Reflective Moments with Angela

By Sister Nancy Liddy

Here at the Mount, all of us are very aware when the Ursuline leadership gathers for their regular Wednesday meetings. There is a change in the atmosphere on those days when the Sisters are praying for fruitful decision making.

Meetings are fundamental in forming our lives as we come together to pray and seek fresh ways to serve others. As many of you know, our area Associate meetings have early roots in the small group of women Saint Angela regularly gathered around her in a frescoed-walled room off the Cathedral square in Brescia, Italy. I wish to focus on the cultivating of the virtue dolcilis or a docility of mind as a helpful spiritual practice for those many meetings we convene, conduct and participate in.

Early on, Ursuline educators were aware of the need for dolcilis in the classroom, for both the students and the teacher. Being docile is often interpreted as an attitude of submissiveness or passivity. Docility is more of an aliveness – a student eager to listen and learn all that another can teach. An example of this is the beloved educator who becomes a wisdom figure at her place of ministry through learning from everyone and widening the circle of her own ideas. The teacher and the student receive enlightenment.

If we unpack the virtue of docility, its role as a spiritual practice for meetings becomes clearer. I am not particularly good at being docile – especially at meetings! Yet, I have witnessed this “inclination of the heart” to receive from others when we are gathered for community meetings. When I am listening with openness to what I agree with as well as what I do not agree with, I begin a practice for spiritual growth, a “docility to the Holy Spirit” which Pope Francis has said “we must” cultivate.

Something to consider

When we participate in meetings, Father Ron Rolheiser suggests we recall, “Pentecost happened at a meeting!” What practice (journaling, keeping the mission/vision of the organization in mind, openness to others’ ideas and experiences) will help me cultivate the virtue of docility?