Saturday, October 4, 2014


The chill in the air reminds me that summer is over and we're moving into fall. Leaves will paint the landscape in brilliant reds and yellows and then fall into carpets that crunch underfoot. The cycle of the seasons is fixed, yet dynamic in its daily unfolding. It can be in turn delicate and tender, then bold and harsh. Its rhythm encompasses my life story, though I know that other rhythms and other seasons tell the unfolding of lives on other parts of the planet.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a sister-friend. It was one of those deep and meaningful conversations that grace our lives. We talked about changing seasons of our lives, and changing seasons of religious life. One word came up and has stayed with me as I moved though the day, and into prayer at the close of day: vulnerability.
What is the particular vulnerability of being a young, or middle-aged religious in today's reality? I see my sisters growing in wisdom, age and grace, into their 80s and 90s, and I reach out to invite and welcome others to join us in this grand adventure. Those in the Sisters 2.0 generations, those born after '55 are amazing women, and it's a good thing, because we face some daunting challenges. Don't get me wrong here: I love this life, I cannot imagine myself as anything else, it's in my DNA, and I think there's a future to this precious gift we call religious life.
I also know that I, and many of my peers are in a vulnerable place. I will bury 20, 40, 60 of my own dearly loved sisters to every new sister I welcome. And this not just in my own congregation, but in most of the congregations I know. I ask myself how much my heart can take as my circle gets smaller and closes ranks and another sister's story comes to its blessed closure. A joyful time to be certain, a gift fully given, a life fully lived. May the choir of Angels greet you! ... may you have eternal rest.
I ask myself if I have steeled my heart to the grief. As we move forward, who will hold our aching hearts? As we gather in ever more intimate circles, we are called to celebrate a year dedicated to consecrated life. So in this season of change, I am sitting with vulnerability. I am asking myself what I use to escape the stark realities of life. And in this place, how do I dare to hope?


  1. We've buried 70+ to our new one sister...this statistic puts an awakening perspective to numerous areas of thought