Written on: November 30, 2017
Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart Leadership invited their support staff to “take a day away” to reflect on all of the transitions we’ve been through together these past few years. The day focused on the bigger picture of first, who the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart are among the six Congregations descended from Marguerite d”Youville; and second, who the GNSH are within the larger context of Religious Women in the United States.
The day included prayer and sharing, along with input from members of Leadership. We viewed two documentary films, one on the life of St. Marguerite and the other “Women & Spirit “ based on the history of Religious Women in the United States.
During a time of Contemplative Prayer, there was time to wander the beautiful grounds of the Basilian Spirituality Center, after which a delicious lunch and lively conversation were shared.
Input from Leadership included a deeper explanation of the four parts of the directional statement from Chapter 2013 which has been a guiding principle of gatherings, meetings and decision making over the past four years. Although this was something we were all aware of, taking the time to listen and reflect on the directional statements brought a realization of how much these have been incorporated into our daily interactions, and, with humility, how far we still have to go!
The concepts of Ministry and Prayer as parts of how religious life is lived, were explained through the use of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Many (or maybe just me!) were surprised to learn that after the publication of Laudato Si, an additional “Work of Mercy” was added: Care for our Common Home. As a Corporal Work, this calls us to incorporate simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness; and makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. As a Spiritual Work of Mercy, Care of our Common Home encourages us towards grateful contemplation of God’s world which allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us.
Both of these fit beautifully with Creating a Compassionate World (our tagline) and GNSH advocacy efforts around human trafficking, ending the death penalty and avoiding nuclear proliferation, as well as the Congregation’s focus on caring for the earth and cosmic consciousness.
For me, I find it a daily blessing to be in partnership with this Congregation which stretches me to grow in faith and understanding. Thank you for this time to reflect on our joint mission.
Submitted by Maryellen Glackin