I'm working as a pastoral assistant for the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart which is in south-west Germany. I'm based in 5 parishes in the very south of Germany (well, about 45 miles north of Lake Constance) where I'm doing a lot of youth work. Besides working with young people in general, I also teach RE at a vocational school, am responsible for confirmation classes, go to all kinds of meetings (anything from parish council meetings to annual youth worker meetings), do some work in adult catechesis and bits and pieces for different groups and people from my parishes. I love my job and I always find it hard to describe what I'm doing - I never do the same thing 2 days in a row and there are always new things and ideas coming up so my job is very diverse and constantly changing. I am a candidate with the Franciscan Sisters of Sießen and hope to start noviciate next summer or the year after.
Week of 18th March - Well, there's only one recommendation I can think of right now: our new Pope Francis (what a wonderful name) - let's pray for him!
Week of 6th February - I'm currently reading (well, have been reading it since Christmas and am nowhere near the end yet) this book: How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter and I can really recommend it. It's interesting, touching, inspiring, very well written and just a great way to get a slightly new perspective on life.
Week of 17th October - I just found this - I think it's a really strong slideshow (produced by the BBC with audio interviews from priests & seminarians at Allen Hall Seminary) - it's a great insight into vocations.
Week of 5th September - my reco this week is people: Celia and Guy, and the lovely hard working Ruth. :)
Happy birthday, Totus2us!
Week of 15th August - I thoroughly recommend lying on the beach and reading a good book while you're listening to the waves, feel the wind in your hair and smell the salt in the air. Oh, I'm so glad I'm on holiday. :)
Week of 8th August - Please pray for the english OFM province and especially for a friend of mine who's considering leaving the order. They seem to have some major difficulties and others have already left. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide each of them, to lead them to the right decisions and to strengthen them in whatever they do.
Week of 25th July - This week and next I'm going to spend four days with ten of my students on mental health issues and mental disorders. We're trying to raise awareness and also deal with our own prejudices and fears. I hope and pray that all will go well and also for those whom we are going to meet in the course of our little project...
Week of 4th July - On Wednesday 6th July 2011 Christians all over the world are writing letters to God. These letters are personal letters to God which you put in an envelope addressed "to God" and stick a stamp on it and then post it on Wednesday some time before 4pm.
The idea was inspired by the film "Letters to God" - you can find more information and links on Facebook here.
Week of 27th June - I've been to a convent of franciscan sisters last week for a retreat and I can thoroughly recommend it. I haven't felt so revived and close to God for a very long time. :) Btw, if anyone from Germany is reading this (or anyone who might come to Germany for a retreat), this was at Franziskanerinnen von Sießen.
Week of 6th June - Last week I've been to France and met loads of people there who do voluntary work for the church - they were such an inspiration! I've also been in Taizé for a few hours and I realised how much I owe to the brothers there: I went there frequently when I was younger and they kept me in the church during a few difficult years when I found believing in God almost impossible.
I know this is not exactly a reco but hey... :)
Week of 30th May - I'm currently reading a letter of the French bishops called 'Proposer la foi dans la société actuelle' (Proposing the faith in contemporary society) and am finding it very inspiring. It made me think about the state of the church in Germany, in Europe and the world, and about how we're living and proclaming what we believe. It's not a very 'loud' letter but I find it very deep and moving all the same.
16th May - my reco's a quote which I often read (and unfortunately often forget, too):
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in but with what is still possible for you to do." Pope John XXIII
Week of 9th May - Can't think of any good recos but since it's rather sunny and warm here in south Germany I recommend bavarian beergardens, Weißwürste, Weizenbier and good company. ;)
25th April - I haven't really got a recommendation this week but instead I've translated a text of Klaus Hemmerle, a former bishop of Aachen in Germany, which I find very beautiful, and which really says it all...
The Lord is risen to the Father:
in God's innermost secret there lives a human heart for ever.
The Lord is risen to you, to me:
in your heart's, my heart's innermost secret we are with Him
who loves us to the end
and who lives eternally.
The Lord is risen amongst us:
there isn't anything between us but Him
who wants to write His story
in us and with us,
the story of love.
