Our religious vocation begins and ends in the desire for God, said Sister Shalini Mulackal, PBVM, the resource person for the one and a half-day Theological reflection on ‘a new way of being women religious in the Asian context’ held at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on October 6-7. Responding to the call of the Eastern Province Assembly 2012, around 70 SCNs and Novices actively participated in this interactive theological reflection.
Sister Shalini taught us the ABCDs of religious life. She took us backward and forward to our foundational experiences of God and community. Like a fire blower on the embers of fire covered in ashes with warmth, she led us through the disturbing contexts both outside and within. She took us through the jungles of our exiled parts and brought us safe to our essence — SELF. Sister Shalini motivated us to be serious about our quest for God — to be God seekers and sharers. She made us aware of the goodness of silence, stillness and contemplation.
We were challenged us through her critical hard questions. She stirred us out of our inertia to be prophets, to be authentic and faithful to our call — the tools to build a sacred community within. This will enable us to create a similar one outside and thus become a new way of being a religious today.
As religious, we are called to create communities from diversity and to celebrate our differences. We are invited to move from hierarchical to horizontal ways of relating to one another. As disciples of Jesus, our Guru, our response to the evils of today must be non-violent. Non-violence requires that we befriend our own darkness and brokenness rather than projecting it on to others. We are called to resist harmful behaviour without retaliation.
In conclusion, we were invited to look forward to a future full of hope in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Joyful hope is genuine discipleship. The two-day reflection filled us with a deep sense of joy and gratitude for our call to be Beloved daughters of God with a prophetic voice for the marginalized. Being God realized women and accompanied on this journey by God and others in community, we help all our fellow God seekers on this sacred journey. Sister Shalini helped us to believe that a new way is possible.