Friday, September 4, 2020

We Dwell in Possibility

As I write this, the pandemic is surging across the United States while it is being brought under control in many other parts of the world. The public health crisis has triggered a historic financial shock. At the same time, we are witnessing a growing social movement in support of Black Lives Matter and increasing grassroots support of action on climate change.
Far from sitting idly by, these times call us to re-commit ourselves to responsible action for the dear neighbor. That action may be as simple as ardent prayer or reaching out to support those with whom we share this pandemic isolation. 
We take a cue from the poet of solitude, Emily Dickenson, in I cannot love with You:
So We must meet apart –
You there – I – here
Surely Dickenson did not get on Zoom calls but found in solitude a way of growing in spiritual depth and of being more deeply present to those with whom she did connect.
Emily Dickinson Quote: “I dwell in possibility.” (19 ...
We also reach out beyond prayer and solidarity, so that like Dickenson, we can "dwell in Possibility." I nurture hope and I "dwell in Possibility" by responding to today’s challenges.
Stirred by the powerful words of our 2019 CSJ Congregational Chapter, I continue to grow in personal commitment and to work with others to respond to today’s challenges:
Striving to be beacons of hope, we commit to:
• Respond to the crisis of Earth and global warming,
• Deepen awareness of our complicity and work toward dismantling interlocking systems of oppression,
• Articulate and authentically live our vows in ways that witness and speak to today’s realities,
• Walk with women as we claim our voice and work toward an inclusive church and society,
• Use our collective voice to accompany others in speaking their truth.
I can "dwell in Possibility" by committing to small and large actions for justice myself and in community, and by affirming, supporting, and promoting others in their actions for justice.
Will you join me?
Peace,
Amy

Friday, August 14, 2020

Summer Sister 2020

For a number of years, I have extended an invitation to join me in St. Louis, for a period of time during the summer. I imagined it as an experience of community, retreat, sabbath, vacation, R&R, eco-emersion, and nurturing body, spirit while leaning into the future of religious life.
In 2020, the time of coronavirus lockdown, I dared not hope or invite. Yet this year I have been blessed to have a summer sister join me for a few months and it has been all that I had hoped for. Mutual blessing and sharing community, spirituality, and justice. I hope to continue this in future years, and I would definitely recommend that others offer this opportunity if you are able. 
Here's a link to a prior invitation. If you're interested in more information or would like to join me in 2021, drop me a line and we'll talk more.
ALSO - if any women discerning religious life would like to spend several weeks in a live-in experience, let me know and we will see what we can arrange for that too. We have several houses where you might be able to join us.
Amy
www.ahereford.org

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Masking for the Dear Neighbor

We are living through extraordinary times. I am reminded of the beginning of Dickens’s book: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We are facing a pandemic, an economic meltdown, social unrest, violence, and injustice against people of color and against immigrants. As people of faith, we are called to live with an extraordinary commitment to the gospel.

As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are called to reach out to others, whom we call our ‘dear neighbor’. There is no stranger for a Sister of St. Joseph. There are only dear neighbors to whom we reach out in prayer, kindness, and service. We have been asked to wear face coverings. In some regions and organizations, we are mandated to wear masks. We have learned that our masks provide limited protection to the wearer and substantial protection to the dear neighbor whom they encounter. Public health professionals tell us that we are all interconnected. The health of all is interconnected. Public health officials echo the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph: we are all Dear Neighbors. So I am wearing a mask for the dear neighbor.

Stay safe and healthy!

