayer of presence. I am most grateful to be able to respond to needs when they present themselves, to be more attentive to God's call through the situations of life, through people in their immediate need, pain or loss. I am grateful to have had some flexibility with time commitments to be able to respond with phone calls, visits, letters, and emails locally or adding my voice to others on behalf of innocent victims globally.
As an SSND, I find strength and courage to live my vows from day to day in union with my faithful companions and friends, Jesus and Mary, through listening and openness in prayer, through the loving support of community: SSNDs, Associates, parish, family, friends, and in my ministry, confident that God and God's will is in all.