Charism of Charity Moving Forward to the Future
Charity Moving Forward meets at Caritas Christi
by Sister Donna Mulligan, SC
Nearly 60 sisters from the Sisters of Charity Federation from across Canada and the United States arrived in Greensburg Thursday afternoon, July 13 at the latest gathering of the group “Charity Moving Forward’ (formerly known as ‘70”s and Beyond”). Formed approximately 30 years ago to respond to the specific needs of those sisters who entered religious life after 1970, the group returned to its initial meeting site of Seton Hill. The sisters meet every two to three years to experience a program of prayer, learning, discussion, and networking centered on a theme selected by a planning committee made up of members of Sister of Charity congregations. This year’s theme was The Charity Charism within a Living Cosmology.
To address this theme, Sister Maureen Wild, SC, of Halifax led the participants in an exploration of the evolution of the cosmos as taught by the best scientists and theologians of today. The group began by looking at past understandings of the development of the universe concurrent with the lives of our founders, Saints Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Ann Seton. Using the teachings of recent leaders of the church and modern thinkers, Sister Maureen specifically concentrated on how the principles of integral interiority, respect for diversity, and communion are important in understanding how God invites us to participate in the continuing creation and expansion of the universe. Perhaps most simply put, the future of the cosmos including earth and humankind is affected and effected by the decisions we make in our lives each day.
In conjunction with Sister Maureen’s presentations, Sister Cathy Bertrand SSND, facilitated the sisters in a process of Contemplative Dialogue to examine how this newer understanding of the universe calls sisters to respond in real and practical ways to current conditions in the world. She invited the sisters to identify courses of action congruent with our common charity charism that we would like to see put into practice within our own lives, our particular religious congregations and the federation as a whole. The sisters were also invited to name a way that their lives would be different because of the time spent together in the gathering. Finally using the New Testament parable of the Sower and the Seed, the sisters expressed their hope that the “seeds” planted within the gathering would continue to grow, blossom and produce abundant fruit moving the Charism of Charity Forward to the future.