As of Thursday, April 16, as Director of the Associates, I have visited each one of the Associate Groups and facilitated the Direction Statement from our 2015 Chapter. It has been a wonderful experience to see the enthusiasm and hear the sharing. We began with reflection and sharing from the Marthas Vision, Mission and Values, as a background for the Direction Statement. More time was then given for the Direction Statement where both the Sisters and Associates shared their reflection. It was clear that we have five years to continue to break open the Word given to us at Chapter and this evening was hopefully one of many to help us live more deeply into the Statement as time moves on.
The Martha Associates Handbook states:
Martha Associates are men and women who identify with the Mission, Vision and Values of the Sisters of S. Martha and affiliate for the purpose of assisting each other to deepen the living of their Baptismal call in their respective life situations.
The rationale for wanting the Associates share the Direction Statement is that it is important the Associates know where we are going as a Congregation and to be on board with us as we move into the next five years. The Associate process is a collaborative approach and we need to share and learn from each other.
Some of the gems heard along the way with this process were:
- Hospitality: it is truly lived by Marthas; we experience and feel it when we go to Bethany
- A group of six at Christmastime made sandwiches and brought a large carton of coffee to the people on the streets… a pocket of hope…
- We participate in ecumenical and interfaith endeavers; there was mention of a Healing Ritual with five ministers present. There was a great spirit of witness and collaboration present.
- Pockets of hope in our world, many groups feel that is doable, with various sizes of pockets; we don’t have to take on the whole world… with God’s grace we can do something….there’s an invitation to be pockets of hope at home; encourage each other to be happy for what we have. As we grow older we need lots of hope.
- more reflection and sharing felt was needed about prophetic life choices
- one person felt being wrapped in the mystery of god.
- We participate in evolution of church, priesthood… how slick that was stated
- Service… through service we develop friendships, we grow etc….
- The verbs were standing out… embrace, respond, invitation, engage, extend,…
- Justice: that is difficult at times, especially when the poor are out in front of the church; you feel guilty; what am I expected to do? Daughter says, recognize them as a person; know their name;
- Collaborate: knowing that we need each others gifts, skills, talents… need to be realistic
- Mindfulness: being aware of the needs of others
- Reality of our lives: how do we welcome that reality? We need to be rooted in God; keep hopeful…
- Listen to each other in our pain and grief; loss of family members, friends. Some of us are getting more feeble and unable to do all we would like…
- To do a new thing with the power of God…
- Edna was quoted re the Statement… As Sister Edna would say, “there’s a lot of meat in that”.
- Ask the Creator to guide me and teach me…
- Respect and care for earth, that is taking a prophetic stance…
- Reflections on Sunday morning on the local radio station, a pocket of hope…
- Encouraging us to be risk takers, not to be afraid… need to take the first step
- Praying in the home… turn off all the lights so as not to be distracted and have a simple candle.
- Statement is futuristic, hopeful, challenging, not just hospitality but gospel hospitality;
- Respecting all of life, we are all interdependent; we need each other;
- There’s a cry and hunger in our communities for Spirituality;
- The challenge : all are welcome
These are some of the reflections I heard and was so grateful for the sharing. Take time to soak in your responses and be grateful for the wonderful Associates and Sisters.
Sister Claudette Gallant
Director of Martha Associates