Friday, February 27, 2015

Growing Awareness

I have been networking very intentionally with other young and middle-aged religious for some years now. Our conversations are always very rich and grace-filled. This blog is a result of those conversations, the result of my own prayer and reflection and the result of my lived experience of religious life at this time.
At this point, we know that religious life has changed radically in each of the last several decades, and that it will likely change even more radically in the coming decades. My ministry calls me to journey with communities that have come to accept the reality that their community's life journey is coming to an end. They come to embrace this reality with amazing courage and grace, and the realization brings them a great deal of peace and freedom. Accepting their current reality, they can fully live the final decades of their community's life journey with grace and integrity.
They are writing their community's last chapter. Like any good book, we don't want it to end, but end it must. And the sisters in this generation have the challenge and the grace to write that chapter. The chapter that will tie together all the strands of the community's life story.
It is a privilege for me in ministry to walk with the sisters and the brothers whose communities have made these decisions. With disarming simplicity and courage, they see the things they gave their lives to coming to an end, or better, given over into the hands of competent, committed lay people.
More and more communities come to this place of acceptance and peace with their own completion. In many of these communities, there is a small cadre of sisters in their 20s, 30s 40s and 50s, still in active ministry, still vibrant. We acknowledge the decline of the largest generation of religious ever to live and pray and serve in the USA.
In the midst of this reality, I am coming to find my hope, my strength, my joy in the inter-congregational networks of sisters: Giving Voice and Sisters 2.0. I am coming to value both my deep and lasting relations with my home-congregation, and the rich and vibrant relations across congregations.
I discover and celebrate a 'sisterhood' that is bigger than any one congregation. I have a deep joy when I think of these sisters, women of faith, women of courage and women of hope. Intelligent, well-educated and broadly experienced, these sisters are taking up the challenge of carrying religious life into the heart of the 21st century and beyond.
May we cherish the sacred trust of our communities, live it with joy and share it generously. Pray with us. Pray for us. Join us.

1 comment:

  1. Now that we no longer have a "motherhouse" due to the financial need to sell to support ourselves and for me this is the second motherhouse house I've lost due to merger. I have become more and more aware of exactly what you are expressing Amy. It is an absolute necessity for me to create and sustain relationships with sisters creating what I call "community of the heart". There may be a physical distance, however not so much for the heart if there is intentional connections to my sisters in other geographical areas.