Recently I went to my community’s third gathering of younger sisters which was open to sisters under the age of 60. I was so happy to go and had looked forward to this for such long time. It was an exciting experience for me to participate at a community meeting where I am not the only new member present. The title of this meeting, Mercy-ing: One World, One Dream, played on Pope Francis’ words and evokes an image of our global Mercy community moving forward together into whatever God is calling us to in this age.
The most challenging thing I heard over the weekend was cohort 10, the second oldest cohort present, expressing their frustration at not having their gifts called upon by the community. As a member of cohort 1, the youngest cohort present, I have heard and expressed this same sentiment before. I heard some similar thoughts from our sisters of color who are under estimated by our sisters of white. I had hoped or assumed these issues would just get better as I aged in the community and as the community continued to grow in its consciousness; however, it is naive of me to think that I will not have to work at expressing my own voice. As a result of the processes, prayer, and discussion I resolved during our closing ritual to take ownership of my own involvement in communal life and to be an active voice for engagement as I, and the community, live out our gospel call.
I heard our call to live out a gospel life running through the whole conference; over and over again we stated, drew, sang, and danced this communal call. We began to flesh out a vision of living a life of integrity based on the Gospel and named community as fundamental to this call. We know that there will be sacrifices to make in order to maintain this commitment to community life, especially as our numbers shrink and our global reality expands stretching us across great distances. Nonetheless, we believe that it is our lived experience now, as we lean into deepening community, which will define our future life as Sisters. Another theme often repeated was the desire to go deeper which will mean doing our own inner work and then courageously sharing that vulnerable space within ourselves with our sisters. This sounds challenging to me but it also has the potential to be the start of something beautiful. I think if we can engage each other in this way we will see clearly how we are now being called to live an authentic gospel life together today and in the future
I’m so glad that I went to this meeting. Despite the challenges I can’t see anywhere else I’d rather be with my one wild and crazy life (Mary Oliver). I’m glad to be in a life that stretches me even if I sometimes wish I could let others do this challenging work. Many sisters said over this long weekend, ‘Be the sister you desire other sisters to be for you’. I cannot leave the deep work to others and allow myself to sleep through life. It is for me to “do the work before me.” It’s just as well that I feel recommitted to this sentiment since it is why I began this blog six years ago; I hoped then as I do now that what I write might be of use to someone just starting out just as the stories my sisters share with me guide me in my own life.