It has been great to have my friend Sr. Deb Timmis with me for the past two weekends. She is starting a new role with the CSJ Federation and spent a few weeks here in St. Louis doing an orientation to her new job. On the weekends she came to my place and we did loads of catching up and shared life and community. What a treat!
We talked about many things, and among them was how to build life-giving communities, the communities that will support us now and in the coming years. I want to share where I ended up after our conversations, and after conversations on the same topic with other 2.0 Sisters. Many of us seek local living situations where we can build life-giving communities.
I feel like there is a certain balance that is needed. On the one hand, there is the total community where we are 'all in'. We live together, work together, pray together. We have a common ministry and I can fully count on you and you can fully count on me. I have been in that kind of a community, and there is certainly a sense of belonging and security in that world. On the other hand, there is the kind of a community that is more like a bed-and-breakfast. I come when I can, then I am off to my ministry, etc. There has to be some minimal commitment to one another, but we are basically on our own. I am responsible to meet my own needs and we form a community of convenience with minimal connection.
Whoever is free may pray together, but there is no real commitment to be there.
I feel more called to balancing the two models. I would like to have a real sharing of life, prayer and some aspects of ministry: a commitment to each other such that we can really rely on each other's mutual support in life and ministry. I picture a real sisterhood in community. Yet I believe it is also important that we find and cultivate other circles of support: family, our wider congregations, justice and sustainability groups, etc. My local community is an important focus of my life and ministry. Other circles are complementary places where I can share energy, interest and support.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think it also takes a village to nurture each human heart on its journey. This is one of the greatest gifts we give to one another in community: a place to flourish as persons, as Christians and as religious.