Friday, February 22, 2013

Triad of Communities

There are several intentional community networks forming in my area.
Sustainability - The Ecovillage people are gathering around the issue of living more simply and sustainably. We garden. We conserve. We recycle. We share tools and services. We share our hopes and dreams for a more sustainable and equitable society. We also long for justice and tap into the spiritual depths in order to sustain our commitments.
Justice - The occupy groups and justice and peace community seek to address issues of justice and non-violence in our own community as well as across the globe. We advocate. We hold teach-ins. We occupy. We commit our time, our resources and our lives to making our corner of the globe more just, more peaceful. We also know that part of our commitment to justice is the commitment to live more simply and sustainably, and the commitment to spiritual grounding.
Spirituality - The intentional Christian community people go to the Gospels for the source of our choices. We join together for mutual support in our radical commitment to living the gospel, to prayer and to growing in the love that that was Jesus central message.
All three groups commit
  • to live lightly on the earth, 
  • to work for a more just and peaceful society, and 
  • to live spiritually meaningful lives.
Some of us come to this triad of values through the door of sustainability. Some come through the door of justice and peace. Some come through the door of spirituality. But in reality, all three of these values are interconnected and mutually enriching. My life is so greatly enriched by being in these circles.
For me, as we move forward in religious life, I believe we will find our unique place in this triad of communities, in this triad of values. As religious men and women, we bring unique blessings to these communities, and we will also receive their blessings as we journey together.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Choose Life

As we begin our Lenten journey, the readings offer us a choice: You have set before you life and death – Choose Life! And Jesus comes along in the Gospel to remind us that choosing Life may actually require us to forfeit life. As I settle into prayer with these words, the short phrase Choose Life echoes in my heart.

Choosing life today might call me to slow down, when I want to rush, or to rush, when I would rather linger. Choosing life may invite me to be kinder and gentler when I feel my emotions rising more brusquely. Choosing life may mean standing fast when I might shrink back and take a comfortable road. It may mean standing up for myself or for others or for justice, in the face of challenges. Where will I find the courage to choose life, in whatever my day presents? I will find it in these very words – Choose Life - the Word of God that carries within it the power to renew.

As I sit in prayer, Choosing Life seems to urge me to open my whole self to the loving embrace of Jesus and to rest in his gentle arms enfolding me in peace. I let God's love flood the whole of my being and recreate me in the Divine image, in Love. With every breath I surrender to God's life as it flows through me, renewing, healing, loving. Yes. Yes to God. Yes to Love. Yes to Life.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sharing Faith

Recently, I had the experience of giving a retreat. It was an opportunity to assemble a series of presentations on various aspects of faith and spirituality. I had never done any quite like this before and it was really a chance to pray with and for the group, as I prepared the materials, and then as I prepared each presentation for the group. I was a privilege to see them respond to the movements of the Spirit in and through the days we spent together. I wondered at first what I might possibly have to share and how it might be able to move the group which was quite diverse. But it was an opportunity to share my deepest beliefs about who God is and who God is for us.
Sharing faith is always an opportunity to touch my own deepest roots and discover anew the God in whom we live and move and have our being. I think that living in religious community and sharing community creates ever new opportunities to share faith and to challenge one another when we are not at our best. I can loose that fire and spirit of a vibrant spirituality. But it only takes the opportunity to share it with others, and to receive their spark and my own is re-kindled. But it is also rekindled when I have the opportunity to share with others.
It seems to me that the fire and light between us is as potent or even more potent that the fire and light within. Perhaps this is the meaning of Jesus words: wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Community of Communities

I am a Sister of St. Joseph, and as such, my gravitational center is within my own community, my sisters in community. This is where I am at home. I identify with the community as together we support each another, we pray together, we rely on each other. This has always been true of religious communities. However, there is a difference today. In the past, my community was my total community and I was fairly isolated from others. Today, our communities are more permeable, we still live, work, pray and play together. At the same time, we also live, work, pray and play with other sisters and we engage with our ministries and with other communities. We sing in the parish choir, we live in an ecovillage, we engage with our ethnic group, we celebrate with our families, we network within our profession and we have countless other affinity groups. All of these relationships enrich our belonging to our primary life community. Multiple circles of relationship help us to navigate the uncertainty and fragility that integral to our lives today in our world and in our religious communities.

I am a part of my Sisters of St. Joseph community, my Sisters 2.0 community, my ecovillage community, my Black Lives Matter community, my tax-assistance community, and my family. And in ministry, as I move from place to place, I am welcomed into many different communities of sisters around the globe, as part of a global sisterhood united for community, spirituality, and justice.

We are beginning to use the term dual-citizenship to describe our membership in our own congregations and in various inter-congregational networks. We are better sisters in our home communities when we are able to engage in these wider circles of relationship. There are in fact many circles that claim our energies and that in turn support our vocation. This community of communities and this web of relationships provides mutual support and energy in the challenges that we face in our individual lives and in our communities.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

UMaine women’s basketball director of operations leaving program to pursue religious vocation

ORONO, Maine — Basketball has always been an important part of Tracy Guerrette’s life.
The St. Agatha native has demonstrated her passion for the game as a player, coach and support staff member.
Yet for Guerrette, basketball takes a backseat to the most important aspect of her life — her Catholic faith.
“I’m 32, so when the Lord keeps tugging at your heart, nothing else will suffice but to give him my whole life,” Guerrette said. “He’s poured out his love into my heart so much so that I can’t help but, in turn, give him everything.” Read more....

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This is the seed of a vocation - that sense that God has poured so much love into our hearts that we can't help but give everything in love - to God, to community, in service. This is the moment when me and I and mine step out of the center and love focuses me on someone else, whether on God or on service or on another person in my life. Stepping out of the center expands my heart and my horizons and allows me to be the most loving person that God made me to be. It is always inspiring to hear this same story told, even when the names and places and details are different. It is like the same song in an infinite number of variations. Blessings on you Tracy and on everyone who takes the time to listen and respond to the call of God in their lives.

And here is a video of Sr. Sarah Heger's final vow ceremony.

In a sense the vocation story comes full circle with the profession of final vows. In another sense, final vows is the beginning of an amazing journey that is religious life. Sarah takes her place as a full member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and as a religious. She joins us on the journey of radical gospel fidelity, along with men and women from around the globe and across every century of the Christian story, right back to the time when Jesus began walking this journey with his disciples. Every profession renews the vitality of this way of life.