I have been a professed member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame since 1981. Since that time I have lived in a variety of community settings – in convents with large numbers of Sisters, in houses with 5 or 6 others, and in my current setting with one Sister in an upper flat, as we connect regularly with other Sisters in similar living arrangements.
Although the number of women I have lived with has varied over the years, the value that we, as School Sisters of Notre Dame, place on community is at the heart of our commitment to Religious Life. For us, our vowed life together is a gift and a responsibility with Christ as the center of our community and the source of our unity.
In our SSND Constitution, You Are Sent, we read, “Life in our faith community is a giving and a receiving of love and respect, a living together in trust, openness, sincerity, and forgiveness. Through this kind of presence to and for one another, through our prayer, dialogue, and ministry, we become a community of one mind and one heart. Forming community is a life-long process. We say yes to the joys and inevitable tensions of creating and recreating community each day. In our efforts to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens, we experience the reconciling power of our merciful God. Awed by the mystery of God’s action in our midst, we gratefully celebrate life.”
So, we strive to live together in an atmosphere of peace, sharing responsibilities, taking time for communal prayer, welcoming others into our home, and supporting one another as we live out our mission to direct our entire lives toward that oneness for which Jesus Christ was sent.
Although you, as members of the Milwaukee Catholic Home community, may have different vocations in life, I believe that you, too, have an opportunity to create community with those around you. Each of us is called to be Christ to one another, to create a place that is inviting to others, and to celebrate the gift of life together. Finally, perhaps you can resonate with these words from You Are Sent, “As the desire of Jesus that all be one becomes more fully our own, our striving for unity embraces all humanity and the whole of creation.”