Populism – The People

Blog by Sr. Mary Ellen Bennett, OP

We are approaching a sacred time in the history of the Dominican Sisters of Peace:  preparation for the General Assembly, and the 200th Anniversary of Dominican Sisterhood in the United States.

We praise God for the blessings of the past, the graced moments of the present, and our bright hopes for the future.

I am reading LET US DREAM by Pope Francis in conversation with Austin Ivereigh, and I want to offer you some extended quotations:  his reflections on “The People”/ “Populism.”  With our special time in mind, I substitute “Congregation” for “The People.”

“The CONGREGATION is always the fruit of a synthesis, of an encounter, of a fusion of disparate elements that generates a whole which is greater than its parts.”  p. 100

“The CONGREGATION is a living reality that is the fruit of a shared integrating principle.  It is not a logical concept.  It can be approached only through intuition, by entering into its spirit, its heart, its history and traditions.”  pp.101—102

“To speak of a CONGREGATION is to appeal to unity in diversity. . .we have become used to speaking of identity in categories of exclusion and differentiation.  I (Francis) prefer to use the archetypal  term, ‘mythical category’, for it opens up a different way of describing reality, through the synthesis of potentialities  that I  call overflow.” p. 102—103

During this graced time may we intuit the soul of our congregation as we ponder our spirit, our heart, our history and our traditions.  May our reflections bring us to a synthesis of potentialities for our future (overflow).  May it spill over and inspire the days yet to come.

Dr. Austin Ivereigh is a Fellow in Contemporary Church History at Campion Hall, University of Oxford

Posted in Just Reflecting

4 responses to “Populism – The People

  1. Sr Mary Ellen, ever since I met you and still today, you are a very special person in my life. You always will be. We haven’t been in touch recently (my fault) but I think about you often and I keep you in my prayers. I hope you are well. The Dominican Retreat House was a very special home to me. My life has ups and downs but things are usually quiet for me and my feline family.

  2. …the concept of ‘a fusion of disparate elements becoming greater than its parts.’…I wonder if love is the element that fuels the fusion.
    In the words of a very old song: what the world needs now is love…..that’s the only thinkg there is too little of.

  3. Thank you Mary Ellen for your inspiring reflection prompted by reading the book of Pope Francis, LET US DREAM. I am actually reading it myself. You have given me some pages to go back and reflect more deeply as we celebrate our Dominican Charism and Mission as well as our future chapter and elections. I am happy to say I am hopeful by the witness of our sisters and the new members as well as our novices. Blessings and peace, Brigid

  4. If we keep all of these things in mind it will be a blessed event!
    Thanks (as always) for sharing such insightful words!
    I’m not sure if you realize how your quiet wisdom impacts me!

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