Giving Voice Weekend Update - the serious side

It's very appropriate I think that I'm writing this post after my last post. To recap, my last post was a quote by Margaret Anna Cusack, the founder of the CSJPs:
My desire to live the life of a sister, to give my life to God, and to work for his poor – this seemed to me the only object worth existing for.
Why is that appropriate? Well, as you've probably figured out, I live with an amazing group of women who embody this saying. Their love for God, for the poor, and for religious life is inspiring and energizing. More than that, they've been living this life for 50, 60, 70 plus years. That's pretty incredible, and living with them is amazing gift.

There is one thing, though, that they experienced in their early years in religious life that is a bit harder for me to find ... peers who are also in love with religious life. There are a few of us in our community who are younger/newer to religious life and for that, I am very grateful. I also have faith (and hope) that more will come. God is calling, and (some) women are answering. But when you hear the stories of our elder sisters and not so elder sisters, there is something that comes from the combined energy of lots of younger sisters in their history - not just a handful. They were a support system and a source of energy.

These days, younger women are still entering religious life. I know that, after all, I'm here! But it's one thing to know that, and another to know it.

Which is why I spent this past weekend in Florida at the annual gathering of Sisters in their 20's & 30's - sponsored by Giving Voice. Giving Voice is an organization created by and for younger women religious. (I've written about GV before.) It was my second year at the "Young Nuns" weekend. This year there were about 20 of us from all over the country. We shared about our own communities and charisms. Told stories about our Sisters. Dreamed about the future of religious life. Explored possibilities for future gatherings and discussions.

We prayed and we played together. The energy of the group was amazing. We all love our communities, our Sisters, our founders, our charisms. But we also loved the experience of being together for a weekend with other younger women who get it.

So glad I went, even if it took me a year and a day to travel to the other side of the country.

Happy MLK Day everyone!


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

I'm so glad you are participating in this. I've pretty much moved beyond new, since I have now been finally professed ten years, but I recall similar such gatherings that I've attended, and how important they have been to me.

Peace, Pat

Anonymous said...

It is really important to gather with other young Religious so that we can dream together. As you said we gain energy from each other.
I am a Novice in a community that is very open to today's needs and very willing to listen to my ideas but I can't do it by myself.
My "Wise" Sisters all always there to share with me the foundations and the traditions of the community and it is up to the next generation of Sisters to actualise that in today’s society. That will take a lot of creativity and a lot of prayer so that we can be faithful to the Holy Spirit.
I do think that there is a reawakening of the vocations but I don’t think that they will ever be as large as they once were. We need to re-think how we, as consecrated women, can be present in today’s society to announce the present of Christ.

Sister Juliet, RSCJ said...

Susan, Thank you so much for the comments on Giving Voice. I'm excited to get to know the group--If I'm accepted, I will be able to go to the summer meeting! I hope then that I will be able to meet you there.

Many blessings,

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Juliette - that would be great if you could come this summer.

Sarah & Pat - thanks for the comments. I agree it's so important to have gatherings with other younger/newer religious. There's just something magical that happens.

Pachyderm said...

I am slightly envious of this GV thing - as far as I know, New Zealand doesn't have an equivalent group, and Anglicans certainly don't (there aren't that many Anglican religious to start with, and even less young ones, women or otherwise!). I'd love to hear more about what you talked about - if you can tell us without betraying confidences of course.

Robyn tssf