Saturday, October 26, 2013

Vocation Story: Juliet Mousseau

Thanks Juliet for sharing your story. Your articulation of vocation and religious life resonates with my own experience, and what I hear from others.
It's also a rich experience to connect with religious women from various communities here in St. Louis as we engage the challenges of living and sharing the Gospel in the 21st century.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

NEW RELEASE: Religious Life at the Crossroads

This book explores the movements in religious life today and the currents that are emerging among the smaller cohorts of younger religious in mainstream communities of religious women. Hereford traces the history of religious life, including the impact of Vatican II and examines some of the theological sources for the reinvention of religious life today. She explores the current situation of religious, re-imagines the meaning of vows, community, and mission, and examines how the emerging forms of religious life will fit into an emerging church.
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I'm looking forward to expanding the conversation about religious life and the hopeful movements that are emerging among us.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Prophets Make Waves

It's been over a month since Pope Francis' wide ranging interview appeared in American magazine and in other publications world-wide. The published interview there is a paragraph about religious life where he focuses on the prophetic dimension of the life itself.
Religious men and women are prophets.... In the church, the religious are called to be prophets in particular by demonstrating how Jesus lived on this earth, and to proclaim how the kingdom of God will be in its perfection. 
We prophecy, not by foretelling events in the misty reaches of the future, but by living the Gospel here and now. Francis named this as the essence of the life. Yes, the vows give it shape, but it is the prophetic mission that is at is core.
The prophetic function and the hierarchical structure do not coincide. 
He is not proposing an oppositional role, yet he acknowledges that religious and the hierarchy play different roles among the people of God. In the best of times, this allows us to walk together and work together for the common cause of the Gospel. However, it also means that there are times when it will be a challenge to strike this balance that allows both to remain faithful to their call.
Being prophets may sometimes imply making waves. I do not know how to put it.... Prophecy makes noise, uproar, some say ‘a mess.’ 
Yes, then, so let's get out there and live the Gospel - and make a mess. I can definitely see that statement being lived out by Pope Francis. He is making noise, an uproar, a mess. Yet goodness and authenticity are a part of this mess.
Prophecy announces the spirit of the Gospel.
The vocation to prophecy invites us to live the Gospel, announce the Gospel with our hands and with our hearts and with our lives.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Off the Grid

I'm reading Sandra Schneiders' new book, a sweeping testimony about where religious life has been in the last half century, and occasional glimpses of growing edges.
She writes about the alternate economy that we create with our vow of poverty. Forsaking an independent economic existence, we hold all things in common. That's all things! We sink or swim together. What one has, we all have; what one lacks, we all lack. We try to live that early Christian community proclaimed by Jesus and witnessed in the Acts of the Apostles.
It strikes me that we try to live 'off the grid'.
People in the sustainability movement try to live radically off the power grid - disconnected from electric power. They do this as a witness to the un-sustainability of modern life, and as a challenge to develop a more sustainable life.
By committing to evangelical poverty, we choose to live off the economic grid. Well, to be honest, most of us are only somewhat successful at this off-grid project. We still participate in the over-all economy. Nevertheless, we come together to experiment in Gospel living, in Gospel economics. We forsake an independent economic existence and choose to hold all things in common.
This commitment is much like a married couple who come together to build a life together. Any family can live in interdependence and hold all things in common. In this, religious life is like a large extended family. May we be a blessing to one another as we commit to Gospel economics.