Theme: Embracing Uniqueness weaving community
35 sisters gathered
Left to right: Pat Haley, Alice O’Connell, Carlette Gentle, Isa Garcia
Thanks to Higinia Bol who could not be with us.
We came together on Friday from different places and ministries, bringing who we are as individuals, with our own gifts and uniqueness. Sr. Mary Elizabeth welcomed the group.
￼ On Friday night we wove the interesting stories of who we are individually by weaving our stories into a web. We continued the connecting from last year by having the chance to return to our past group that we had in 2011. Time was spent seeing where each other was at this time in their life.
We moved on on Saturday where we had the opportunity to share around 3 questions in groups.
- How has community life been for you? Have you felt connected to the whole?
- Have there been any joys and challenges?
- What do you need specifically from this group to help deepen the connection?
We respectfully embraced each person’s sharing. We brought back our insights to the larger group continuing to weave the tapestry of our lives together saying:
To be intentional about community, community is encouraging, we get aha moments, being a part of community stretches us, we have an invitation to partake in a global community, life happens, so we should get out of our box and build relationships, changes happen, when connected, we become more than we have been, we gain gratitude and trust and appreciation for our sisters, there is an invitation to invade space, we experience integration by being a part of the big picture, we gain real listening, non judging and going deep through contemplative dialogue. We gain honesty, and being together is enriching and enjoyable.
Be sensitive to the sisters on the campuses, integrate them by allowing them to share their stories. Keep connection going – international connection via e-mail phone calls, blogs etc. We are in this together, allow story telling with photos and names, create a roster of members, create a phone chain, encourage those who did not attend to come and reach out to them, organize a time during assembly to meet with the members of the eastern province members that are also in the 1963 and beyond group. Post pictures from the events, explain reason to the sisters for gathering, discuss frequency of meeting, ask leadership to create a statement to support and explain about the 1963 and beyond group (bond with each other, strengthen and reach out to each other)
We moved onto our bread making service where we joined together in prayer, bringing our uniqueness of culture in the flour we brought from our different culture. In one bowl, we combined our cultural roots and mixed them together with oil, honey and milk that bind us. We kneaded that dough continuing to work to bring who we are as individuals into one woven community dough.
We proceeded into Saturday night where we were richly blessed with a banquet feast of food from all our different cultures represented in the group. We shared our native dishes proudly as conversations, laughter and connections continued to bless the weekend.
On Sunday, we started off with an evaluation and recap of the weekend. We shared the results of our unique concerns and blessings and thoughts that we got from the group sessions woven into a beautiful tapestry of who we are. Connection continued as we broke bread that was woven. We offered bread to the North, South, East, and West to the Heavens, Earth and the Center. We then shared in the breaking of the unique bread created by all who gathered. Each sister gathered received a basket with a small bread roll made from the same bread dough that was broken and shared. While each received their bead the line “Receive this bread which is a part of us all” was spoken. We shared the hug of peace and closed with the song “Daughters of God” song by some of the sisters in the group.
The weekend ended with mass and dinner with the Sisters.