Peace,

Amy

Friday, February 7, 2020

Rhythm and Blues

Rhythm And Blues Hit Vocal Groups Vinyl Record LP US ...As a the Sisters of St. Joseph team and council, we have completed our first half-year. Early in our term, one of the sisters advised me, "You’re just freshmen. Give yourselves time to adjust." Th at has been such a great image for me. We have a four-year term and we have just completed our first semester. I feel like I’m beginning to get a rhythm for the ministry of Province Leadership. We continue working for you through the post-Christmas lull and its associated winter blues, and we ask for your prayers in our mission. So yes, you guessed it. I’m talkin’ rhythm and blues!
As for the rhythm, the team and council meet for three days at the beginning of every other month. We begin with time for prayer and sharing of the heart. We also try to include time for relaxation and celebration during our days together.
We have been inviting the department heads to come in one-by-one and discuss their current operations and plans moving forward. These have been good opportunities to further our understanding of the province departments and to work toward open communication. At the January meeting, we met with the Health and Wholeness staff to better understand this important ministry and the hopes and challenges of serving our sisters’ needs.
We review the province's financial report, discuss our ministry fund and approve some requests. We also discuss updates on various projects and aspects of province life.
In addition to these semi-monthly meetings, we serve as the province investment committee that meets quarterly.
As a team, we meet weekly on Wednesday mornings. We begin with prayer and sharing. We often bring the week’s prayer requests to our circle along with upcoming meetings and events, holding them in prayer. Th en we move into the more immediate business. We share projects or concerns and get input from each other. We try to finish our morning with those gathered in Holy Family Chapel for the regular Wednesday Midday Prayer.
I’m also trying to strike a balance personally with prayer, community, family, consultation ministry and personal wellness. Let me say it’s a work in progress.
For the blues part, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the cold dark days of winter can be challenging to many of us, myself included. Many are also facing illness and death among family and friends, personal illness and major life transitions. It is a time to count on the indomitable promise of spring in the seasons of Earth and the seasons of our lives. The waiting of Advent gives way to the waiting of winter, and that can test our patience.
I have to choose what gives me life and reminds me of this promise of spring. I nourish my mind, body, and spirit with healthy foods and with good reading and good friends in community and beyond. I exercise my mind, body, and spirit by walking and ice-skating, and by exploring new ideas and new friendships. I find time to rest and relax alone, with my friends and with my God.
Let’s pray for each other and let the meaningful beat of our personal and community’s “rhythm and blues” intermingle in a chorus of hope.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Ecosia

Greta Thunberg has been chosen as Time Magazine's person of the year for her fearless advocacy for action on climate change. In her honor, I want to post some actions that people can take to make a difference in their own lives.

  1. Plant trees while you search the web. Ecosia uses the profit they make from your searches to plant trees where they are needed most. Get the free browser extension and plant trees with every search. The short video to the right gives five reasons to switch to Ecosia as your default engine, including trees, environment and privacy.
  2. Explore the Drawdown project at https://www.drawdown.org/. Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that reviews, analyses, and identifies the most viable global climate solutions, and shares these findings with the world. Understand these solutions, advocate for them and choose one to implement in your life. Once you have implemented that solution, choose another. 
  3. Choose radical hope. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and by the lack of adequate response. Don't be discouraged, choose hope and choose to act. Join with others and be part of the solution.
  4. Rejoice in God's gift of creation: humans, plants, and critters. Trust in the power of the Creator and the Spirit of redemption and renewal. 

Blessings
Amy

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Face of Poverty

Women’s voices are important to the project of integral ecology because women are most deeply impacted by ecological degradation. By every metric, women have less access to the good things of the earth: to food, to water, to sanitation, to health care, to education, to security, to property, to rights, to employment, to wealth, and to technology. when resources are limited, when society is unstable, women and children suffer most acutely. Nearly three-quarters of the world’s poor are women, and the poor are often forced to further degrade their environment simply to survive. The united nations and many international organizations involved in promoting health and sustainable development are increasingly realizing that the face of poverty is a woman’s face.
poverty-faces.jpg (640×512)
Pope Francis recognizes the connection between ecology and poverty. he recognizes that the weight of environmental degradation falls most heavily on the weakest and most vulnerable. he points out that all human beings have certain basic human rights, and in speaking of these things he refers to men and women, to our brothers and sisters. yet it is most often our sisters who find themselves to be the poorest and the most defenseless. and, in a poor society, women are often victims of men who are only slightly better off than the women are. All too often, these men turn to violence and to drugs and alcohol at the expense of their wives and children. The global community has come to realize that giving women access to education and basic resources is among the most effective ways of helping the poorest in our society; organizations directly involved in such efforts realize that the face of development is a woman’s face.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Integral Ecology from Below


In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis describes an “integral ecology, one which clearly respects its human and social dimensions” LS 137). The human and social dimensions of ecology point to natural sustainability in which human persons are a part of—not apart from, much less above—nature. The encyclical notes that it is not enough to merely live healthy human lives; we are also called to seek lives that are sustainable in relationship with the natural world, lives that are spiritually meaningful and culturally rich. and finally, we are called to seek sustainability and meaning in a way that is equitable for all peoples across the globe, which in turn preserves valuable resources for our children’s children.
Image result for dewdropOne reading of the creation story sees God high above in the heavens, in transcendent glory. Humanity is set as the pinnacle of creation, with a mandate to fill the earth and subdue it. This is a mandate that seems to place human beings apart from and above the rest of creation. In this reading, humans see creation as a thing to be used, and even abused; the innate value and the beauty of each living creature and of all that God has created are subordinate to their utility at the service of human beings and human civilizations.
In contrast, a different reading sees creation as God’s garden, as the outpouring of the heart of our loving God, inviting all creatures into existence and into a loving relationship with the Creator. Pope Francis turns to Ali Al-khawas, a Sufi mystic poet, to help describe the relationship:
The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. (LS 233)