Listening to Our Inner Voice
by Mary Compagnone
I want to express a deeply felt “thank you” to Kathleen Hagerty, CSJ, and Mary Rita Weschler, CSJA, for giving all of us this wonderful opportunity to explore. I learned of The Women's Table at the MSJA1 alumnae Women's & Health Fair a couple of years ago. When I received an email from a “Mountie” regarding this Fall's seminar, Crossroads & Thresholds, the topic spoke to me. I am married, recently unemployed, and the primary family caretaker. The kids had moved into their dorms;day-to-day concerns of my 91 year old mother are ever present and, everyone was asking: "What am I doing for myself?"
Four weeks, 90 mins, a quick 1/2 hour drive to Brighton -- could I commit? After the first meeting, I was so glad I did! Sister Kathleen started our quest with the phrase "God's spirit is within us!" and I felt at home. I met new women of all ages and reconnected with some from my old parish and “the Mount”. Wednesdays quickly became an enjoyable reflective time that brought awareness and a bit of AHA moments! We all took a journey that gave us time out of our busy, hectic days to connect how we are today and how we were.
If this seminar had a Part 2, I would make every effort to attend. I have already borrowed books from the library by authors who were recommended. I was very impressed with the meeting spaces and, of course, the gracious hospitality for which the sisters are known. My final thought: both Sister Kathleen and Mary Rita created a beautiful space with a unique opportunity to learn, to participate, to share, to better understand today's choices, to be happy, and to encourage us to listen to our inner voice. I will keep my eye out for future series at The Women's Table.
What Can We Do to Positively Effect Change?
by Kathy Tighe, CSJA
Saturday, October 15, was the first meeting of the year for our Associates. The morning started with a welcome, overview of upcoming leadership election process, and an introduction of our new Justice Promoter, Betty Cawley, CSJ, our presenter for the day.
We extended hands in blessing for Betty while singing Sara Thomsen’s arrangement of the traditional Gaelic blessing, “May the Longtime Sun.” In viewing the video, “Catholic Social Teaching in 3 Minutes,” we learned that Catholic Social Teaching [CST] has been around for a long time. Betty explained the importance of Rerum Novarum, the 1891 encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, and subsequent encyclicals that built on this ground-breaking document.
For this meeting, we focused on three principles of CST: Human Dignity, The Common Good, and Option for the Poor. A specific topic was assigned to each table. Be it immigration, racial justice, the economy, or the environment, each table discussed a specific issue through the lenses of these CST principles.
In our table discussions, there was a shift to a more contemplative tone and dialogue as we listened attentively and respectfully to each other and allowed silence after each person's sharing. In our general sharing we were asked two important questions: Why is it important you are here today? And what can we do to effect positive change on these issues? All agreed on the importance of awareness, involvement, and solidarity as we live out our calling, "that all may be one." We ended our enlightened day by blessing each other as we sang again, “May the Longtime Sun.”