We were invited to open the doors of our hearts leave the house and go out to embrace one anotherMaryKnoll Sister Miyoung Sung welcomed us to Chicago with these words, “This experience is like a puzzle with different parts and each person having a piece of the puzzle but we don’t know what we are going to create together.  Each person needs to use their piece and put it into this puzzle.” With that 112 sisters from the US Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and 23 congregations came together for four days.  It was a time to renew old relationships, forge new ones and together discover what seems to be emerging as the future of religious life as perceived among the graduates of six Leadership Development Programs.From the left Srs. Chris Linda Diane Anne Rose Donna Jeanne and Patty

Twenty-two Sisters of St Joseph were in attendance.  The focus of this gathering was our internationality and we were blessed by having sisters from five continents with us.  Sr. Sandy Prucha, RSM invited us to “Hold and reverence the uniqueness among us.” Sr. Sheila Kennedy, Philadelphia said, “It is a privilege to be here and to come out of our ordinary everyday life to think in a global way.  It was an honor to meet my sisters from other continents and to have an exchange of ideas, desires, and longings for God’s people.”

Informal discussions abound from the left Srs. Linda Marie joan Rose Janet and JeanneWe were reminded of the work that creating a multi-lingual space requires.  It takes a disciplined commitment to speak a little more slowly and only with one voice at a time.  Our prayer experiences were rich with multi-cultural practices and expressions. Sr. Pat Quinn from Boston shared, “These deepening international and intercongregational relationships broaden my international perspective.” Sr. Diane Couture, St Augustine, noted that the group “took steps forward in a collaborative effort to weave networks internationally with new hope for the future.”Once again we were graced by the presence of graphic artist Martha McGinnis who expressed our content in powerful visual images

Comparing the depth of this experience to a one week retreat, Sr. Griselda Martinez Morales, Lyon-Mexico noted, “This experience is touching us in a deeper way. The dynamic, open, deeper communication and sharing shows us the possibility of another kind of leadership.  For religious life and the life of the world we need something like this.”  Sr. Anne Davis, Carondelet offered, “We are developing a web of relationships around the world so that together we can respond to the unfolding needs of the times.”

Sr. Chris Pologa, Carondelet said, “The richness of sharing the heart as we move into the future knowing we are not alone gives us hope.” Sr. Janet Kinney, Brentwood, stated, “It was wonderful to be together as we forge new ground for the future.” Summing things up Sr. Rose Casaleno offered her reflection that this gathering provided an experience of “broadening and deepening with our [age] cohort as we move into the place of unknown.”