Religious Communities as Constellations

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

When you gaze upon the stars, what do you see? Are you someone who is looking for a constellation, or someone who is wishing upon a star, or someone who is simply trying to ‘connect the dots?’

In the middle of July, during our monthly discernment gathering, as Sr. Pat Twohill OP was sharing about discernment, she suggested a few thoughts that might help discerning women to take a leap of faith in their journey. I decided to share a few of her thoughts with you, along with adding my thoughts as well. If you are a Sister or an Associate, or should I say, part of our “constellation,” I hope you find assurance and encouragement for the future as you reflect with these insights. If you are someone who is trying to decide between religious congregations, I hope you find this blog empowering to take the next step in your journey.

Photo Credit: László Tiboldi
“Hook your star to a constellation”

One of Sr. Pat’s suggestions was, “Hook your star to a constellation.” She shared this on July 10th. Little did I know that in just two weeks, we would see the Comet Neowise. As I gazed upon the sky, I remembered her voice, “Hook your star to a constellation.” How wise is that! Comet Neowise was cool, but it gave a temporary joy only. Constellations, that we might often recognize, shine brightly all the time – and when the clouds don’t hide them, we can see them.

Aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes in his book, The Little Prince, “For some who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others, they are no more than little things in the sky. For others who are scholars, they are problems. (…) You alone will have stars as no one else sees them.” In the Scriptures, we read: “[God] appoints every star and calls each one by name.” (Psalm 147:4) God calls us – each one of us by name. So, why not hook your star to a “constellation” or a community?

Finding the pattern that forms a recognizable image

A constellation is a group of stars when they form a pattern, like the Big Dipper or Gemini, etc. When looking at the various religious congregations, there are certain characteristics one might look for. You might want to look at how often Sisters pray together, how they live and preach the Gospel, what their congregation’s charism is, how they respond to societal needs, what their community life looks like, or whether this group has a future. These characteristics might form a pattern, which one might call a “constellation”, and that might help you find the “constellation” that fits you the best.

The joy we find in constellations

The Comet Neowise was cool to see, but we can no longer see it. However, we can still see other constellations – constellations that last. When you look at congregations, look at them in the present moment, but also whether they have a sense of future.

Putting energy into the sacrifice

Stars create and release energy. During our recent assembly, we were encouraged to continue to put energy into the sacrifice as we engage in our mission and respond to the emerging needs of the times. Whether you are a Sister, an Associate, or someone who is discerning religious life, I invite you to pray with these thoughts: what energizes you about our community and/or mission? How can you share that energy in a way that brings God’s light to others? In which community can you create and release energy in a way that it brings out your God-given best self? Some people look upon the stars on their birthday and make a wish. What is your wish for the future?

Sr. Pat Twohill reminded us that God guides us along the way. When she quoted Psalm 95, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart,” she then encouraged our discerning women, “Try it!” She reminded them to pay attention to their feelings, wherever their heart feels most at home might be the right place to live out God’s call.

In the Scriptures, we hear, “Stars of heaven, bless the Lord,” (Daniel 3:63) and “[God] appoints every star and calls each one by name.” (Psalm 147:4) To what is God calling you? What is one thing you will do to bless God today?

If you think you are called to be a vowed religious Sister or an Associate, contact us at vocations@oppeace.org. If you are a single, Catholic woman aged 18-45, and you if would like to participate in our 3-day virtual Discernment Retreat, click here for more information on our Facebook page, or see the flyer here.

Posted in God Calling?, News

4 responses to “Religious Communities as Constellations

  1. Beautiful, Bea, I have a picture of comet Neawise that a friend send to me . Here in Arizona is a wonderful place to see the constellations. Grandma’s favorite “Evening Prayer” when I was growing up teaching us how God gave each one its name. No better place to see the Milky Way from one end to the next than Araviapa Canyon. Gracias!

  2. I know it’s a planet, and not a star, but I enjoy seeing Venus each day (weather permitting) before sunrise, and it always starts my prayer for the day! Jesus, you are my Morning Star!

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