Coffee Made with Holy Water

2 Sep

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.” 
― Shel Silverstein

Growing up in a Catholic family and attending Catholic Masses, I learned how to pray at a very young age. Make the Sign of the Cross, fold your hands, thank God for that extra brownie at lunch, apologize for fighting with your brother, and ask Him to keep you healthy and safe. Rinse, wash, repeat.

But things are different now. I’m different now. 

When I attended a 5 day silent retreat in January, I began to see that talking to God only gets you so far. You can talk His ear off (does God have ears?), but if you don’t listen the conversation is shot, and you’re just that obnoxious girl that won’t shut up. 

I have come to Pittsburgh to learn how to listen to God. The Voice of God, my Inner Voice, is constantly whispering in my ear, but too often there are other songs bouncing off the walls that I can’t tune into the right channel. But I heard that voice singing a song of Steelers and yinzers, so I followed that tune. When I first decided to do a year of post-grad service, I spent days flipping through the Catholic Volunteer Network catalog, starring every service placement that sounded interesting. ….I starred over 100. But then I found Change a Heart, and it is the only application I completed in its entirety. You know that peace you get when something just “feels right?” I think I’m tuned in.

This was our first week of service at our placement sites. I’m serving at Ursuline Senior Services and the Good Grief Center for Bereavement Support, where I am learning how to be a volunteer coordinator and am being trained in grief peer support. There’s a lot to learn, but I have wonderful supervisors and already feel like I’m part of something good. I still don’t know why this is where I ended up, and maybe I’ll never be privy to that grace. But sometimes the point is to trust, not to know.


And then other times, you know with absolute certainty that you are where you should be. I was overwhelmed with this sensation the other day, when I wandered into the Sacred Heart of Jesus Store. I got out of work a little early and started walking around town, eventually walking past this hole-in-the-wall. I walked right past it, barely paying attention to the store front. But then I stopped, looked behind me, turned around and walked straight in without hesitation. It was like the Voice said, “yes! This is the place you’re searching for!” though I wasn’t aware that I was searching for anywhere at all.



When I walked in, there was an older woman and a German spitfire nun sitting by the door. They pulled up a chair, told me to sit down, and we proceeded to spend the next hour shooting the shit  (is that okay to say about a nun?). She made me a cup of coffee with Holy Water she found in the back, and gave me a bag of food to take home to my house. I walked out of the store and laughed all the way home. Those who know me know I’m a wanderer, and this was just the reminder I needed that “not all who wander are lost.”

Life’s a whirlwind when you begin to listen to your Voice…you never know where you’ll wander or who you’ll meet. Buddhist, Atheist, Catholic, or confused, we all have one. All you gotta do is shut up, listen, and, to quote one of my Pitt Pals, “do you”.



One Response to “Coffee Made with Holy Water”

  1. vanbeekka25 September 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    i am so glad you exist marmalade 🙂

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