January 17, 2017 – From Sr. Toby Lardie
In the midst of winter’s cold, it appears that very little is happening with the bare trees and fields covered with snow. Yet, we know that each year, the dying around us is precisely what opens up a space and energy for the new life that will show forth in the springtime. As the world and institutions shift around us, as a new government moves forward with plans and agendas, as challenges confront us at every level of society and church, we also find ourselves individually and communally part of the changing landscape. When we enter into the New Year, we must say goodbye to the old without knowing what the new is that will reveal itself. As religious women, we have been looking at various aspects of the Villa in light of changes in the community demographics, sponsored ministries, the needs that our elder sisters have for health care and the needs of our ministries. We have now entered into a planning process which we are calling Pathways to a Future Full of Hope . The purpose is to help free the Congregation and its membership more fully for mission. We are in the midst of gathering data, doing assessments and studies, and asking the difficult questions. We will be called upon to make some concrete decisions that will require courage and vision. For the most part these concrete realities are external, but they demand a deep inner reflection and discernment for all of us, both as individuals and as a community. Mark Clarke, of Community Works, Inc. said it well in a recent article: The collective soul journey of the pioneer community is a profound journey of radical detachment, of saying good-bye to existing understandings of religious life and opening the communal soul to a yet unknown future. For this to happen, it is to allow the spiritual invitation to intensify the call to both individual and community holiness. Thus, the heartfelt pilgrimage is to support and nurture the sacredness of each member while seeking a common vision and a unified heart. In many ways, this is symbolic of our evolving global society. (“Leadership in a Pioneer Community: Tending the Fires of the Collective Soul.” October 2016) As the snow covers the land and the cold swirls around us, let us take the opportunity to enter into those inner spaces where our lives are nurtured and energized for the growth that is required of us as we move forward together in hope.