Friday, April 16, 2021

Sisters 2.0 Gathering & Summer Sisters

Gathering

Sisters 2.0 is a group of Catholic Sisters born after 1955 gathering for sharing, networking, and mutual support. 
Due to the challenges of life in COVID and of several of our personal and community situations, we have not been able to meet for several months. However, it's time to gather again. You can go to our FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2025979371043364 or message me directly at amyhereford@gmail.com for more information on our May 7, 2021 online gathering. 
A lot has been happening this year for all of us as we learn to navigate the ever-changing world of COVID and keep abreast with community and ministry. This will be a chance for us to gather and catch up. Then we can begin again with our sharing of our experience of religious life today.

Summer Sisters

Summer Sisters is an idea that we have been kicking around for a few years. The idea is to open our hearts and our homes to one another over the summer. It is open to Sisters in various religious communities. So, we would like to take this opportunity to invite Sisters to stay with us over the summer in St. Louis. We are specifically inviting GV and 2.0 Sisters who would like to spend a little time with us. Call it retreat, vacation, mini-sabbatical, inter-community sisterhood networking, eco-spirituality immersion, urban eco-village experience, etc. You may have heard of couch-surfing... this would be more like convent-surfing.
Summer/retreat/vacation time is a great time to open our doors to one another, to build the networks among us and to nourish the spirit that is moving among us. Reach out to me at amyhereford@gmail.com to see if this is something that can work out for you and for us. 

As always, blessings on your journey.
Amy

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Fratelli Tutti

The new encyclical brings the breadth of Catholic Social Teaching on human solidarity to center stage at a critical time, esp considering
  • the pandemic
  • the movement for Black Lives
  • the election
  • the climate crisis
  • the economic melt-down
  • the refugee crisis

We gradually come to know ourselves through our relationships with our brothers and sisters. Sooner or later, we will all encounter a person who is suffering. Today there are more and more of them. The decision to include or exclude those lying wounded along the roadside can serve as a criterion for judging every economic, political, social, and religious project.

If you are longing for an authoritative statement about what it means to be authentically pro-life in today's world, take the time to read the original text.

If you are looking for calm in the face of chaos and hope in the face crisis, take the time to read the text.

Full text;   Summary


Friday, October 2, 2020

Masking and Unmasking

The Coronavirus Pandemic has triggered a global health crisis, as countries - rich and poor - seek to respond as the disease rolls through their population. The pandemic has also triggered a global economic crisis as companies and individuals, governments and municipalities seek to put responsible restrictions in place and limit economic and social action. This response has triggered social unrest as left and right clash, responding to different narratives about the pandemic, about it’s unequal impact, about the science, and about the meaning of truth itself. 
In the wake of this chaos, the killing of George Floyd triggered a massive international outpouring of righteous indignation. The killing of George Floyd came on the heels of the killings of black people including Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and so, so many others at the hands of the police and armed white nationalists. The sustained and largely peaceful protests against police brutality have been met sometimes with fair and even-handed policing, and at other times protesters have been met with harsh treatment by local police and by federal agents who unleash military-style weapons on unarmed Americans, on US soil, in our city streets. 
At the same time, our ecological crisis is deepening as environmental protections are rolled back. 
And US policy and US agents are holding vulnerable immigrants in inhumane conditions at our borders, violating their human rights and violating our own highest ideals as an American people.
This is the dark picture that we see unfolding around us and we weep. 
Yet it is not all dark: In this time of Masks, we see a lot that is Unmasked.
This current constellation of crises UNMASKS many things - 
    • It UNMASKS deep inequities that already existed in our society, 
    • It UNMASKS deep division that already existed in our politics, 
    • It UNMASKS deep fragility that already existed in our economy, 
    • It UNMASKS the gross negligence of our society that deepens the environmental crisis – it is this cavalier attitude that is in part responsible for this pandemic.
At the same time this current constellation of crises 
UNMASKS our deep interconnection: Fauci and public health professionals have become prophets of community health, prophets of the deep connections that we have, one with another. We must care for one another because we hold each others well-being in our hands.
It UNMASKS - the global nature of our society, politics, economy, ecological system
It UNMASKS the beloved community called for by Dr. King and being birthed on our streets and in our hospitals and across the country. 
Never has it been more important to lean in to our unity as a human community and as a CSJ community. 
We are called to inner healing, hope and conversion. 
And we are called to turn outward in solidarity with POC, immigrants, and the LGBT community. 
We are called to build the beloved community, reach out to the dear neighbor, to learn and to live the economics of the golden rule.
Stay safe, stay connected, and stay active!
Amy


