Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sisters 2.0

Sisters 2.0 is a movement of the new generations of women religious. In this peer-led, self-organized space, we network for visioning and fostering future oriented initiatives for religious life. In the spirit of Giving Voice, we embrace our diversity, listening attentively, speaking with intention, and tending to the good of the whole.
New Generations - We feel the need for creating spaces for conversation where we can share the experience of the new generations of women religious in today's communities, today's church and today's world. Some decades back, women religious in their thirties and forties gathered to create a space for 'giving voice' to their experience, and today, Giving Voice is respected national organization that supports hundreds of younger women religious through national conferences, retreats and networking online and on-ground. 
The generations who founded giving voice have 'aged out' of that organization which invites women under the age of fifty into its conversations. At the same time, many in this founding generation feel the need for continuing conversation. We have been gathering for a few years in self-organized circles to describe this experience and to imagine and create the forum that will help to support us at this stage. Sisters 2.0 emerged from this process.
We generally describe ourselves as the generations of sisters born after 1955. Boundaries are hard to draw, and some born in the early fifties may believe this is their conversation, and they are welcome. Older sisters can be allies for this movement. Giving Voice remains the place of choice for the youngest generation of sisters as the seek to give voice to their experience and support one another. At the same time, those sisters are welcome to join Sisters 2.0, and join in this new conversation as it suits their needs.
Visioning and Futuring - Sisters 2.0 is a place for engaging in conversations about where we are today in religious life, and where we are headed. Many of us are having similar conversations in our home communities, and this are immensely important conversations. We also feel the need to engage our peers on these topics. Our vision and our view of the future are influenced by where we stand. We stand with our sisters in our home communities in many respects, and we stand with our 2.0 sisters in other respects. We value opportunities to move in and out of congregational circles, and to move in and out of peer-sister circles in mutually supportive ways.
Future Oriented Initiatives - Sisters 2.0 is a support network and it seeks to move beyond conversation into actions that will actively engage the evolution of religious life and its vitality into coming generations. Many of our congregations have an average age in the upper seventies, or above. We are sadly, yet gratefully, bidding our last farewell to many of our sisters as they go to God. At the same time, our hearts are burning within us as we feel the call to live our lives to the full and to re-imagine religious life and begin to re-build it. It is this second task that is the focus of Sisters 2.0.
Listening, Speaking, Tending - We create sacred spaces to listen to God, to one another and to those around us. We speak our truth honestly and respectfully. We attentively care for the good of the whole, trusting in the Spirit who has called us together.
Join us - If you are part of the new generations of sisters, there are a number of ways you can join us. 
  1. Online - we have a facebook group where sisters are invited to gather and organize.
  2. Quarterly Calls - we have quarterly calls where we rotate the host and engage issues and foster initiatives.
  3. Intercommunity Living - we foster community living and support intercommunity houses.
  4. Conference - Symposium - we develop online and on-ground conferences, retreats and symposia to support Sisters 2.0 and member initiatives.
So often in this description, I found myself writing "at the same time".  We are in our communities - at the same time - we engage intercommunity circles. We face the current decline in numbers - at the same time - we respond to our call within this reality. We hold many things in balance and in tension as the Spirit of creation hovers over us, creating and recreating and renewing the face of the earth.

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