retreat photo

We were laughing and together: a reflection on the 20s and 30s retreat

No matter how I come to a Giving Voice event, I go forth somehow both lighter and more grounded.  The recent 20s and 30s retreat on the theme of prophetic hope was no exception.  More than forty women religious gathered over Zoom this past weekend, January 15 – 17, 2021, led by Kelly Moline, OP and Sarah Cieplinski, SNDdeN.  From shared prayer to shared dance parties, our time together offered glimpses into what it means for each of us to live with prophetic hope. 

There is hope that comes from seeing one another do the work of the Gospel.  One of our first sharings was a simple introduction that mentioned our name, congregation, and ministry.  These brief glimpses into the work of my fellow Giving Voice sisters added another dimension to the hope that we shared over our days together.  I now carry each of these women in my heart in a new way, and I can say, as is often said in my congregation, “Where one of us is, we all are.”

One image that became important over the course of our time together was of God as a weighted blanket.  Such a blanket, like God, offers a “good kind of heaviness,” the kind that offers comfort and reminds you that you are surrounded by love.  During the weekend, I experienced this time with my sisters as that kind of comfort. 

There is hope that comes from sharing our stories.  In my novitiate scripture class, we learned that the role of the prophet is not to predict the future; rather, the prophet is tasked with telling the truth about the present.  In our conversations, we shared what was true in our present time.  We brought our exhaustion.  We brought our joy.  We brought our questions.  We brought our wonder.  We brought our grief and our gladness.  All the while, the Holy Spirit danced among us, bringing out the light and life that is rooted in and springs forth from each one of us. 

When we pay attention to that light and life, we make space for God’s continued invitation. “Sooner or later we realize that the possible has no fixed limits.  What we mistook for a limit proves to be a horizon.  And, like every horizon, it recedes as we move on toward fullness of life.”  (Brother David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer)

That fullness of life is where I find myself in the wake of our retreat days: grateful for my relationship with God and my relationships with my sisters.  It is always a blessing to be with you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.