Week of 21st February - Haha, I gotta recommend south Germany this time of year. It's carneval season which is great fun and a bit like a huge fancy dress party - no better way of looking stupid (and it's a very catholic thing over here, too)! ;D
Week of 24th January - I'm completely exhausted so I recommend sleep and some time off (the latter is not going to happen any time soon for me but maybe for you?). *yawns*
Week of 17th January - Mother Teresa: In the Name of God's Poor - It's a bit old and it's very good (as are most Catholic things) and you can watch it on Youtube: here's the 1st part -
Week of 10th January - I wish I had anything close to Becki's news ... But no.
So I'm gonna recommend sleep instead since I haven't had much over the last week.
Week of 20th December - I recommend you all try teaching confirmation classes. I've got a group of 6 boys and they are absolutely wonderful - of course, sometimes they are giggling and very annoying but most of the time they are interested, curious about pretty much anything, very honest and - to my surprise - utterly creative when it comes to expressing their faith. Oh, and they're really funny, too, so that's a bonus. :)
Week of 6th December - I've got to recommend good and faithful friends such as dear Ruth who never forget you and who persistently pester you with their lovely emails even if you rarely ever respond or give them a call. They are one of God's ways to remind you of His love no matter what... :)
Week of 29th November - I just got to recommend being a teacher. My students have recently started to behave like proper teenagers - giggling, loud, annoying teenagers - I absolutely love it, they're such good fun (even though teaching is a bit of a challenge these days)! :)
Week of 15th November - Hot chocolate. :)
Week of 8th November - I'm currently reading this book '... und plötzlich Nonne' by Katharina Schridde which tells the life-story of a woman who, after many trials and struggles, becomes a protestant benedictine nun. It's absolutely captivating and inspiring - I find it nearly impossible to put it down.
Week of 18th October - I only just discovered my very first white hair this morning... Hence I recommend growing old in style. :D
Week of 4th October - Have a look through old CDs and tapes which you liked when you were younger. You might be surprised at what you'll find - long forgotten memories, people you never realised you cared about, and just generally little twists to your views on life these days...
Week of 16th August - Pilgrimages :)
Week of 2nd August - Blaues Wunder!!!
[think this has something to do with a day that deserved lots of celebration this week]
Week of 12th July - It's incredibly hot in Germany so I recommend ice-cream. Lots of it. And then some more.
Week of 5th July - My reco this week after so many weeks without any recos is going to be: Enjoy the summer, have barbeques, get a tan, go swimming or shopping and eat some ice-cream. If you haven't got a proper summer where you are then come and visit Germany - it's beautiful right now. :)
Week of 26th April - Totally mundane but very good all the same - CHOCOLATE. :D
Week of 19th April - Not that I'm any good at following my own advice - but: Take a break. :)
- Flash is required!
Week of 5th April (Easter Week) - I just listened to Fr Philip's Man for Others and his words really touched me - so I'm gonna recommend him and his wonderful and touching talk. Happy Easter!
Week of 29th March 2010 - since it's Holy Week I keep thinking about perfect love and how I can't seem to grasp it... But maybe that's the whole point of perfect love? I am because I am loved and I am loved because I am. Stronger than death is this love - don't think I'll ever really understand it.
Week of 22nd March 2010 - My recommendation has to be springtime and lots of sun. :)
Week of 15th March 2010 - Even though the book is written in German - it's witty, it's funny, it's easy to read: Wolf Schneider's 'Speak German'. So if you can read German I thoroughly recommend reading it and if you don't know any German I suggest you start learning it. After all, even the Pope's a German... ;)
Week of 8th March 2010 - I know English people don't really do this but I'm going to recommend them anyway: home-made herbal teas with sage, lemon grass, peppermint, rosemary, daisies, lavender, thyme, raspberry leaves, blackberry leaves, rose petals, and whatever else you can find. Dry your herbs and then start experimenting - it's good fun and after a while you'll be able to make really lovely and individual teas. Btw, sage is very good when you've got a sore throat, peppermint helps with an upset stomach, daisies and thyme are calming when you're coughing and lavender has a generally calming effect (so perfect for a late night cup of tea).
