The 2012 Gathering of Sisters in Their 20s and 30s

Over Martin Luther King weekend, 18 sisters from 15 different congregations gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery for the annualGiving Voicegathering of sisters in their 20s and 30s. Over the next few Updates we will be sharing reflections from some of the participants. Sarah Heger, a 30 year old Sister of St. Joseph from St. Louis, shares here some of her experience at the gathering:

"We told our stories-that's all.  We sat and listened to each other and heard the journeys of each soul."  The Sharing, Edwina Gateley 

This story-sharing theme set the context as eighteen sisters in their twenties and thirties from fifteen different congregations gathered in Phoenix, AZ for a retreat that was much more than a quiet weekend with God.  Giving Voice, a national organization for sisters under fifty, sponsors this unique experience annually over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.  Peer planned and led, the three days were filled with listening, dreaming, resonating, and a great deal of laughing.  Prayer sessions invited the women to explore God speaking in their hearts and through the experiences of their peers in answers to these and similar questions: 

  • What are the joys and sorrows of your life? 
  • What do you experience stirring a depth of longing, pulling you silently to your feet? 
  • What dreams do you have? 

The shared answers to these questions spoke to a deep commitment to religious life and to the world in which it is held.  From safe houses and tattoo removal for prostitutes, to social media and evangelization tools for young adults adrift, to holistic wellness opportunities for the poor, and inter-congregational committees for creation, participants dreamed themselves to the edges of neighborhoods in a circle of support and possibility.  While being honest about the struggles that sisters in their twenties and thirties face as such a small minority, the uncertainty of the future was described as "beautiful and profound."  This capable, inspired, called group spoke with gratitude and love for their communities while simultaneously longing to create their own lives and the stories they know are waiting to be written.

"In each brave and lonely story, God's gentle life broke through…  We felt the budding of creation in the searchings of each soul…  We told our stories, that's all."  The Sharing, Edwina Gateley