I can confidently promise you that the June 7 conference at Catholic U. is going to be excellent, both in learning and in experience... as long as I don't get in the way of the Holy Spirit for the part I personally am responsible for! But wow, it's work!
The speakers enthusiastically said yes, and we are absolutely thrilled: Sisters Pat Farrell, Mary Hughes, Helen Maher Garvey, and Marie McCarthy!!!!! We've got the brochure and flyer almost ready, the registration system is almost set up, our discussion questions for the LCWR book are in final edit before going online, the details and responsibilities are identified, etc., etc., etc., etc. We're excited about every bit of this, and we're excited that we've found this great way to share with you our discoveries of the powerful way of leadership that LCWR has been quietly practicing for 50 years.
Solidarity with Sisters has never been a hierarchical group, although everyone except her would point to one person as our leader. Our preparations are also not hierarchical. A need emerges, someone takes a first step, others respond and work together to create a draft, the whole group is consulted again, and something gets checked off as "done."
For each task, as we approach those last steps, I notice that our emails regularly mention the wonder of working together this way, and our clear reliance on the Spirit at work among us.
For many of us, this is not the way we've conducted most of our lives, particularly our professional lives. We've lived and often thrived in hierarchies. Yet we like this communal way of discerning our call and how to proceed. We like this communal way of proceeding. In some ways, the choice to continue walking together creates us; in other ways, the process itself creates us.
My high school teachers were the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana. Only now (and, in no small part, thanks to our group and the women religious at LCWR) am I absorbing the message they undoubtedly offered me then.
Sister Marie McCarthy at LCWR is a member of that congregation. Her emails end with a quote from its foundress, St. Mother Theodore Guerin. “If you lean with all your weight on Providence, you will find yourself well supported.”
That leaning is truly exercise. It exercises muscles that many people don't use often. Like physical health habits, spiritual well-being develops through the exercise of leaning on providence. And leaning on providence can become a habit of consciousness and intention... but only with persistence. And good exercise companions give a big boost.
Working toward this conference is great exercise for me.
I hope you'll come join us to delight in the fruits of the effort!