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Core Team Face-to-Face Meeting- July 2021

Core Team member Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP writes… Greetings from Florida, the Sunshine State!

This summer, we, your Giving Voice Core Team, finally met for our Annual Face-to-Face meeting. As you could imagine, our 2020 meeting did not take place.  Like many around the globe, we needed to become creative in order to adapt to these new times. Thus, we have our first hybrid Face-to-Face Encuentro.  Four of us were in person and the rest joined us through Zoom, from Illinois, Connecticut, New York, and Mexico. Our local Adrian Dominican Sisters generously and graciously hosted us in their West Palm Beach Casa, in Florida, from July 2-5.  The weekend was intense, as usual, but we also had the time to enjoy a great 4th of July fireworks show that took place by the water.

Every day, we started and ended with prayer. We truly experienced the Spirit of God, Sophia, guiding and leading us, as together, we deepened in our relationship with one another.  Sharing about our individual Enneagrams and Myers-Briggs was so much fun.  It was very enriching time, we came to appreciate the diversity in our personalities and our many gifts.

During our time together, we welcome our new Core Team Member, Melissa Camardo, SCL. We are so excited for Melissa’s “Yes” to join us. We look forward to sharing with her and are grateful for the many gifts brings in service of Giving Voice.

As we shared with you in a previous communication, we are facing many transitions. For example our initial grant from the Hilton Foundation is ending and we needed to explore different strategies that would help to sustain our operations to move forward. We are thankful for the generosity of several Congregations that believe in the present and future of Religious Life, as well as, other generous donors.  One thing that was clear to us was the need to continue to strengthen our Development Committee. We also realized the need for the creation of a Finance Committee.  Both committees are in need of more volunteers and we hope some of our participants will join us on these efforts. 

Programing was another topic. We just had our Encuentro in Chicago, and in January, we will have our 20’s & 30’s, as well as, our 40’s retreat, both during MLK weekend. Next year, we are planning to have our National Gathering in San Antonio, Texas.

As Giving Voice started as a grassroots movements, one of the themes that emerged was: at this time is GV a movement or an organization?  We listed the pros and cons of the two and realized that the topic needs further exploration and discussion possibly at our upcoming National Gathering.

As you can see, we covered a lot in such a short time.  Definitely, it was so good to have this sacred time to pray, to be engaged, to dream, and to be inspired to continue to serve God and our sisters. The long weekend did not end without excitement as we were under a hurricane watch due to a storm passing through the Caribbean. Luckily, it dissolved and became a tropical depression. Indeed God was and is with us!