Sister Thuy Tran, CSJ

Embracing Diversity in Religious Life with Boldness and Beauty in Communion

A month ago, 80 of us gathered in St. Louis, MO for the Giving Voice National Gathering (GVNG).  The title of the gathering was Boldness and Beauty in Communion.  I am reminded by Pope Francis’ words: “Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline are called to make beauty shine, especially where darkness or drabness dominate everyday life.  They are custodians of beauty, heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity, as my predecessors have repeatedly stated.  I invite you, therefore, to care for beauty, and beauty will in turn heal many wounds that mark the hearts and souls of men and women today.” Here are some of my experiences of being surrounded with boldness and beauty in communion.

On Thursday afternoon, each sister slowly arrived at Fontbonne University, and I noticed the diversity of Congregations coming together. My thought, “How beautiful to see the diversity of sisters that are here.”  For our prayer service, Sister Lisa Perkowski invited and guided us into an artistic prayerful reflection using paint on a large piece of paper on the floor. I thought, “Oh gosh, I do not like painting, and here we are painting together.”  In the end, I talked myself into the prayerful activity. I noticed sisters were taking this art thing seriously and the beauty and diversity of artistic skill captured all of us.  That same evening, we had a talent show of sisters sharing their gifts and talents, including singing, juggling, playing instruments, acting, and reciting poetry.  We laughed hard and admired our talented sisters.  Again, I thought, how beautiful to be surrounded with such great talents and giftedness.