Over fifty representatives of women religious attended the 2023 Communicators for Women Religious Annual Conference on 22nd April in Dublin. The first in-person conference since the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme was “Sharing the Good News with Joy!” Sr Kathleen Bryant represented the Religious Sisters of Charity (RSC) and gave an address on ‘Joy and Vulnerability: An Unlikely Marriage’.
Established in 2016, CWR Ireland was co-founded by Sr Patricia Lenihan, RSC, and Sr. Thomasina Finn, Sisters of Mercy. Formally constituted as a region of the wider Communicators for Women Religious in 2018, CWR Ireland is part of an international network of more than 200 professional communicators, representing more than 140 religious congregations throughout Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and Italy.
In Sr Kathleen’s talk at the 2023 CWR Ireland conference, she began with a word of thanks to each conference participant for their vital vocation as communicators. “Thank you for being faithful to the stories which are not always easy to tell. On behalf of women religious, I say “Thank you!” You show the world how joy trumps suffering through storytelling. You are prophetic as you mull over the signs of the times, interpreting our changing reality as you communicate to the world.”
While times may be uncertain and the path forward is unclear, she continued, “we can choose to embrace our vulnerability, …and, together, give birth to a new way of being.” As communicators, we can bring hope through the stories we tell, ensuring we reflect so that we can respond with integrity.
Among other metaphors, Kathleen utilised the metaphor of Mary of Magdala as an icon of communication. “Her vulnerability, a cavern of struggle and darkness gave way to her deep reservoir of joy. The Church calls her, “The Apostle to the Apostle”, as she is indeed the First Communicator of the Good News. (…) To communicate is to reverence our personal vulnerability and liabilities trusting that it deepens our capacity for freedom and joy.”
Other speakers on the day included Ken Gibson, The Leprosy Mission Ireland. Ken discussed ‘Sharing Good News with Joy and Purpose’ and the importance of striving for Joy that lasts over happiness that fades away. He ended his speech with a quote from Picasso, “The meaning of your life is to
find your gift and the purpose is to give it away.” Following the morning sessions, delegates attended a variety of workshops throughout the afternoon on ‘Podcasting, Blogging and Communications during Challenging Times’.
Further information on Communicators for Women Religious can be found here.