Women of wisdom, experience, insights, patience and determination-these words only begin to describe the 800+ Leadership Team members attending the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) earlier this month in Houston, TX. As President of the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR), I was present at the conference, heard the keynote addresses and joined in conversations at our NACAR exhibit table with the Sisters. One of the most repeated messages to us as NACAR representatives was the sincere recognition by the Sisters that the role of Associates is essential, expanding and part of the transformation of ecclesial women and men.
One story in remarks by Sr. Janet Mock, CSJ, made me both smile and think. She asked the question of the audience, “how will our small voice be heard” in this world today? Then in response to her own question, she used the image of the flutist in a large orchestra who felt insignificant and stopped playing. Immediately the conductor in a loud voice silenced the entire orchestra and demanded to know, “where is the flute?” She concluded that, “we are a very small but very significant voice that must be heard. We are ecclesial women.”
Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, emphasized multiple concepts that resonated with all in the audience. She described the contemplative stance of “the long loving look at the real,” the new consciousness moving from “I to We,” Peter Senge’s three movements of observe, reflect and act, and her personal most important motto “Avanti” – a motto of “going forward.”
It seems essential to me that we reflect with other Associates on the opportunities to integrate the spirit of LCWR in our Associate leadership, collaboration and mission with the Sisters. My perception is that we are viewed as very much a part of that small but significant voice for ecclesial women.
Learn more about the participation of the Associates in the mission and conversations with the Dominican Sisters of Peace or contact the Office of Associates (Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP, firstname.lastname@example.org or Associate Conni Dubick, OPA, email@example.com).