The joy we felt at seeing the Sisters and Associates at the Summer Gathering flowed into our July 14-15th meeting. Visitation on so many levels! This was especially important as together we mourned the passing of Sr. Kathleen Fitz Simons.
For our two-day meeting Sr. Kathy McCluskey, CSJ led us in a process of looking back over the last three years, and looking forward to the year to come, including our chapter planned for next March. Kathy invited us not merely to list what had happened and what remained to be done, but to ask:
• What was God doing with us during this time?
• What was being born? and then
• What is God desiring for the life of the province?
At the Gathering, Maryann Calabrese reminded us that we don’t have a mission but we are called to embrace—to be–God’s mission. So, for example with regard to health issues, the end point is not simply obtaining care, but supporting everyone living God’s mission. We need to continue discovering new ways to deepen our expression of the “we” who are in mission together.
One of those ways may be with regard to the statement on racism we published in the June newsletter. Since we had not engaged in dialogue with all Associates and Sisters, we could only speak for ourselves as a Leadership Team. But a number of people have said that they wanted to appropriate the statement for themselves. At the same time, we recognize that there could be reasons why some might hesitate to endorse some aspects of the statement, and that it is important to respect the freedom of everyone in this regard.
So, we invite all Sisters and Associates to reflect on the statement once again. You will find it at the end of the newsletter. Pray about it, speak about it with others in your home or elsewhere. In particular, note those actions to which you would commit yourself if you affirm the statement. (These actions can be very simple; e.g., giving “public witness” by speaking up when you hear someone disparage someone of another race.)
Let us keep one another in prayer during this time of reflection.
We lament the killing of George Floyd, which reveals the tragic and dangerous current of racism running through our nation.
We are united in grief with his family and with the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tony Robinson, Trayvon Martin and countless others whose senseless killings summon the outcry that Black Lives Matter.
Thomas Merton called racism the unconfessed and unrepented sin of our Nation; we are united in our awareness that white privilege makes us complicit in racism.
Therefore, we commit to a repentance that will allow us to understand the depths of our prejudice around matters of race and violence.
We seek forgiveness for our sin of racism
and pray for the conversion of our own hearts
and the systemic moral conversion of our country.
As leaders in our church we recommit to the education and advocacy that will be called forth in our ministries with others.
We commit to bearing public witness that is clear and direct,
as we seek to fashion God’s beloved community with our brothers and sisters.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
Anne Kertz Kernion prepared two questions for our reflection during the gathering, but there was time for only one. You are invited to take some time with the other one during these summer days: Remember Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What is one commitment you will make to take better care of yourself? We sometimes offer others more support and care than we accept for ourselves. (Ignoring the “yourself” part of Jesus’ command.) What's one way-you-might accept the care and support of others, allowing yourself to be loved and nurtured?
Rosemary Sullivan recommends this audio broadcast as a follow-up to Anne Kertz Kernion’s presentation. Pauline Boss, author of Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief, joins “On Being” host Krista Tippett to ponder what it means to be living through a collective experience of “ambiguous loss” right now. https://onbeing.org/series/living-the-questions/