Sister Maureen’s reflection on Days 1 and 2 Plenary Sessions

I promised to share a few reflections on the talks we are hearing at the UISG plenary sessions.  On Monday afternoon we had our first presentation from Sr Teresa Maya on the subject of a vision for the future of Religious Life. She challenged us a great deal but recognised the tremendous amount of work to be done. We committed to making change slowly like those people she saw rebuilding the coral reef in Puerto RICO after the hurricane.They were restoring the dignity of creation, one coral at a time. Sisters working at the Mexico-US border provide simple hospitality, another seed of hope.  They are restoring human dignity one person at a time.
In Colombia a group of women have been breeding butterflies as they work for peace. They are restoring peace one butterfly at a time. What stories can we tell one another about receiving the gift of hope, hope that is gift given in the midst of despair. Together we must see with prophetic hope, trust our prophetic call, Live each moment fully, own our call as leaders and restore simply and gently.

Today our theme was Sowers of Prophetic Hope by Care of Creation and we began with a beautiful prayer which included a video showing how a seed grows each day- by some small miracle of technology it was all put together in a way that we appeared to be watching each leaf appear and the roots begin to spread under the earth – the miracle of life. We reflected on the parable of the mustard seed and we were asked to open our hearts to be surprised by God.
Our first presentation was connected to the theme but looking at the responsibility of Religious from a biblical perspective. Our speaker, Sr Judette Galleres, a Cenacle sister took us through the biblical prophets and asked what are the important elements and characteristics of prophetic hope? To be a prophet is to be a sower of hope , to be engaged in prophetic action that will eventually bring about a restoration of faith and life. Taking us through the Scriptures Sr Judette brought a new perspective to many familiar passages culminating in the text of the Cosmic Redemption of Creation in Romans 8. I had to ask myself why I had never before been inspired by this text to see it as a call to care for our common home. Reminding us that our prophetic vocation calls us to be agents of healing in the broken relationships of humanity and of our vulnerable planet, we were asked to discern God’s specific invitation to live out the call to be sowers of prophetic hope wherever our Congregations are in the world.

This afternoon Sr Sheila Kinsey have a challenging presentation on the need for us as Religious to make a commitment to sow hope for the planet.  We can work with the UISG campaign Sowing Hope for the Planet and we can also join the Global Catholic Climate Movement.  We will do this as Congregation and Sr Brenda will share resources with us to enable each Sister to be part of the campaign. Together we will endeavour to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. ( Laudato Si 49).  Many of us have already prayed together to mark Earth Day and there will be other such initiatives.  We will receive regular newsletters from the campaign and thus we will know what is being done globally in the name of Religious. As a Congregation perhaps one day we will say we commit ourselves to both personal and communal conversion and we wish to move forward together in an orchestrated and co-ordinated response in listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor as we go forth as instruments of hope in the heart of the world.
These are brief thoughts to give you an idea of what we are hearing but if you wish to read the full text of the talks Sr Joan has kindly given links on the website and videos on YouTube.
United in prayer for one another and our common home
With love
Maureen


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