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.
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.
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