Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sisters 2.0 - St. Louis

Twelve sisters from six congregations in the Saint Louis area gathered yesterday for an evening of prayer, potluck and conversation. The average age of our group was 40 years of age. We laughed, told stories, share common experiences. We even took a trip to a nearby convent to sing a carol to two novices from another congregation who weren't able to join us. The youngest were in their twenties, the oldest were in their fifties. Some had been in religious life just a few years, some had been in for a few decades. And we all shared a common enthusiasm for religious life, and a conviction that God had called us to our communities, and continues to call us to live the Gospel with joy, and with the restlessness of love which urges us to continue to commit ourselves day after day to lives of prayer, community and service.
Juliet led us in prayer and we reflected on words of Pope Francis about religious life, as we move toward the year celebrating consecrated life. We were reminded of the joy of the Gospel, of the call to renew our commitment regularly, and of the need to rekindle our zeal.
I have been in religious life for decades myself, and I can say that the enthusiasm of those who have been in for just a few years continues to give me life, energy and hope. Religious life is a work of God. It is a work of the God of love who can imagine a world of peace, of harmony and of vibrancy. Our world is broken in many ways, and many of the sisters who gathered talked about their ministries, as teacher, nurse, counselor, social worker, attorney, pastoral worker, etc. Each of the sisters brings God's love to a part of the world that needs that love and she shares it freely. We each feel blessed in the giving and receiving, and the blessing was multiplied as we gathered for this time together.
This gathering focused on welcoming sisters and novices to St. Louis. Many have joined us here in this local area, for study, ministry or for novitiate. We welcomed the novices to St. Louis, and also welcomed them to the adventure of religious life. They shared their stories of vocation, stories that remind us that the Spirit is very much alive and is continuing to call individuals to join us in religious communities.
Looking forward to more gatherings....

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