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Giving Voice 40’s retreat – Emerging and Empowering: Mercy as a Lens for Leadership

Author: 
Sr. Shannon Fox

“Let us bring the gifts that differ, and in splendid varied ways… Sing a new church into being.  One in faith and love and praise.”  With the words of this song, over 20 sisters in their 40’s both began and ended their weekend gathering, August 5 -  7th in Seattle, Washington,  Under the theme of “Emerging and Empowering:  Mercy as a lens for leadership” we gathered to pray, share, contemplate, and build community.  (And of course have a bit of fun too!)

The sisters gathered from many different locales, nationalities, stages in formation, diverse ministerial experiences, and religious communities.  The diversity of the gathering seemed to enrich the conversation and broaden our perspectives. 

Reflecting on the theme of leadership, we had the opportunity to hear from sisters who are currently serving their congregations as leaders, and sisters who have recently begun their journey as religious.  We reflected on the qualities of a transformative leader, what struggles we may have experienced as we seek to become leaders both in ministry and in our congregations, and how to be an agent of change.   We found that being an agent of change is often a difficult, unenviable position that requires patience…yet persistence, knowing how to set measurable goals, but not holding tightly on to specific outcomes, and being open to new ideas.  Yet, with passion, prayer and the support of our sisters, it is possible.

Our time of reflection and sharing helped to inspire and embolden us for the journey ahead.  Many sisters expressed how inspirational and formative gatherings such as this have been in their journeys as young religious women.  We are grateful to all who planned and participated in this gathering for their sharing, passion and insight. 

“May we continue to learn        

What it means to be true servants,

To take on the smell of your sheep,

To continually seek to bring about

Your reign of peace by being

And doing justice and mercy”