In a mere three years, I will be celebrating my Golden Jubilee. How is this possible? And how is it possible that women religious are still unsettled, searching, re-organizing, and trying to discover the path of the Holy Spirit as they were when I was a novice right after the Council? The answer is, “Because we are alive!”
Another answer lies in the webinar, “New Wine in New Wineskins,” that we watched in preparation for the Chapter, where Brother Reginald Cruz, CFX, stated, “The Holy Spirit is disastrous!” It is true! The Spirit cannot be put into a container. Religious life is a living organism, enlivened continually by the Spirit, and our survival depends on how well we listen and follow.
Wineskins are vessels for fermenting wine. They must be strong but equally flexible. The new wine of our lives that is put into the wineskins is not the wine that will be poured out. If the new wine of 2019 religious life were to be poured into old 1972 wineskins -- our old ways of routine, safety and functionality -- the “disastrous” Spirit would soon explode the wineskins and all would be lost.
The new paradigm of religious life described in the document, New Wine in New Wineskins: The Consecrated Life and its Ongoing Challenges Since Vatican II, and explored by Brother Reginald states that today’s religious life is prophetic, charismatic, liminal, contemplative and non-generic. It must be constantly developing and changing because that is what society is doing. If we are not liminal, working at the margins, I believe we will be irrelevant. Our self-understanding cannot be generic because our living charism and Mother Pauline’s spirit are alive in us.
I am truly excited about our Provincial and General Chapters because in my heart I believe women religious are needed now more than ever. We have an integral part in the healing of our Church and the restoration of trust and credibility that has been destroyed. May the Holy Spirit continue to be disastrous!
- Sister Mary Joseph ministers at the Church of Christ the King (New Vernon, NJ)._________________________
The Sisters of Christian Charity of the North American Eastern Province will hold our Provincial Chapter from February 14-18, 2019. Please join us in praying the prayer for our Provincial Chapter.