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On Waking Up

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By Rosemary Steers

Y.M. Foster (a/k/a Sister Yvonne Greiner OP) grew up in Hart, Michigan, the youngest of eight children born to Carrie (Foster) Greiner and Leo H. Greiner. The cover of her second book, “Living with Grace”, displays a tree dressed in autumn—a tree that, like Y.M. Foster, has enjoyed many seasons and weathered many storms. It stands tall and strong still, at her parent’s summer home, where she and her family created generations of homespun memories.

 Y.M. Foster’s second book, “Living with Grace,” is now available at Dominican Center Book Store at Marywood, Schuler Books and online at The author retired from Aquinas College after several years of teaching and program development in the field of liturgical music and theology. Shortly after retirement, however, serious health complications occurred during a routine medical procedure that left Foster in a coma. Her future looked anything but bright. When she finally “woke up” eight weeks later, she needed to relearn things that she used to do automatically.

She was understandably broken and angry. To help in the healing process, Foster began to reflect and write about what had happened to her. She uses inspirational nature-laden metaphors to express and cope with her thoughts and feelings. Writing was a healing experience for her and she desperately wanted to heal.

Of her latest book, Foster says, “In Living with Grace, I am thinking about the way we survive a day, cope with whatever life brings, and embrace the pleasure and joy present in ordinary moments. How do I transcend the challenges and difficulties of each day? How do I feel forgiveness, or courage, after a physical or emotional injury? How do I go on loving when I experience hurt and loss? How do I continue to hope in the midst of darkness and despair, personal and global?

Living with Grace is also about cherishing and embracing the goodness and realness of everyday joy and beauty, being aware of it, and grateful. It takes a lot of openness to let life with all its ups and downs into our wounded hearts, but love and kindness can be our best medicine, our most positive energy, our greatest transcending grace.”

Foster joined the Dominican Sisters in the fall of 1957, where she has been a vowed member of the Grand Rapids community for over fifty years. She spent many years teaching at Marywood Academy, served as the church organist at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Grand Rapids and worked at Aquinas College as Director of Aquinas Institute of Liturgy and Music.

Foster, having received her M.A. in both theology and in Liturgical Music from Notre Dame was a part of the effort to blend the curriculums of liturgy and music together at Aquinas with the formation of a Liturgical Music major program.

She taught in both areas during her twenty-eight year tenure at Aquinas College. If you are searching for a way to rebuild a broken spirit and to see the beauty of each new day, “Living with Grace” may be just what the doctor ordered. Foster’s first book, “Inner Journey” (Trafford 2007), contains a number of reflections about learning to live with physical loss and embracing the present.

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