2021 Community Gathering
Sisters and associates from all over the United States and as far as Bolivia gathered at the Presentation Motherhouse for their 2021 Community Days gathering.
Thursday, July 15 marks the beginning of our annual Community Days gathering, centered on telling, honoring, embracing and celebrating our stories. For many sisters, it has been almost two years since coming home to the motherhouse and what a gift it is to be able to gather once again. The day was interwoven with song, story, silence and sharing. The powerful songs and graceful voice of Sara Thomsen captured and opened the hearts of all in attendance. There was great vulnerability and courage in telling our sacred stories and deep listening as we learned what one another experienced during our time apart due to the pandemic. The following days will be spent celebrating one another, sharing our experiences and envisioning what our collective story will be for the future. To say we are grateful to finally be together as a community is an understatement.
At our gathering today, sisters and associates spent time apart in the morning. Plante Moran, a consultant group, presented their observations to the sisters of their learnings gained through Zoom meetings. They addressed opportunities of how we, as a community, can answer the call of today by honoring who we are, where we have been and what we are called to be. How will we intentionally live radical hospitality in all that we do and what steps should be implemented to continue living our mission and charism now and moving forward. Associates reflected on and created possibilities to actively live, with energy and hope, their call to be women and men of radical hospitality.
In the afternoon sisters and associates came together to reflect, share and discuss what it means to be collective and collaborative, moving forward confidently to catalyze change and create something new for the future.
Today was productive and informative. Over the last several years, sisters and associates have been working on putting the Presentation direction statement and commitments/promises into action. Promise groups centered on governance and communication, radical hospitality, non-violence and partnerships and resources provided updates on their progress and shared next steps on how to carry their promises into the future.
In the afternoon, the justice promoter team invited the group to participate in a scenario-based activity called “In Her Shoes: Living with Domestic Violence. This activity led to thoughtful discussions that guided participants to identify helpful strategies to end domestic violence. The day concluded with time to unwind, continue to share stories and celebrate one another during the evening’s social and gala.
We are like the mustard seed and growing into a people who make space in our story for all who we meet. We trust the promise and await the unexpected and surprising, while shepherding all who need our care. During Mass, sisters and associates blessed the ears, mouth, hands and heart of those around them.
May you listen to the voice of the Holy One in all the experiences of this year and in all those you meet. May your listening awaken you to new insight and give energy and life to those you encounter. May you find the courage to voice with loving integrity what is truest within you and may your speech bring hope to all you meet. Our hands reach out to serve and to comfort, may our hands be the hands of Christ reaching out in compassionate service. The heart is the space which welcomes . . . may your heart break open and make room for new ideas, for new stories, and may you keep growing in union with the Eternal Source of Love.
All were commissioned to share their stories and listen to others as they continue to live into their promises, offering radical hospitality to all.