How time flies! We have been back in the USA since July 20, almost a month next week. Of course it has been non stop for us since. Mike has been traveling for a little R & R. Nick is working in the parish where he goes for a month every year, St. Thomas More Parish, Darien, Connecticut. I have had a few things on. I spent a few days after they left preparing our center for a parish team who will come (while we are not there) to do their “start -of- the- year planning.” It is an inner city parish in Minneapolis staffed by Dominicans and laity who serve the poor, mainly Native Americans and Hispanics in that neighborhood. We are pleased they choose our place of peace each year to do their work and have a break from the city atmosphere.
Then, I took off by car (4 hr. drive) for southwest Wisconsin at the Motherhouse of the LaCrosse Franciscans to participate in a Peace Conference and celebration of what my congregation calls “Common Venture.” It was so good to see my friends and community, even if it was only for a weekend! Since our foundation in 1849 we have developed into three autonomous congregations. When we came together for our 150th Jubilee 10 years ago, we decided to venture commonly in outreach to a disadvantaged Franciscan congregation of women in Cameroon, West Africa. Since then we have been engaged in a mutual process of give and take whereby our Cameroon sisters have given us so much culturally and spiritually and we have been able to provide education and resources for them. So all four groups were present and it was an enriching experience. We had input on Peace from a Buddhist nun, an Islamic lawyer and spiritual guide, a Catholic lay theologian and a religious sister who is a scholar on Franciscan theology.
Here are a few thoughts I took with me:
- Contemplation does not move us away from the world, but toward it.
- We all suffer from the contemporary “propaganda” which says “Be comfortable.” We as Christians, but especially as Franciscans, can take a prophetic stance against this propaganda. In order to do this we need to lead from a position of hope not fear. If we do so —-we will always be in trouble and be seen as trouble makers! We can stand together when the going gets rough.
- There is a lot of work that needs to be done. The earth (and the solar system we know) is only 14 billion years old; we have approximately 100 billion more years to go. In the mean time we can be people who are peace gifting not just peace making.
I am presently visiting my elderly mother who is 92. She lives in Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. We are having a good time!
Our team will come back together on August 30. The summer here has been beautiful —and very warm!!