Every time I attend a Giving Voice conference, gathering, retreat, share a phone call or get together with a few GV sisters, I always leave refreshed, renewed, energized and excited. This year’s National Conference in Kansas City from August 6-9 was no exception.
It was wonderful to see others, pray together, have similar cultural and age references, laugh together and hear others talk about similar experiences from their community living always reminds me of why I entered religious life-to follow God’s call, and to be part of a bigger whole working together for the good of human kind.
At our National Gathering this year, 70 sisters from various congregations across the world gathered. About half of the people were born outside of the United States but have entered communities in the United States; sisters were there from Africa, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Seeing everyone, being together, praying together, worshipping together, listening to our speakers and seeing others nod, smile, and laugh at the same references and comments I did was just such an exhilarating and bonding adventure for me.
The topic of our Conference was Crossing Boundaries in Religious Life. The speakers were Sophia Park, SNJM who is a Korean native but lives and ministers as a professor in California now and Teresa Maya, CCVI a Mexican native who lives and ministers as her Congregational Administrator in Texas now.
This year our National Conference was truly bilingual –English and Spanish. This helped reinforce of theme of crossing boundaries. Thanks to our million dollar grant from Hilton Foundation, we were able to purchase translation equipment and hire a translator Sr. Maureen Leach, OSF.
Tere explored with us the importance of reading the signs and times of today-the importance of looking at the world today and really facing our questions and concerns. We can’t live in the past or future; instead we need to live in the present. Sophia spoke how border crossing allows one to get to know herself and others better. This leads to transformation and expansion of the vision.
During our time together, we also met with Plante Moran to begin discussion about our Strategic Planning.
Personally, I have been involved with Giving Voice since I entered 19 years ago. Without this community of sisters, I’m not sure I would have lasted in religious life. It is so great to be at GV gatherings and have so many sisters who are younger than me be present. It’s nice to be one of the elders for a change. For the past 4 years or so, I’ve been a member of the Core Team. This too has been a great learning experience and I’m grateful for all I’ve learned and all the people I’ve met. It’s time for me move on and let others work on Giving Voice. I know it is in great hands.