Magnifying the Presence of God in the World
by Betsy Conway, CSJ
As turkey and football have become essential Thanksgiving traditions, so, too, has gathering in the Hamptons the weekend before Thanksgiving become for many Atlantic Region CSSJs in the “under 65ish” cohort. This November, as we reunited for our 5th year, we were able to welcome 10 sisters from communities outside the Atlantic region in the hope that they might bring back what they shared with us and, perhaps, create gatherings in their own areas.
The advent of these gatherings came with many questions: Why were we formed? Was there an urgent call? Was there a product we were meant to produce? What has evolved in this time together is a strengthening of the bond of CSSJs who have possible decades ahead for us – decades of living out our call to unioning love as vowed women.
With Janet Mock, CSJ, to guide us, we were invited to recall transformational moments in our lives and share them at our tables. In an intentionally contemplative environment, our sharing was deep and profound, becoming transformational in and of itself. We were invited to give a hopeful and challenging look to the year 2025 and imagine what we might look like then - and from where we would look. Even within this cohort the span of years is wide!
On Saturday night, we held a “Hubhop” - a zoom call which included CSSJs from 15 sites across the country - so that we could expand our vision and knowledge of each other as sister belonging to the same call and dream.
In her reflection at our table Doris Marie Gonzalez, SSJ, described this time for us. Quoting Maryann Zollman, BVD, Doris said, “Bonded by a single desire to bear and birth God’s revolutionary love, we formed a new sisterhood intent on magnifying the presence of God in the world. All of us in this circle know that Magnificat by heart. We sing it with our lives.”
Each Day’s Rewards Become Twofold
by Elise Cheverie, CSJA
The spirit of Christmas is wrapped so often in the warmth of our homes, colorful wreaths, festive garlands, and in the bonds of friendship that endure. Days are filled with the affability of caring, the joy of togetherness, and the love of those close to each of us.
One of those memories embellished in symbolism, but focused on tradition and togetherness is our day of connectedness with the residents of the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center. Our visit always creates a tangible, happy occasion in which the rewards of giving become twofold! Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life!
At the heart of our charism, ministering is encountering others. In today’s world we are called upon to commit ourselves in seeking graced responses toward others. We are invited to create healing and nourishing actions toward all of God’s humanity. Our annual visit to Solomon Carter Fuller provides just one small pathway in recognizing the dignity of those residents whose lives are often tinged by inner pain, uncertainty, and a plethora of lifestyle adjustments.
Circles of kinship were renewed during our December 9th visit. In a spirit of “tradition” and oneness, sisters and associates re-created a tangible season of new memories through avenues of joyous gift-giving, shared song, and an awareness of extending love. In return, gifts of receptive gratitude warmed each of our hearts -- anchored by our own spirit of keeping Christmas alive.
’Tis a Season of Joyous Celebration – a time to rekindle childlike wonder, cultivate a peaceful heart, and bask in the full glow of a love for one another!