Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blogging for the Visitation Monastery in North Minneapolis

Family, Friends, Fans of "QueenMab" -- Far and Wide:

In the days, weeks, and months to come, I'll be devoting much more of my time to a new blog and website. The Visitation Sisters of North Minneapolis have asked me to write and host a blogsite for them as part of their vocations initiative to find "seven visionary women to be a prayerful presence in North Minneapolis." It's an absolute honor and privilege to be part of this campaign.

As many of you know, these nuns are near and dear to my heart; they've kept me not only breathing and upright over the course of the past decade, but cultivated a deep spirit of gratitude, expanding faith, and sense of hope as I've made my way from teaching at Minneapolis North High, and moved out into the world, trying to honor a calling to make change, build relationships, love, create and live well.

You have been with me through the "Teens Rock the Mic" and "Juno Collective" days; helped me host delightful, artful writing and teaching humans from abroad; followed along and aided in the transformation and sale of 1188 Juno; trekked through Africa with me on a six week journey at the start of my 40th year; and been witness to Francois Xavier Kiemde's courtship of yours truly, alongside our subsequent marriage.... Together, we have cracked open poems and scripture; asked contemplative questions on topics of leadership, governance and global citizenship; and meditated on the mundane. I invite you now to join me on this next adventure with the nuns! Come along as we search for these seven new women, explore the daily interactions at the monastery, and inhabit another contemplative realm where faith and action intersect.

Your good thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated as we commence on this journey -- as I attempt to honor the fullness of these women's lives in this blog-writing venture....Who knows? Maybe you are acquainted with one of these women we are seeking? Perhaps this life of prayer and service speaks to you?

Love, Blessings,
Melissa Borgmann Kiemde
Visitation Vocations

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"The Long Way Here" - Another Immigrant Narrative from John's Hopkin's Surgeon

The following was recommended to me by a friend in response to the posting about my husband's own immigration narrative. I share Dr. Kofi Boahane's story with incredible regard and awe for what he endured, (what people endure) to reach their dreams....Watch, consider the questions it raises, maybe say thank you for where each of you are today?

Some questions this video inspires me to ask:
Where would Kofi be without his persistence?
What would have happened had his chemistry professor not co-signed his loans?
What relationships are necessary for any of us to "succeed" or see our dreams into being?
When have you been "detained" from moving forward in life? What have the consequences been for you?
Who do you have to thank for where you are?
Who takes time to really get to know a colleague born outside their immediate community?
How do we celebrate the gift of our journeys to this moment, this place, and honor our respective paths?

Happy Contemplating...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Immigration and Epiphany: A Sunday Meditation

NOTE: The following is an introduction I wrote for a reflection delivered at mass today at the Church of St. Philip in North Minneapolis. My husband and another parishioner were asked to speak as immigrants in this country, and share from their perspectives about what it has meant to journey beyond their places of birth, in the hopes of resettling and making a better life for themselves. Because Francois had to work, he asked that I deliver his narrative in his stead. We followed fellow parishioner, John Allagh, from Nigeria. John spoke beautifully of the Bible as "Immigration/ Migration Handbook," and challenged us all to consider how we are immigrants, on a journey. On this day, I fell in love all over again with my faith community and the large spirit of love, awareness, culture, diversity, justice and injustice that play out in the world and local community. I was moved deeply by and reminded that we are a people of radical hospitality and welcoming at CSP, striving to realize and celebrate our common humanity.

Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Homiletic Reflection

It’s powerful to hear people’s stories - their first person account or witness of their lives. As a former English teacher, and writer myself, my livelihood is wrapped up in narratives. I can’t think of a more incredible privilege, too, than listening to a person reflect on what they have encountered, and how they make sense of their journeys. Last week at St. Philip's we had Cece Ryan offering her first person account and meditation on questions of the Holy Family, and this week, we have the awesome privilege of hearing John Allagh, and a tale from my husband, Francois Kiemde.

As Fr. Jules has said, "Today’s service is dedicated to Immigration." Stories of people going on journeys, crossing borders and oceans in the hope and desire of resettling, of a making a better life for themselves somewhere else, and realizing their dreams…..

Today is also the Feast of the Epiphany. Of wise men encountering and recognizing the Christ Child in their midst.

As a contemplative person, I wonder,

“How do the two intersect? What does it mean to be an immigrant? What does it mean to experience the epiphany? Or to have an epiphany? How can hearing stories and reflecting on journeys trigger insight? Expand our minds and hearts to fuller knowledge of Christ in our midst?”

These are my questions as I close out today’s homiletic reflection time and space with my husband, Francois Kiemde’s story. As I read you his reflection, I invite you to consider your own tale of crossing borders, of seeking experiences and being a person of hope and opportunity, someone likewise recognizing the Divine in their midst…

Note: For a copy of Francois' narrative, please email us.