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Giving Voice Gathering

Christa, Libby, and Violaine

Three sisters from each of the provinces in North America, each in different stages of formation, had an intercultural, mono-generational experience during July in San Antonio, Texas. Though we as Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame intentionally focus and embrace our intergenerationality, this was an opportunity for Sisters Christa, Libby, and Violaine to be together as sisters under the age of 50, before and after an international ‘Giving Voice’ gathering of 77 sisters from other communities who are also under 50 years old.

The theme of the gathering was “Stir into Flame the Gift of Global Sisterhood”. We had the privilege to have as our facilitator, hermana Griselda Martinez Morales. Unfortunately, due to Covid she could not attend in person but was present with us through Zoom. Each day, for 30 minutes, she shared with us her wisdom about what it means to live as global sisters today. We shared in small groups and together as a whole group to answer questions including: What is our call as women religious and disciples of today? When we reflect on our essential pillars of religious life (prayer, community, and ministry) what gives us life; what leaves us unsettled? How do we long to live each pillar more fully? What are the foundational sources that most inspire us? To be a part of a group created by our peers and for our peers was energizing. Reflecting on these questions together within a structure of circular leadership was liberating, encouraging, and empowering. We experienced solidarity among women of the same age with similar desires who face similar challenges and opportunities.

During the gathering, Violaine was asked to share her wisdom on religious life on a panel with three other sisters. At mass, Christa offered the homily that was prepared by another sister named Christa who was unable to attend at the last minute. (We enjoyed the humor of Christa stepping in for the other Christa).

We left these three days of gathering with burning hearts to more fully live global sisterhood and interculturality, to be counter-cultural knowing this call is unpopular, to be truth tellers, to be prophetic, to live synodality within our communities and the Catholic Church, to bear the love of our discipleship as a gift to be shared and heard.

The three of us arrived a few days before the gathering and stayed a few days after, living with Libby’s family in San Antonio. We toured the San Antonio missions, attended mass at the Shrine of the Little Flower, went to a cowboy town, and floated down the Guadalupe River. We ate TexMex as much as possible and attended a book launch of Sikh wisdom written by Libby’s friend Simran Jeet Singh entitled ‘The Light We Give’.

We want to express our gratitude for the support of our CND community to be able to be together. We hope to make an intentional effort to connect more frequently across the provinces, desiring to grow our circle of younger CND sisters in formation together.

 

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