Saturday, October 18, 2014
Recently, a special report from CARA offered some analysis of the overall decline in numbers among sisters in the US. One of my recent blog posts on vulnerability got a lot of traffic, posts and side conversations.
Sisters 2.0 and the report stir in me the desire to continue the conversations that we've begun, and to deepen our hopes and desires, even as we support one another in the ups and downs of living religious life in the early twentieth century.
My own ministry brings me into privileged conversation spaces with religious communities as they face the challenge of the coming decades in their institutes. Often for smaller institutes, this means finding ways for their ministries to continue without their sponsorship, finding ways to ensure that their members will receive adequate care, even as the leaders themselves are aging, and finding ways of providing for the leadership and governance of the community when there aren't enough members who are able to carry out these tasks.
I stand on holy ground as I accompany them into these spaces, and work with them to meet the needs of their congregations with grace and courage.
I believe this is the place of Sisters 2.0, the sisters who have lived 10-20-30 years as the youngest members of their congregations. We accompany our elders, even as we forge new paths into an unknown future ourselves. In St. Louis, we are planning for some Advent conversations among younger women religious regarding how we face the challenges of this moment. It is a blest time when the "spirit hovers over the waters" of a "dark and deep chaos". It is a time to trust more in the creative Spirit and to face the chaos with courage.