Saturday, June 22, 2013

Road Trip

I had an opportunity recently to do a roadtrip with two other sisters from another community who entered religious life the same year I did - 1978. We were all within a few years of the same age. This may seem like a simple thing, but it really was such a great experience.
To put this in context, 95% of religious women in the US are over the age of 60. In my community, I'm almost always the minority in any gathering, and so I usually am out of my comfort zone when we do what's best for most, or talk about what most want to talk about.
I didn't know one sister at all before the trip, and the other I knew just a little. We happened to be heading in the same direction, so we agreed to link up for the trip.
There was an immediate 'at home'-ness as we made our way. We shared a similar connection, a deep, lived commitment to religious life. An understanding that this lived commitment has its ups and downs, but it is deeply enriching.
We remain in the life, even though it is clearly going through a period of decline. We have lost one third of our members in the last decade. We will lose another one third in each of the coming decades, leaving just a remnant in 20 years.
We remain in the life today because we recognize that it is also a time of re-imagining and emergence. Fresh voices are speaking up. We can build on what has been, and call forth new generations of religious life. This will take vision, courage and tenacity. Alone I would not have the strength to go on. But this road trip reminded me I am not alone. In other gatherings of religious in the minority cohort, I know that we are few, but we are called to be members of this generation, with the task of bridging between what was and what is emerging.
Only in God can we continue to walk this road, and in God we can walk with confidence.


  1. Glad you had this opportunity. Thanks for sharing

  2. Amy--I so feel your reflection. It was what I felt when I attended my first Giving Voice Gathering. With the cohort in attendance I did not have to contextualize or hedge my expressions--they were immediately understood. It was so freeing! It is a sign that we must listen to and affirm and seek to congeal. We are the bridges to the future and we need to bringing our understanding together to elicit how to be that bridge. Well ... at least that is what is developing within me. God bless the sacredness of this moment for you and the other pilgrims!