Ana Gonzalez offers the following reflection on her experience at this year’s Giving Voice National Gathering.
Almost a month ago I and about 20 others attended our first Giving Voice National Gathering. The topic of the conference was very promising as it was one very relevant to my formation as a “young” sister. As I pulled into the parking lot at Iona College, I felt anxious about who I would meet and the discussions that would take place. Little did I know that my attendance at the National Gathering would energize me, grant me new insights, and allow me to meet a dynamic group of women whom I am proud to call sisters!
In yesterday’s gospel reading we were told about the kingdom of God being like a fisher’s net that is cast to catch fish of every kind. I could not help but think that we all had been caught by God’s love. I recall in our initial welcome circle there were close to 80 of us gathered in our commitment to our call. I was impressed by the diversity, the stories and the love of God. As I looked around the circle I became aware of the women, like me, who chose to say yes to and intimate friendship Jesus and trusting reliance on God.
As we engaged in the conference, we were attentive to the theme of “Poised to Lead: Healing Division and Building Bridges.” Our encounter and commitment to each other was reinforced through our hopes for the future, shared concern by divisions, unpredictable uncertainty and the call to live fully as Catholic Sisters. I felt a transition; no longer anxious or among strangers. We were all one, united by our Sisterhood! I felt the Spirit in our collaboration, contemplation, invitations to embody leadership, in our conversations and brainstorming.
Looking back on my first grand experience at the National Gathering, I am overwhelmed with a sentiment of gratitude for the opportunity to participate. At the conclusion of the gathering, I am blessed to be bond to friends and sisters committed to Catholic Social Teaching and cultivating the Kingdom of God today in our ministries, congregations and communities through our apostolic call as women religious!
Ana is a novice with the Dominican Sisters of Peace.