On the afternoon of August 22nd, the Congregation’s “One Community Working Group” met via ZOOM for the second time. Thirty-one Sisters and Associates from both Guatemala and the United States participated. Our vision for unity between American members and those in Guatemala was developed at Assembly 2019. Our hope is to meet six times each year. It is clear that we are becoming one community.

We are thankful for our leadership, Associate Lisa Shea and Sister Virginia Searing. They work with a group of volunteers from both countries. We have discovered the ability to provide simultaneous translations which not only provides efficiency of time but creates an atmosphere of one conversation.

At this second session, participants discussed the effect the pandemic is having on our spirituality and our hopes and dreams as we move forward in a changed world. Many stated that the slower world allowed for greater meditation and reflection time. But all were also affected by the death of relatives or friends, the additional health fears now present in our world and the knowledge of so much suffering.

Associate Dr. Jose Miguel Vasquez Yaxon talked to us of the fears and pain being experienced in Guatemala but of the very meaningful service the various Sister of Charity ministries were performing. Those in the States expressed sadness at the inability to visit between members, especially those in retirement and nursing homes. All expressed joy at the new technology we have been forced to learn and the ability to “zoom” ourselves around the world.

One participant, Sr. Charlotte Raftery, quickly sent her note of gratitude: “The energizing I experienced in our gathering is truly life giving. The organization, communication, new advantage of translation, and all the other important communication features is deeply appreciated. There is something really unique to be able to pray together about the questions in each of our hearts. Our small group expressed strongly the mutual giftedness among us.”

Our One Community Group is enjoying new friendships and a much greater understanding of our ministries of service. These days are not easy, in either country, but through our One Community Group we can sustain each other as we minister to help others.

by Bill Hurley, Associate