Leaning further into A Revolution of Goodness

Group of sisters during community days

FSPA Community Days, June 16 to 19, 2019, was full of Franciscan goodness. Revolutionaries came together in the unity of diverse ministry, in Gospel living and in relationship. Here are just a few reflections and snapshots captured throughout the week.

Sister Clarone Brill
My reaction to all the sharing of the day [Monday, June 17] was “W-O-W!” Then I thought to myself that this response could be Wisdom of the Word. Jesus is the Living Word of God and he came to show us how to live as God would have us do. In our Unity in Diversity, it states that we are “to live the Gospel in our time.”    

For me, the most inspirational part of the day was sisters sharing how they each live a specified beatitude. It challenged me to think about how I have and can do so myself. Someone once said we could think of the beatitudes as the be-attitudes. Having said that, I think of the powerful TED Talk we watched by David Steindl-Rast on gratitude and happiness. I whole-heartedly agree with him that it is gratitude that makes us happy, not the reverse. I am so grateful and proud of how we FSPA manifest the Living Word in so many ways.

One of my favorite quotes from the Bible is Matthew 10:8, “The gift you have received, give as a gift.” I believe that we gifted each other in many ways through all our sharing this day.

Sister Marla Lang
Approaching the 701 Franciscan Way entrance to St. Rose Convent on June 16, 2019, my jaw dropped! I hit the brakes. Never before had I encountered the entry, stretched widely beyond open. I didn’t expect such a personal impact when seeing it changed by a bulldozer.

But this encounter became much, much more about FSPA. The community days unfolded in an array of deepening encounters among sisters during dining conversations, strolls in the courtyard and munches on treats. Some sisters were looking at right relationships in light of FSPA mission possibilities. Yes, there were many thought-filled moments.

Sister Marla Lang

Asking FSPA members their experiences of encounter I heard: a transformative connection ... spontaneous opportunity ... bridging pondering to action ... connection at a deep level ... you and you become we ... interchange … they are we … I am a different person because of my encounter with another … a kindred spirit … the other has a face … changing one life at a time … loving presence ... soul meeting soul. 

Yes, deepening encounters and pursuing right relationships in light of mission have been and will be the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration way ... before, during and after renovation.

Sister Beth Saner
FSPA Community Days are over and we have returned to the patterns of daily life. So what lingers from the three days we spent together?

For me the fact that we come to be together is the first priority. For those days we had the opportunity to renew our awareness of one another’s presence, to enter into conversation with sisters we don’t see every day (and those we see often), and to share what is on our minds and hearts. It happened in the facilitated conversations over meals, during breaks and wherever we shared space during those days.

Sister Beth Saner

Of course, the ongoing conversation around the provocative movements continued to invite our attention. I was touched that each of the movements has invited active involvement from the grassroots groups. The days reflected their involvement and generated conversation, inviting sharing about how each of us is embracing these important movements. 

On day three, we were reminded that Pope Francis has invited us into a culture of encounter. This demands a deep give and take in relationships and the ability to acknowledge the depth of mystery that resides there. It is this encounter that allows me to unveil my own white privilege, to advocate for the suffering Earth, to be with the stories I hear each day in my ministry of companioning. 
I return to everyday life, grateful to be part of a community that engages conversations of this importance.

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