facing the future

The section on Charism & Spirit in our Groovy Constitions ends:
Confident of God's faithful love
and collaborating with others who work for justice and peace
we face the future with gratitude and hope.
Our Constitutions point us towards who we want to be as a Congregation. What I love about my groovy sisters is that they/we really mean it. We're having some very difficult conversations these days about the reality of numbers and "diminishment." That is a scary word and a complicated subject. But as one of the younger sisters said today at our community meeting on the subject, we're finally naming the elephant in the room.

I was lucky enough to gather today with most of the Sisters and many Associates from the east coast province as we began a conversation about our future. Next Sunday I'll be gathering with my west coast groovy community in Seattle (yes I get to go to Seattle!!) as we begin the conversation there. At the end of the month, the Sisters in the UK will continue the conversation.

I was struck by the faith with which we approached the topic. Yes, there is a bit of sadness and greiving at what once was and will no longer be - large numbers of Sisters staffing grand institutions doing wonderful work. But there was excitement, hope and confidence that the work will continue in new and equally wonderful ways - most likely with a smaller number of Sisters but a larger number of Associates and lay collaborators.

(If you're interested in my writings on decreasing numbers, they're here, here and here. To sum up: it's a reality we need to face, but God is still calling and will continue to call some women. Religious life will exist, if perhaps in different and as yet unimagined forms. But my experiences, renewed once again today, show me that women religious are well aware of and up to the challenging of reframing and reimagining their future as active participants with the big guy. The cool thing is ... I get to travel along on the crazy journey in gratitude and hope.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post -- but I wonder when women religious will acknowledge their role in the diminishment of their numbers. The wholesale abandonment of corporate works, a horarium, common life, dress, etc. certainly played some part in the present situation. Even if these are not the primary reasons for the sharp decline, such radical changes must have played some part. What amazes me about so many women religious is their willingness to criticize others in the Church wothout ever acknowledging their own mistakes and poor judgement. Just a thought (I doubt it will be well received here).