I spent the past three days on the campus of the Mercy Sisters in Burlingame, California where Religious leaders and Vocation Directors from 55 religious communities around the country gathered to talk about religious life.
I was not expecting the “touched to the core” experience I came away with after spending a few days working together listening, sharing, experiencing, visiting, praying, joining in the Eucharist, morning and evening prayer, and looking to the future of religious life.
The event was planned and executed by the National Religious Vocation Conference under the Direction of Executive Director Brother Paul Bednarczyk C.S.C.
I know that the entire group was moved by the experience and recognized that we have some work ahead of us to prepare the way for the future of religious life.
Why was I touched to the core? I have tried to sift that out these past several hours having returned home and these are the reasons I found it to be life-giving:
- Religious women from very diverse walks of life entered into the experience in a positive, life-giving manner giving a wonderful witness to what it is we are called to be
- Together we listened as Sr. Mary Johnson spoke to us about her work in the Church as it relates to Religious Life and pointed out trends and possibilities.
- As a group, we prayed, shared, offered ideas, worked with one another for the good of all and genuinely affirmed one another.
- Through the experience, I found hope that religious communities could lead the way in healing a polarized nation beginning with ourselves.
While it would be impossible for me to infuse you with the deep feelings, experiences, joy and hope I experienced during these days, I am happy to share that it was an exciting experience for us and one that I believe will be life changing for all of the communities involved. A second, similar event will be held on the East Coast for those unable to attend this one.
I am including a short 3 minute clip from the “sending out” ceremony from the Chapel of the Sisters of Mercy (which I filmed with my iPhone) as we ended the three-day experience.