Editors Note: Sister Regina Marie, O.C.D. is the Vicar General of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. At the time of the conference talk, she was Mother Regina Marie, O.C.D., Superior General of the community.
I had the great privilege to listen to a talk delivered by Mother Regina Marie, O.C.D., who at the time was the Superior General of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. She spoke to over 300 people who attended the 4th Annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference on January 28, 2012. I have seldom witnessed a talk that so captured and held the attention of an entire audience. More than a year later, people still speak of this talk and warmly recall this holy and humble Carmelite nun.
The Beauty and Necessity of a Life of Prayer
One of the great challenges we face in our busy world is finding time to be alone with God in prayer. We cannot say that we are people of God if we are not people of prayer. Yet, many of us struggle to make prayer a priority in our daily lives. Like most things, one’s prayer life must be nurtured and developed; otherwise it will wither away and die. Our Lord teaches that our prayer must be urgent, persistent, faithful and expectant – grounded in faith, hope and charity. Nothing we do in this life is more important and all of the good we are to do must flow from an ever-deepening life of prayer and love of God.
It was with this in mind that I invited Mother Regina Marie to speak at the Atlanta Catholic Business Conference. The theme of the 2012 Conference was: “Growing in Holiness.”
The vision of the annual Conference can be summarized as: “Integrating Faith and Work in a Secular Business World and the Public Square.” It is directed to all Christians, especially the Catholic business and professional community, who wish to more deeply understand the role of faith in the workplace. The mission is to invest deeply in attendees’ knowledge and understanding of how to integrate their lives and let their Christian faith guide their actions in the secular business world.
A Practical and Illuminating Talk on Prayer
It might be asked by some, “How can a talk by Mother Regina, who admittedly knows much of importance about prayer, provide me with practical help in my busy life? What does she know about the demands of a business person?”
The answer is simple. First, she does have much to share from personal experience and formation in regards to the prayer life. But secondly, she too is a person, like many who were in the audience who face the challenges of contributing to or leading a business organization and meeting the needs of its “customers”.
As the Superior General of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, she oversaw, in one capacity as a CEO, a community of religious sisters and an organization that provides healthcare, education and spiritual retreat services in many locations across California, Arizona, Colorado and Florida. This includes multiple retreat centers and continuing care facilities that offer independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing healthcare services. Her community staffs Child Care facilities, Elementary Schools and High Schools. As both the past spiritual leader and overseer of the business operations and vision of such an organization, Mother Regina is uniquely positioned to speak to “busy” business persons about the challenge of developing a deep prayer life. Her sisters are called, in a sense, to be both active in the world and contemplative in prayer.
Mother introduced her talk by saying that it was her prayer that what she would share would be practical and that her overview on developing a deep prayer life would provide an opportunity to connect the dots and take a change in our practical daily living that would have far-reaching, beneficial consequences in this life and the life to come.
Her talk provided us with a syllabus that will help us face the human condition in which we struggle and that draws a distinction between two worlds. One world she calls the work-a-day world where the metrics of our activities are reduced to assessment or how well we completed our to-do lists in our work lives. In the work-a-day world, “Life is reduced to work, to getting, to spending, to producing, to acquiring. It is a very real reality… that life could be defined by these terms… We distinguish that world from the larger world where there is work, and there is struggle and there is production… and, there is beauty… and freedom… and delight… and love… and wisdom.” Her words resonated strongly with the practical experiences of those who heard her speak. “Busy,” she said, “is defined by perspective.” The response from the attendees was unlike any I have witnessed before and speaks to the value of what she shared. Her very practical insights can help us enter into a stronger relationship with God who loves us and made us for heaven.
All of us who worked to organize the conference and those who heard her talk are grateful to Mother for her generosity and presence. I am very grateful to be able to provide you the opportunity to hear Mother Regina Marie’s talk. So, I will get out of the way and let Mother speak to you in her words far better and more effectively than I could write.
Listen to Mother Regina Marie’s talk on Developing a Deep Prayer Life, including Q&A session… and when you are finished, please share this amazing talk with your friends and family using both the Share and Recommend buttons below and via email. They will be glad you did.
Download the mp3 audio file.
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Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™ and usually appears each Sunday.
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.
He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.
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