On the Way : Sister Linda Bittner

About twenty years ago, in the midst of a job search, I was blessed with the insight that I was exactly where I was meant to be — in the process. I had done the work of résumé development, filled out and sent out job applications, and was awaiting the call for where I was to next expend my life and energy. As the weeks evolved, I was presented with the contacts (angels) who offered messages I needed to hear. I listened, followed up, and received a call — an invitation — to my next ministry assignment on the feast of St. Benedict, July 11.

Sister Linda Bittner

The same scenario presented itself again in early June of 2000, when the closing of Marian Heights Academy thrust me into another job listening mode. Was I to expend life and energy teaching GED in a high medium security prison, promoting and hoisting caskets, and working with preschool or physically challenged children? The answer presented itself with a note in my mailbox that North Spencer was in need of an ESL teacher for adults at the North Spencer Alternative Education Center. ESL certification and the previous six years working with ESL high school learners had already prepared me for where I am today. I am always where I am meant to be and get there through an internal compass that directs and leads me.

As anyone who knows me even a little realizes, I have no sense of direction. Spatial orientation is definitely not my strong suit. When I was in Ireland, I could not point to my bedroom upstairs when I was downstairs. At St. Joe in the City, when I went to the Post Office on Governor Street, I had to go to First Avenue to find my way back to St. Joe. After four days at a National Sisters Vocation Conference, I still had to say, “Point me in the right direction.” to get to a conference site. But I do have a sense of internal alignment that pokes at me when things are not as intended by a Source beyond me. This internal intuition guides and never faults me. I simply need to be present, attuned, and responsive. I believe this guidance brought me to the Monastery. Put in my path were angels — Sisters who taught and inspired me in grade school and the Academy. These were Sisters whose lives I wanted to emulate and walk with into the unknown future. I was attracted by their joy and enjoyment of each other, and by the way they shared who they were with students and families.

It is important to me today to continue to share this joy — to be a welcoming presence with each other in community — to see and value each other as Sister. This in turn frees me to be a joyful presence with those with whom I minister and with those with whom I encounter in daily life. This shared joy empowers me to continue to listen, to stay attuned and responsive to whom I am meant to be — trusting that I am exactly where I am meant to be. It encourages me to know that we walk our individual and collective journeys together. With listening, attuned, and aligned hearts we meet challenges, address issues, celebrate accomplishments, and raise each other up — in life and ultimately in our return to God in Glory.