Presentation Associate Gathering 2023
Presentation associates joyfully meet in person and via Zoom on Saturday, July 22, for the 2023 Community Days gathering. Led by Associates Donna Ewy, Billie Greenwood and Carol Witry, the group discussed personal experiences of transformation and were challenged to identify ways they live out the Presentation charism of radical hospitality in response to the cry of women and children made poor, our wounded Earth and all creation.
Using Ted Dunn’s book, “The Inner Work of Transformation,” the speakers explored transformation and set the tone for the deep sharing the group would experience. Dunn states that we have to break down and let go of what was to make room for breaking through to new life, like a butterfly has to break down that chrysalis in order for the lifeform of the butterfly to emerge. Based on a document by Robert Gass, “Transformation is profound, fundamental change, altering the very nature of something. Transformational change is both radical and sustainable. Something that is transformed can never go back to exactly what it was before.”
Associate Donna Ewy explained, “We have all had experiences in which life went a different direction than we planned. Perhaps it was painful or confusing. How did you break through to some new understanding or experience?”
Associate Carol Witry blessed the group with a personal sharing illustrating a quote by Dunn that states, “Pain brings us to the crossroads, but love pulls us through.” Using the knowledge of transformation and Carol’s inspiring story, associates then shared personal experiences of having to move past an event and an attitude or a way of doing something that had to break down in order for something better to come from it.
The group participated in sacred listening, which is a time to listen to others deeply with open hearts, honoring each sharing with reverent silence.
In the second part of the gathering, Donna discussed Biblical references to transformation, such as the imagery from Luke 5 when Jesus heals the leper, from Luke 13 where Jesus heals a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years, and the story of Jesus restoring the sight of Bartimaeus in Mark 10. Donna then transitioned to the story of Nano Nagle, Presentation foundress, and her personal conversion story. Nano came from a wealthy family, but turned from that life of ease to start schools for Catholic children in Ireland, who at the time, could not be educated. Years later, associates gathered still find Nano’s conversion relevant to their own personal stories of transformation.
Presentation associates are called to share in and live out the Presentation charism and mission within their personal vocations. Donna challenged associates to think about ways they embody the Presentation spirit and how they may need to be transformed in order to live more fully.
As the gathering came to a close, associates discussed what was in their heart – the session was inspiring, bringing new awareness, rekindling old friendships and developing new ones, experiencing feelings of openness and gratitude and a sense of learning to embrace transformation. With the help of Associate Billie Greenwood, the group joyfully finished the gathering by singing Lyndsey Scott’s song, “The Way Knows the Way.”