Friday, March 13, 2015

Jubilees and Jubilees

This week, I celebrate my Mom's birthday and our community Jubilees. So it is a time to celebrate a look to the times past, gifts given, stories written. I stand as heir to a grand legacy and this is the moment to stop, reflect and be grateful for all this.
I am one of ten siblings and my Mom and Dad have given us a lifetime of love, support, help and encouragement. My siblings and I have gone on to do some amazing things - we are a diverse lot, but I think my parents can rightly be proud of what they have accomplished in and for us. Some of us continue to struggle, and Mom and Dad are still there for us, with that same unending "godly" love.
My sisters too can rightly look back on a job well done, kids taught, the sick healed, tears dried, doubtful comforted, dispirited lifted up. The world is a better place for these women having given their lives to God, to the community and to their ministries.
Jubilee means a time of rest, a time of respite, a time away to set things right again. This gives me an opportunity to rejoice, to congratulate and to renew my resolve to do honor to those who have gone before.
We also celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week, during the Year of Consecrated Life. Jubilee!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

On the Road Again...

In St. Louis, we have a fairly active Giving Voice / Sisters 2.0 group. We are the younger sisters in the area, from novices to silver jubilarians who gather every month or so for supper, prayer, conversation, and fun. Our conversations range widely: our shared experience being the youngest members of our congregations, even after several decades, for some of us; living as the only younger person in an elder community; the future of religious life; the awesome adventure that this life affords us; the profound challenges that we will face in the coming decades; and how to love and laugh and hope through all that life has to offer.
One fruit of our conversations is the recognition of our need to form inter-congregational communities to support and nourish our generations and the coming generations of religious women. How do we find spaces, or build spaces in which we can take the responsibility for this development?
I am currently living in a house founded to begin just such an inter-congregational community. I moved in two years ago, and several sisters have expressed interest in joining and there are two of us here now. We are located within an urban eco-village, and in the shadow of the parish church. We are also in St. Louis which has a reputation for having a lot of intentional communities. There is an Ecovillage network and an Intentional Christian Community network, as well as our GV/Srs2.0 network and the various gatherings of our own communities. Interlocking circles of community.
Recently our landlord decided to terminate our lease and sell the property, so we are on the road again. I have also been reading a book about Tiny-Houses for one of our ecovillage book-clubs. Folks take a trailer frame and build a house on it, like the picture above. There is a lot in the book about friendship, simplicity, living lightly on the earth and alternative living. But honestly as I think about our upcoming move, I can't help but notice that the house is on wheels. How easy would that be to move?!
This move is yet another in a string of moves - also a common experience among our younger sisters network. I counted up my moves in the last 20 years: this will be my 14th move! I average just under a year-and-a-half in each place. Thankfully, many of these moves were to different places in the local area. But still it means packing up my life and lugging it across town. It means calling in friends and family for a moving and pizza party. It means figuring out what to pack and what to give away or pitch. And where to put it when we get to the new place. 
Thankfully, there is a new place and I'm excited when I look past the upcoming move to the new space. There is also the possibility of a long-term lease, and of purchasing the property for the Religious Life Project which supports sustainability projects for and by younger religious.
So say a prayer as we continue our Lenten journey which is also a journey to a new home. Blessings on your own journey.