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Following My Heart’s Desire…Into Spiritual Community

What is my heart’s desire? Is that how I should learn to focus this life I am given? What brings me joy? What character seems to be real for me? Who am I really — deep down inside? Those are the types of questions that have always interested me. Of course, I have had a lot of great outer fun in my life too. Earning degrees in subjects that I loved, having marriages, loving my kids — things like that. But even though I’ve always been really social, since I was a little girl, deep inside, I’ve also wanted to be a nun. That meant to me that I would live a life that was all about God — on the inside and on the outside. I thought about how wonderful it would be to live in a community, sharing my ideas and ways with like-minded people. I grew up an only child, and adopted. So believing I was “God’s child” always felt like the truest place to find sanctuary. So let’s fast forward to now — living in Milwaukee and settling in Riverwest. I first came to Milwaukee to visit my son and his new family. When I first got to town I saw a listing in the paper for “Christian Mysticism” and early morning meditation and evening prayers. I started going to the morning meditation at the Center of Light (in the Third Ward at that time) and learning about the Order of Christ / Sophia. A balance of male and female — Jesus Christ and Blessed Mary. I loved it. Deep mystical teachings that seemed universal to the core of all the spirituality I had studied all my life. The Kingdom of Heaven within. Get quiet enough to hear God. Jesus as the guide. These, to me, were the basics. But then it got deeper. Especially awakening to a relationship with Blessed Mary. I went to a retreat and found out that there were other centers around the country that had “Novice Programs” where communities of people shared their journeys of being students together. But in this Order the people all keep their day jobs. It seemed a perfect blend to me — to work in the world, but get enriched by living with those who were on the same path of spiritual transformation. I wanted that. I began talking about how cool it would be for a bunch of us from the Milwaukee Center of Light to all live together in a mansion by the lake. Then two of my spiritual “sisters,” Rachel and Carol, bought this wonderful duplex in Riverwest. I moved in, and it became my first opportunity to live in a “spiritual community” setting. We had prayers every night together, went to classes together, and followed the exercises and directions of our teachers. But we didn’t forget about the mansion by the lake. Last November Mother Clare Watts, one of our teachers currently based in Boston, was in town. Our Milwaukee group has been looking for a larger center as we grow. Mother Clare saw the Sanford Kane Mansion on Prospect Avenue and said, “How about THAT house?” It’s only three months later, but the house is now ours! The center will be moved to the mansion and eight of us are going to rent living spaces there. We’re having our Grand Opening the weekend of February 18, 19 and 20. My current housemate Carol will be moving in too. So — life moves us forward into our dreams. Into our hearts’ desires. And God’s grace is the energy that makes it all happen. I love this life! My next dream is to clear away everything within me that distracts me from God’s Will. About my “Inner Path”? Here’s what I am learning these days: I am not on the earth to explain or defend myself, but to clear away anything that is not of the very core of me — and be true to the very purpose of my being. Right now. Not for what others hope, want, or expect me to be, but who I am shown that I am. Right now, right here, my willingness to engage in the process IS the path I choose. For me, my own personal experience with the methods and teachings and practices of the Order of Christ / Sophia says to me — it’s time to crank it up a notch. I will be moving in with a community that is dedicated to transformation first, then service after that. The key seems to be to take on being taught and do the work. Here I go!