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.