COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2017 | Open the Doors of Our Hearts
By Pat Quinn, CSJ
"Open the doors of our hearts. Leave the house and go out and embrace one another.” MiYoung Sung MM
This was the theme of the Biennial Gathering of the Leadership Collaborative Conference that Jeanmarie Gribaudo, CSJ, and I were privileged to attend in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. Of the 112 in attendance, 22 were Sisters of St. Joseph from various congregations. The conference is intended to gather together sisters from across congregations and around the world who have participated in a Leadership program.
The weather in Chicago started out as raw, cold, and rainy, but the atmosphere within the conference was cozy, warm, and joyful. I had attended the 2015 gathering so it was wonderful to reconnect with sisters who were at the previous conference, and establish relationships with new participants. We opened our hearts as one sister after another told of her experiences of ministry in countries outside the United States. I sat in awe of these courageous women and what some of them will do for the people they try to help.
Violence in the Philippines, floods in Peru, drought conditions in Africa. It does not matter religious women are there giving their all to God’s people. I was humbled by their stories.
It is all in the deepening of the relationships that we realize we are all one. It does not matter what congregation you belong to. Where you live, or what you do for ministry. We all bring that Loving Presence of God to wherever we are. I always return from this gathering enriched and hopeful for the future of religious life.
THE LITERACY CONNECTION 2017 CELEBRATION OF GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION | The Gift of the Spirit and Pentecost 2017
By Pat Andrews, CSJ
The Literacy Connection’s annual celebration of Gratitude and Achievement oftentimes coincides with the Church’s celebration of the feast of Pentecost. Similarities surrounding both events leapt out at me as I reflected on our June 4 celebration.
Acts 2:1-11 describes the assembled crowd at that first Pentecost as Parthians… inhabitants of Mesopotamia… Asia, Libya, Cyrene, Egypt, and even travelers from Rome. Sunday’s celebration saw families from Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, Russia, Peru, El Salvador, Haiti, Pakistan, Argentina and even participants from the USA. In both scenes, there were many languages spoken….and yet they all heard the message in their own language. The gift of God’s Spirit among us – uniting, energizing, giving us a sense of oneness and empowerment!
And empowerment there was – in the grateful speech of a gentleman who went through three years of studying and endless meetings with the USCIS before he received his United States citizenship; of a tutor who thanked her student for being a means of transformation in her own life; and for the spontaneous moment when a junior high age daughter of one of the students asked if she could come to the microphone to speak…. giving a proud “Congratulations Mom!” She continued to thank her mother’s tutor and the Sisters of St. Joseph for providing a program to help her mother learn English!
As The Literacy Connection enters its 30th year, I give grateful thanks to our “founding sisters”- Meg, Gert, Etheldrita, and Marie Marguerite whose vision and persistence birthed this precious ministry and implore the Spirit of God to continue to spark our faith, hope and love into new action each day!