We are navigating unusual times with the COVID19 virus ravaging the world. We can call it the “Dark Night” but never the “End Times.” I returned from San Antonio last week where my four-month sabbatical ended very abruptly with an expectation to leave the premises as soon as possible. Now I shelter in place with CSJs in my local community. I keep saying to God, “So what now? I have more of my sabbatical. What am I going to do?” Since my return, my sabbatical time has shifted locations but not focus. Living in the reality of the now, I share space with ambiguity and the social complexity of social distancing. The CSJ mantra of “All are One” shows itself every minute of this crisis on social media and constant media coverage. The six women of Le Puy and the women on whose shoulders we stand are walking this journey with me. They faced a similar reality of violence, illness, poverty and despair. I keep telling myself that I have their DNA. I am a CSJ with a charism of inclusive love. I want to share this reflection, written by Mary Catherine Walton, SSJ. It gives me the moral imagination of embracing the charism one more day, one more situation.
Where Would We Be?
Where would we be if the six women had not taken the risk to embrace a vision to effect change
in even just one city, one countryside, one set of circumstances? It took six women to multiply the grace to set the pace that traverses the world, that has left footprints outside the door.
Where would we be if they had walked away from the kitchen, from the unknown, from the challenge that God’s Spirit asked them to choose?
What would be missing from our world if the Revolution chaos had crushed Medaille’s dream into dust, if it had rusted the hopes that lived in Joseph’s house?
What might have happened if Jeanne Fontbonne had not embraced the Black Daughters as Sisters in Lyon?
What would now stand in Le Puy, Lyon, Carondelet, Chestnut Hill and other places if zealous women had stayed within the comfort zone of their culture, afraid of the emotion of facing something new?
Do we not know the scent of death and dying-from our roots? Do we not know the sounds of courage and risk that echo through our history? We are built upon transformation!
We have never just survived. In hiddenness we have embraced Mystery and we can do it again! It is our turn to set the pace into tomorrow.
This reflection and other writings can be found in that all may ONE published by the Association of Colleges of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Martha Malinski, Editor.