Living Hospitality: Community Days 2017
Presentation associates are called to share in and live out the charism and mission of the Presentation Sisters within the associates’ individual vocation in life. As associates gathered to participate in the 2017 Community Days gathering, the commitment and love the associates and sisters have for one another was evident and expressed in numerous ways. Associates and sisters prayed together, learned and shared together, listened to each other and laughed and celebrated together. Associate Dianne McDermott expresses her experience of Community Days in a haiku:
A time to slow down.
Reflection and dialogue;
prayer with the sisters.
Dr. Gina Wolfe’s presentation spoke to the charism of radical hospitality that binds associates and sisters together with a common mission. Gina stated that radical hospitality should both disturb people and stretch them. True hospitality breaks through limits and recognizes the other as equal.
Associate Bridget Lahart explains, “Being a part of Community Days and hearing the call to radical hospitality made me think of the people who have embraced and welcomed me into their lives and communities. It made me think of the times I have tried to be hospitable but have gotten caught up in the busyness of life. Living in mutual reverence with others takes practice, time and care, but will hopefully be worth all three!”
The social events were times to reconnect and have fun. Thursday evening’s beach party provided time for laughter and building deeper friendships as the sisters and associates shared smores, danced and visited with one another. Associate Billie Greenwood recounts, “Our gathering of people from many regions creates a treasure-trove of human excellence. The socials offer outstanding opportunities to enjoy one another. I wasn’t on the social committee, but I felt like I got to know all of them better, too, just from participating in their great activities.”
Friday was a memorable day. The day started with the associates and sisters coming together to pray with icons of hospitality and love, remembering that radical hospitality is rooted in mutual reverence and solidarity. Following the prayer, associates met together to consider the next steps and challenges that they face in committing to live out the mission of radical hospitality in their lives. “I’m happy that, as associates, we are talking about how to own the mission and how to claim our part in that. I look forward to continuing to develop our distinct role as associates and, further, how we continue to carry forth the mission of Nano,” explains Associate Bren Connors.
Associate Yvonne Kisch shares, “The best part for me was on Friday when the associates had a group session on their own and the sisters did the same. When we all got together again that afternoon and shared all that we talked about, it was amazing to see that many of the ideas were so connected.”
Associate Maureen Utter adds, “Friday afternoon the sisters gave us a platform to talk about what we need from the broader community and how we can better support each other. We had some genuine concerns, and I was struck by how willing the sisters are to hear our views and cooperate with us in a mutually supportive way.”
Following the joint session, the associates were commissioned in a powerful ritual that reminded all present that sisters and associates are truly interconnected and rooted in the legacy of Nano Nagle to offer radical hospitality to the world. Associate Yvonne Kisch declares, “This Community Days was one of the best I have attended.”
by CINDY PFIFFNER, ASSOCIATE PARTNERSHIP CO-DIRECTOR