Discovering Trust, Discovering God

Friday, June 28, 2024

When a BSVM community is nearing the end of their year, we have a Closing Retreat in June to help begin the conversations of transition, change, and synthesis. In this post, we recall the reflection from one of our Ministry Volunteers from the 2010-2011 community who reflects on the lessons she learned through community and her ministry site that helped her build trust and rely on God. Read her reflection below!

Discovering Trust, Discovering God
By Kari Kragness, BSVM 2010-2011
A graduate of the College of St. Benedict
Published in Bon Secours Beacon (now The Companion), Issue 12, Winter 2012

In June, my fellow Bon Secours Volunteers and I attended our closing retreat at the Spiritual Center in Marriottsville. Beginning the retreat, a whirlwind of emotions and worries surrounded me as my year of service was coming to an end. Questions about the future engulfed my thoughts: what will I be doing next year? How am I going to carry the immense awareness, knowledge, and experiences into the next phase of my life? How will I relay to my family and friends the year of transformation I have just undergone? Am I ready to say goodbye to the Bon Secours community to which I have become so close?

I certainly did not think any of these questions would be answered in a four-day retreat, but with the guidance of our director, our spiritual director, and our close-knit community, answers to these questions were in reach. Reflecting upon each pillar of the program, I was able to summarize what I have learned, how I have grown, and how I will carry these values into the rest of my life.

The lessons that we learned from living in community will forever change our relationships with others. We all came into this program from various backgrounds, lifestyles, and communities. We left college with the mentality that we needed to focus on ourselves in order to succeed. We had never been in a situation before that involved intentional community living. All of a sudden, our purpose was to encourage and allow every person in our ‘family’ to make an equal contribution. By having to rely on each other for emotional support and daily tasks such as driving and grocery shopping, we began to build trust among each other.

Placing trust in community members enabled us to see how this lifestyle can benefit us and deepen our relationships. We had to learn to recognize our own inabilities to accomplish certain tasks so that we could let go and allow others to do things for us. Being able to carry this value into future jobs, living situations, and friendships will allow amazing things to be accomplished. A little bit of trust can go a long way and will only bring you closer to yourself and to those around you.

Over the year, I discovered that the ability to place trust in others also can bring you closer to God. This ability was a quality I admired immediately in the patients I spoke to each day in the hospital. When patients told me about challenging times in their lives, they said how blessed they felt to have God there to guide them. Hearing their stories encouraged me to search for this deep and trusting faith in my own life. Sr. Nancy Glynn, CBS, told me (and I will never forget), that “the ability to form this sense of trust with God comes with your ability to trust others.” Her words serve as a constant reminder that having faith in God stems from having faith in others.

The ability to see God’s grace has also strengthened my faith and my understanding of trust. I have discovered that you don’t have to have a momentous experience to see God’s presence. Grace can be found in the simple pleasures of daily life – catching up with a friend, the first sunny day of spring, or hearing a child’s laughter. Taking time to recognize these moments is one way to stay in the present and appreciate all the blessings in life, no matter how small.

This new understanding of trust is one example of the immense amount of insight and knowledge that I received this year and which will forever be a part of me. In some ways, completing my year of service is a closing to a chapter in my life. Yet, I believe that the transformation, discovery, and hope that I have found will follow me into the many chapters to come.

Following BSVM, Kari began studying in the post baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Kari with her BSVM community and some Sisters of Bon Secours