I have been invited by the core team to share my reflection on what it has been like to be on the core team of Giving Voice. When I was beginning my formation process, my friend, Julie C., invited me to attend Giving Voice. I repeatedly told her “No,” because I did not want to add another organization to my life. She persisted in inviting me to Giving Voice 20/30’s Retreat, and I told her, “If you meet me in California, I will go to Giving Voice retreat with you.” She flew to California from Kansas, and we drove to Arizona. The following summer, there was a National Giving Voice gathering, and I said the same thing. She flew to California again, and we drove to San Francisco together.
I feel that my involvement with Giving Voice has been a calling. Friends invited me to attend retreats, national Giving Voice gatherings, and multiple workshops. With my fellow sisters, I co-authored In Our Own Words: Religious Life in a Changing World. I have been invited to be on the core team multiple times, and finally gave in after the third attempt. I trust in the invitation of those sisters who kept inviting me; apparently they saw something in me before I saw it in myself. Being a member of Giving Voice and the core team, I have been privileged to be part of an organization that created a safe place for me to use my voice. In the safety of this environment, I have learned new skills, and grown in courage and creativity. Surrounded by the most empowering, loving, and diverse group of sisters, I have become more innovative and developed confidence in my leadership skills.
As I reflect on how I feel about leaving the core team at this time, I am aware that I feel empowered to go into the world, embracing all that I have learned from my Giving Voice sisters, and having a more profound desire to share my gifts and talents with the global world. These sisters are the most empowering and inclusive group of sisters I have ever been part of. I want to be a better religious sister because of sharing space with them. I have been in a life-giving environment where joy and peace flowed in and out of my being. I also felt safe knowing that during significantly sad moments in my life, these sisters created a compassionate, supportive, healing, and prayerful space for me. Being involved with Giving Voice for over ten years has shaped me into a well-rounded sister. Every sister with whom I have connected and shared during this journey has helped shape me into the religious sister I am today. I pray that what Giving Voice has done for me in my religious journey can be experienced by present and future generations of sisters. My life as a religious sister is fulfilling because of this journey with you.
Thank you, sisters, for our global sisterhood/ lifelong friendships and for loving me as I love you.