How do you find life-giving opportunities when living in a faith community of women? What picture do you have in your mind of a faith community of women? What are the pros and cons of community living? For me, what I have experienced during my years of living with a community of faith has many more positives than negatives. Let me share with you three positives elements that I have experienced in community living.
The first element of community living is faith sharing, which I have greatly appreciated. As Dominicans, we enjoy formal and informal sharing, especially during prayer times. Faith sharing not only deepens my call and widens my vision but also helps me to understand my sisters and takes me outside the box to be in solidarity with others in need.
The second element of community living is a joyful spirit. We often come with a joyful spirit and smiles appear on our faces most of the times. Indeed, we have many spontaneous laughs and jokes, especially at the dinner table, and this joyful spirit is contagious. It breaks down all the tiredness of the day and refreshes our souls, minds, and bodies. What makes us special as Dominican Sisters of Peace is this joyful spirit, which you may not find in other places.
The third element of community living is mutual support. We respect each other and value our wisdom, gifts and talents, dreams, and cultural diversity. I have been encouraged to share my thoughts, ideas, and culture in building a community of mutual respect. When we are happy, we share our happiness together; when a member is struggling, we support that member. When we experience conflict, we sit down to talk, listen and commit to change. We also share our dreams, mission experiences, our ethnic food, and celebrate special cultural occasions. Living in an inter-generational and intercultural community is a mutual blessing and treasure. I always thank God for what I experience from community living, making my daily life more fulfilling.
Last Saturday, when I moved from Louisville, Kentucky to live with three Sisters in Wichita, Kansas, two associates and a sister traveled with me along with all my personal items. On this journey, I experienced the three elements of community living that I described above, and I felt very much that we were one together. Soon after I arrived in Wichita, I felt at home with my new community because of their great hospitality and joyful spirit.
If you want to explore a community of faith like us, visit us at oppeace.org to learn about who we are and what our mission is about. You can find us also on Facebook and Instagram. Or, you may want to join us for a “Come and See” retreat weekend in Akron, Ohio from March 15-17, or for a Mission Immersion week in Columbus, Ohio from June 1-5. We also have a discerning (Emmaus) group on Zoom every second Friday of the month from 7:00 pm- 8:30 pm that we invite you to participate in. Contact us to learn more about these many opportunities
within our community.