I've been spending a good deal of time with Joseph this Advent season. As I write this newsletter, I can see him standing on my prayer table, part of a little manger set from the Holy Land. There Joseph is, next to Mary, staff in hand, looking down at an empty crib. Just as we anticipate the coming of Jesus this Christmas, so too Joseph is anticipating this bundle of light and love and wonder--the incarnation of everything that is good--into his world, his life, and his rag tag family. He waits and he dreams and he trusts.
In the early days of my own religious family, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Joseph was chosen as our patron because he is a model of peace. As we say in our Constitutions: "His courage to live a life of faith inspires us to trust in God's abiding love especially in times of struggle and uncertainty."
These are certainly times of struggle and uncertainty. During these days leading to Christmas, I have been praying with one of my CSJP Sisters whose blood sister lives in South Sudan which is experiencing an outbreak of violence. Her sister has sought refuge and safety at the UN compound in Juba, along with her husband, children, and tens of thousands of others. Closer to home, I have been praying with a family member who is seeking answers to a mystifying medical condition that has left him discouraged. Joseph accompanies me as I accompany them.
Joseph was a dreamer who faced an unknown future, just as we who are living religious life these days don't necessarily know what lies ahead. Yet we dream and we trust, even as we continue to live our daily lives of community, prayer, and ministry as women religious for the 21st Century.
Giving Voice is a creative space where we can share our dreams and live into them together. This January women religious in their 20s and 30s will gather for our MLK peer-led retreat weekend in Arizona. In August, those in their 40s (like myself!) will create something new as we gather for the first GV 40s peer led retreat outside Seattle.
In our Voices of Younger Women Religious feature below, Tracy Kemme, SC--a novice with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati--offers her own reflections on the something new which is happening in religious life.
As we anticipate the coming of Jesus, God-with-us, we wait and we trust, we dream and we hope, we live and we create ... together.
Thank YOU for the gifts you bring to Giving Voice and the future of religious life.