Friday, September 4, 2020

We Dwell in Possibility

As I write this, the pandemic is surging across the United States while it is being brought under control in many other parts of the world. The public health crisis has triggered a historic financial shock. At the same time, we are witnessing a growing social movement in support of Black Lives Matter and increasing grassroots support of action on climate change.
Far from sitting idly by, these times call us to re-commit ourselves to responsible action for the dear neighbor. That action may be as simple as ardent prayer or reaching out to support those with whom we share this pandemic isolation. 
We take a cue from the poet of solitude, Emily Dickenson, in I cannot love with You:
So We must meet apart –
You there – I – here
Surely Dickenson did not get on Zoom calls but found in solitude a way of growing in spiritual depth and of being more deeply present to those with whom she did connect.
Emily Dickinson Quote: “I dwell in possibility.” (19 ...
We also reach out beyond prayer and solidarity, so that like Dickenson, we can "dwell in Possibility." I nurture hope and I "dwell in Possibility" by responding to today’s challenges.
Stirred by the powerful words of our 2019 CSJ Congregational Chapter, I continue to grow in personal commitment and to work with others to respond to today’s challenges:
Striving to be beacons of hope, we commit to:
• Respond to the crisis of Earth and global warming,
• Deepen awareness of our complicity and work toward dismantling interlocking systems of oppression,
• Articulate and authentically live our vows in ways that witness and speak to today’s realities,
• Walk with women as we claim our voice and work toward an inclusive church and society,
• Use our collective voice to accompany others in speaking their truth.
I can "dwell in Possibility" by committing to small and large actions for justice myself and in community, and by affirming, supporting, and promoting others in their actions for justice.
Will you join me?
Peace,
Amy

Friday, August 14, 2020

Summer Sister 2020

For a number of years, I have extended an invitation to join me in St. Louis, for a period of time during the summer. I imagined it as an experience of community, retreat, sabbath, vacation, R&R, eco-emersion, and nurturing body, spirit while leaning into the future of religious life.
In 2020, the time of coronavirus lockdown, I dared not hope or invite. Yet this year I have been blessed to have a summer sister join me for a few months and it has been all that I had hoped for. Mutual blessing and sharing community, spirituality, and justice. I hope to continue this in future years, and I would definitely recommend that others offer this opportunity if you are able. 
Here's a link to a prior invitation. If you're interested in more information or would like to join me in 2021, drop me a line and we'll talk more.
ALSO - if any women discerning religious life would like to spend several weeks in a live-in experience, let me know and we will see what we can arrange for that too. We have several houses where you might be able to join us.
Amy
www.ahereford.org

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Masking for the Dear Neighbor

We are living through extraordinary times. I am reminded of the beginning of Dickens’s book: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We are facing a pandemic, an economic meltdown, social unrest, violence, and injustice against people of color and against immigrants. As people of faith, we are called to live with an extraordinary commitment to the gospel.

As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are called to reach out to others, whom we call our ‘dear neighbor’. There is no stranger for a Sister of St. Joseph. There are only dear neighbors to whom we reach out in prayer, kindness, and service. We have been asked to wear face coverings. In some regions and organizations, we are mandated to wear masks. We have learned that our masks provide limited protection to the wearer and substantial protection to the dear neighbor whom they encounter. Public health professionals tell us that we are all interconnected. The health of all is interconnected. Public health officials echo the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph: we are all Dear Neighbors. So I am wearing a mask for the dear neighbor.

Stay safe and healthy!

Peace,

Amy

Friday, February 7, 2020

Rhythm and Blues

Rhythm And Blues Hit Vocal Groups Vinyl Record LP US ...As a the Sisters of St. Joseph team and council, we have completed our first half-year. Early in our term, one of the sisters advised me, "You’re just freshmen. Give yourselves time to adjust." Th at has been such a great image for me. We have a four-year term and we have just completed our first semester. I feel like I’m beginning to get a rhythm for the ministry of Province Leadership. We continue working for you through the post-Christmas lull and its associated winter blues, and we ask for your prayers in our mission. So yes, you guessed it. I’m talkin’ rhythm and blues!
As for the rhythm, the team and council meet for three days at the beginning of every other month. We begin with time for prayer and sharing of the heart. We also try to include time for relaxation and celebration during our days together.
We have been inviting the department heads to come in one-by-one and discuss their current operations and plans moving forward. These have been good opportunities to further our understanding of the province departments and to work toward open communication. At the January meeting, we met with the Health and Wholeness staff to better understand this important ministry and the hopes and challenges of serving our sisters’ needs.
We review the province's financial report, discuss our ministry fund and approve some requests. We also discuss updates on various projects and aspects of province life.
In addition to these semi-monthly meetings, we serve as the province investment committee that meets quarterly.
As a team, we meet weekly on Wednesday mornings. We begin with prayer and sharing. We often bring the week’s prayer requests to our circle along with upcoming meetings and events, holding them in prayer. Th en we move into the more immediate business. We share projects or concerns and get input from each other. We try to finish our morning with those gathered in Holy Family Chapel for the regular Wednesday Midday Prayer.
I’m also trying to strike a balance personally with prayer, community, family, consultation ministry and personal wellness. Let me say it’s a work in progress.
For the blues part, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the cold dark days of winter can be challenging to many of us, myself included. Many are also facing illness and death among family and friends, personal illness and major life transitions. It is a time to count on the indomitable promise of spring in the seasons of Earth and the seasons of our lives. The waiting of Advent gives way to the waiting of winter, and that can test our patience.
I have to choose what gives me life and reminds me of this promise of spring. I nourish my mind, body, and spirit with healthy foods and with good reading and good friends in community and beyond. I exercise my mind, body, and spirit by walking and ice-skating, and by exploring new ideas and new friendships. I find time to rest and relax alone, with my friends and with my God.
Let’s pray for each other and let the meaningful beat of our personal and community’s “rhythm and blues” intermingle in a chorus of hope.