Week of 1st March 2010 - Father Michael Dunne's 3 2us on the transfiguration and lent. Very inspiring :)
Week of 22nd February 2010 - Philippe Jaroussky is one of the best counter tenors I've ever heard and I absolutely love how he can make fun of himself and his music. :D
Week of 15th February 2010 - This week I've got 2 recommendations: up until Shrove Tuesday enjoy your life and then on Ash Wednesday start tidying up...
Week of 8th February 2010 - This week I recommend you start thinking about lent. Think about who you are and who you'd like to be, think about your relationship with Christ, how it is and how you'd rather have it be. Think about what you could give (or take) up in order to get closer to Christ. And think about what you need to give up to become what you're meant to be.
Week of 25th January 2010 - Gin and tonic: nothing better than g&t after a long hard day... :D
Week of 18th January 2010 - These days most of my friends seem to be getting pregnant or having children. So I'm going to recommend knitting. It's very calming for your nerves, it's pretty (well, at least it's supposed to be) and everybody likes to get hand-knitted clothes for their kid.
Week of 4th January 2010 - I think this week I'm going to recommend Bavaria and anything that goes with it - the language, the beer, the Gemütlichkeit, the Alps, the snow, the people, the beautiful baroque churches... so pretty much anything Bavarian (apart from the not-so-nice bits which I can't think of right now but which I'm sure are there hidden somewhere underneath the beauty). I'm convinced Bavaria is right next to Paradise. ;) And yes, I had wonderful holidays there.
Week of 14th December - It's cold (we've got snow, yay) so I'll recommend mulled wine and a warm blanket.
Week of 7th December 2009 - This week I'm going to recommend this book: 'At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl'.
Week of 23rd November 2009 - My reco this week: Be kind.
I've been trying to get my internet sorted at home and it's a nightmare (still not working). I keep calling some hotline to sort out how and when I'll get my connection but things go wrong (all of them and all the time) so I call again and complain. This week I was waiting all day for the phone guy to come round but sadly he didn't come, so after 8 hours of waiting I called my hotline and was told that the man said he had been at my place but I wasn't there (so not true!)... Anyway, I had to get another appointment for the phone guy to come round (not until next week). The nice thing is - I really made the day of the guy at the hotline. He was so happy and relieved that I wasn't angry or impolite even though I had every reason to be angry. :)
Week of 16th November 2009 - Oh dear... another week already... I will have to recommend: white-chocolate-and-cherry-cake :)
Week of 9th November 2009 - Since it's November I'll recommend getting in touch with friends you've almost forgotten - and I'm not only talking friends who are still alive. I'm thinking of saints who used to mean something to me, of my grandparents who died a few years ago, of other friends who have died, and also of those who no one remembers and who were in fact forgotten.
Week of 2nd November 2009 - Here's my next recommendation: The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr Gereon Goldmann OFM, (by Gereon Goldmann OFM)
Week of 12th October
I've started singing compline with a friend of mine whenever we've got an evening off and I really love it. We even started inviting others to join us and are now a small group who simply enjoy singing and praying together. It's beautiful - and I can definitely reccommend it. :)
Week of 5th October 2009
Pumpkin soup: Get some leek, a small pumpkin, bacon, one or two potatoes, sour cream, pepper, salt and nutmeg... Enjoy! :)
Week of 28th September 2009
Make time to visit old friends. It's so nice to get back together after a while to catch up and chat.
Week of 21st September 2009
'Listen patiently - to others, to God, to the wind, to yourself - and you'll be surprised by what you can hear if you really make the effort.'
Week of 14th September 2009
The University of Utah Singers singing 'Peace Like a River'
Week of Our Lady's Birthday....and the launch of Totus2us
This week I'm going to recommend my family - they're great! I just moved into a new flat and here's what my family did for me: My father visits me each day after he finishes work to bring me some boxes with my stuff, my mother did my shopping and cooked dinner, my sister gave me her sleeping bag to use until I've got my beddings, my brother feels guilty for being in Austria instead of helping me, my cousin helped me paint my walls and all of them call me every now and then to ask if there's anything they could do to help. Seriously, they are the best!