The following reflection was offered by Sr. Mary Mc Cormick at the Transfer of Leadership.
What we need today is not a map but a doorway.
A doorway that opens into our preferred future, discerned by us, chosen by us, shaped and molded by us, by who and what we are, what we have become, in this time of Charity Rising.
A doorway, blown open by the wind of God’s spirit, that leads us along the trail of transformation we pledged to walk together during Assembly 2019.
With the poet Mary Oliver we say, “No, we’ve never been to this country before. No, we don’t know where the roads will lead us. No, we don’t intend to turn back.”
Time runs differently here. We experience the mystery of the presence and prayers of the generations from the past and the yet-to-be, affirming and supporting us.
It is a kairos moment: a time when God’s Spirit will re-create in us new flights of energy, new soarings, new travels into the known and unknown.
And so today we gather here, Sisters, Associates, Companions, family and friends, and colleagues, to thank those who have served as leadership for the past four years. They accomplished in that short space of time, and against great odds, all that had been asked of them, and more. Much more: the unexpected, unsought- after situations demanding often immediate, sometimes painful—but always life-affirming responses. They did it all with grace, courage, and compassion.
We thank our God for them and rejoice in the way they continually helped to promote the Good News of the gospel of Charity from their very first day.
And we celebrate with joy the installation of our newly elected leaders, grateful for their willingness to take on the work of the next four years.
You are the ones called to navigate this new time of charity rising.
May you learn to value the things that really matter; may you be rich in the harvest of justice Jesus Christ has ripened for you.
And may you ask one another, may you ask us—are we, together, ready to respond to the challenges that lie ahead?
Challenges that urge us:
- To appreciate the wisdom we have garnered from our past, to learn new lessons from old experiences, to be grateful again for all that has been, for all the turns our life in community has taken.
- To be present to the NOW moment unfolding before us and receive gratefully its gifts. To take seriously the call to name and make real the bold choices of how we want to move forward.
- To deepen our relationships as we listen—really listen—to one another’s stories and share them, share our moments of light and shadow, our hopes and our purpose.
- And finally, the challenge to trust in the providence that continually calls us forth to a fresh and unexpected future…alive with possibility and the promise of Charity Rising anew.
Our holy founders journeyed with us during our time of Assembly this year. Let them have the last words to us today:
Elizabeth Seton reminds us that now is time to go out and meet our grace.
Vincent urges us daily to ask the question: what must be done?
Louise wants us to make our own her mantra: it is the charity of Christ crucified that urges us onward, that leaves us no option.
And Elizabeth Boyle reveals her Vincentian heart to us as she declares, “We are the children of saints…. Love one another, love those entrusted to your care. Everything depends on your love.”
No, we’ve never been to this country before. No, we don’t know where the roads will lead us.
No, we don’t intend to turn back.