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Northeast Six Congregations Mark the Start of Cycle II of Closer Union Process

BLAUVELT, NY - November 27, 2006-- Over 300 Dominican sisters and associates from the six congregations that make up the Northeast Six marked the beginning of Cycle II of a process of closer union over the Thanksgiving Weekend. On Saturday, November 25th, the six congregations who have been exploring new ways to relate to one another and collaborate together, celebrated the completion of the first cycle of the process. The group gathered to pray together and begin Cycle II.

Cycle II of the closer union process will include study of existing resources, a new round of congregational meetings to identify a common focus and inter-congregational meetings that explore common visioning among the six groups. The inter-congregational meetings are planned to accommodate 40-50 members in each setting for a more intense dialogue among members.

Cycle II is expected to conclude in the summer of 2008.

Carol Zinn, SSJ, NGO representative to the United Nations for the Sisters of St. Joseph, was the featured speaker. Her topic: Living Religious Life for the Life of the World.

Her talk explored religious life of the future and its demand that we approach it with three postures: 1) understand the times we live in; 2) realize the unfolding moment we are experiencing; and 3) recognize how the principles of sustainability can inform the process of closer union.

"We need to understand the situation before we can manage it," she said. Sustainability takes place when we understand the reality, manage it well and hold those things in balance. "Things will remain out of balance if we fail to understand our situation and the demands of religious life in the future," she said. " We cannot simply manage our lives if we do not understand what we are being called to now." "Relationships change when you live in the Spirit and Fire of God," she continued.

"How do the Elkins Park Dominicans celebrate Jubilees? How do the Blauvelts hold funerals? These are symbolic questions of the cultural differences among us. They are questions of understanding each other. We cannot manage reconfiguration long before we understand it - it is out of balance without understanding."

Reconfiguration is not about doing us more efficiently. "The sake of the mission is not about having one cemetery instead of six, " she said. "Reconfiguration and Religious Life is for the world, for the sake of mission." Carol named several hungers of our world that are at the root of our mission: unity, interdependence, justice, wholeness, vulnerability, reverence, a sense of the sacred and wisdom. These are what bridge the divisions of our world.

Carol offered a new understanding of the words: collaboration and partnership.

Collaboration conotes an exchange of resources: I will do this if you do that-- to accomplish a goal.

Partnerships involve creating something new, out of what we cannot do alone, by giving what each person has to the process. Partnerships reflect a more natural, equal cooperation that leads to the new.

At the end of the day, the group enjoyed an encouraging song from the six leaders of the participating congregations and a light buffet hosted by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt.





We cannot manage reconfiguration long before we understand it - it is out of balance without under-standing.


"The sake of the mission is not about having one cemetery in-stead of six."

Carol Zinn, SSJ

Northeast Six:

Elkins Park

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