Sr. Helen Becker OP

I grew up on a farm, and because we lived so far from town, I attended a one-room country school. There was no basement so an underground cellar about 15 feet from the school provided shelter during storms. The only source of light was a single tile in the ceiling of this below-ground cave.

One day, when I was about 8 or 9 years old, we were playing in the schoolyard. A thought ran through my head, “I’m going to be a teacher when I grow up, but I would be afraid to be the only teacher responsible for the students during a storm. . . I’ll become a Sister, because they have lots of Sisters in the same school!”  I was aware that the Catholic school in town had at least 8 Sisters living together and teaching in the same building.  That was, I believe, my first call to be a Sister.

God took a very imperfect motive and turned it into what God wanted: me to follow him as a Dominican Sister.

This is a poem I wrote in response to a quote from We Walk the Path Together by Brian Pierce, OP (the quote appears below the poem):

Flood of Light

The rains have come
The “run-off gathers in the Might Miss
Waters at flood level challenge the strength of levies and dams.

Should the levies be blasted–flooding farmland but saving the cities?
Farther down the Old Miss–is it time to open the dams and relieve the pressure?
Engineers strive to contain the water.

My soul is flooded with light–
But God’s light is not “run-off.”
It’s intentional gift.

Why should this light be contained in the soul?  Can it be?

We are poor engineers;
We don’t know there’s light
“bursting our souls at the seams.”
The light has already spilled over,
filling our bodies with radiance.
It’s hard to be grumpy and grouchy
when we’re one with the Liight of the World.
Let the radiance shine forth
on faces, in voices, through song and praise.
We are the Light of the World!

Discovering the inner radiance is my task in life.
I have a job but where do I begin?
No need to search the universe,
not even this country, or this community–
though all will be affected
by this discovery.

Instead close the eyes, look within,
see the light and delight in it.
The light goes with me
For it is the light of God!

May 14, 2011

Inspired by a quote from We Walk the Path Together by Brian Pierce, OP, page 55:  Says the mesiter [Eckhart], “God streams into the soul in such abundance of light, so flooding the essence and ground…of the soul [that it] wells over into the body, which is filled with radiance.” The discovery of this inner radiance that saturates our very being is the one important task in life, according to Eckhart, who, like a Zen master, calls out to us, “Awaken! Discover who you are! Close your eyes and see the radiant light within you.”

Says the mesiter [Eckhart], “God streams into the soul in such abundance of light, so flooding the essence and ground…of the soul [that it] wells over into the body, which is filled with radiance.”  The discovery of this inner radiance that saturates our very being is the one important task in life, according to Eckhart, who, like a Zen master, calls out to us, “Awaken! Discover who you are! Close your eyes and see the radiant light within you.”