Queensland Congregation Assembly June 2012
Queensland Congregation Assembly
On the weekend of 9-10 June 2012 the Queensland Presentation Sisters gathered for an Assembly at the Presentation Spirituality Centre at Manly. It was an opportunity to celebrate with gratitude our lives and mission and to explore more fully the commitments we made at our 2009 Chapter. In particular, we wanted to grow in our understanding of the commitment we made to “immerse ourselves in a profound and intimate relationship with God in the Sacred Universe Story.”
Sr Anne Boyd, Brigidine Sister and coordinator of the EarthSong Project sponsored by seven religious congregations in Victoria, was our presenter and facilitator for the gathering. Through reflection, sharing, DVD and PowerPoint presentations, prayer, ritual and dancing Anne led us deeper into understanding and being amazed at the power and mystery of the evolving Universe and the whole community of life. Anne helped us to enter more deeply into the reality expressed by Mary Southard csj (1994):
How important it is that we learn the Sacred Story of our Evolutionary Universe, just as we have learned our cultural/religious stories. Each day we will begin to do what humans do best: Be amazed! Be filled with reverence! Contemplate! Fall in Love! Be entranced by the wonder of the Universe, the uniqueness of each being, the beauty of creation, its new revelation each day, and the Divine Presence within all!
The following comments by some of the sisters at the Assembly give some insight into how much we appreciated our time with Anne and with each other:
Deep calling unto deep. Anne’s calm and life-giving presentations reflected her deep knowledge and commitment. I felt she embodied what she presented, and was probably assisted by our welcoming attitude. For me the weekend displayed further evolution, personally and congregationally. Words can’t really capture the experience.
We are challenged today to come to a fuller understanding of “Our Universe Story”, to come to deeper appreciation of our Earth as Sacrament, a Sacrament revealing the Wisdom of Creation that began in a burst of “Burning Love”, and in every age has sung and will continue to sing of the MYSTERY that connects and brings into relationship all that has existed, exists and will exist, as the Universe continues to reveal the Grandeur of God.
There is a profound wisdom at work in the Universe. “Brian Swimme’s words capture for me the experience of the two days spent with Anne Boyd, as she shared with us her wisdom and passion for the profound Mystery of the Universe. She integrated the amazing findings of science with deep spirituality, drawn from many people and enriched by her own faith and commitment. I found that Anne led us through a range of experiences to a deeper participation in the wonder and allurement of this Awakening Consciousness. Her concluding words challenge us to treasure and to act on what we have been given.
The mid-term assembly for me provided a wonderful opportunity to gather with like-minded wise women of integrity to revisit our Focus for Mission statement. I am grateful for that opportunity. In the grounds of our contemplative space at Manly, I found energy and life flowing from our shared wisdom. This energy and life nourishes me, allowing me to take part more fully in this sacred journey that we the Presentation Sisters are undertaking. Together we had the opportunity to expand our consciousness regarding the continuing process of our evolving Universe Story. I have a greater appreciation of my small place and role in God’s ever-expanding Creation. The Mystery of the creative journey is inspiring and breathtaking as I come to understand this new identity of ourselves as cosmological beings, providing me with a new perspective on kinship. It reinforced the awe and wonder of the inter-connectedness of life. How crucial we are to each other and our surroundings and the need to take care of our Universe. Being able to share some of our personal story and our collective story was an uplifting experience. I feel excited as we stand on the cusp of our expanding future and Monica Brown’s words, “Invisible Mystery, sacredness unfolding” seem to capture the weekend experience for me.
“How good and how pleasant it is when sisters dwell in unity”. These words from Psalm 133 echo my experience of the time we spent together as a congregation exploring a little further the new Universe Story. Unity seems to me to be what underpins all we can say about belonging to creation – and that was my experience. Relationships were described as when the innerness of one being meets the innerness of another. I liked that and I think to some degree that is what we experienced. It was good and pleasant.