Our sisters from Venezuela: Bernadette Morgan, Franca Ahumibe and Teresa Madeleine Fitzsimons flew up to join us at the Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort along with Mairead ni Chuirc and our guest presenters, Una O’Neill and Elizabeth Dodds for a memorable weekend.
Having learned from our Australia rsc’s about respect for the traditional landowners, Marsha opened the gathering by naming the Juaneño and Gabrielino peoples who first inhabited the land we were meeting on! Marsha then presented our two presenters with a Native American prayer feather and talking stick and explained the symbolism. We grew in a deeper understanding of our charism and spirituality through the insightful presentations of Una and Liz.. We began with an opening ritual beautifully danced by Michelle Hetherington and the clearing of the space, creating sacred ground. In an effort to be “green”, we used music, projected images, and used gestures and rituals in lieu of paper. We remembered the saying of Mary Aikenhead for each day which was “spot on”!
No sister will ever forget the profoundly moving dance that Eva Bryan shared as part of our closing ritual. Eva blessed each sister holding the photo of Mary Aikenhead to the mantric music of Jennifer Berezan’s “She Who Hears the Cry of the World.” You can view a video segment of her dance on our Video page.
Joyce Cottage, a former RSC, shared with us her integration of the charism. Joyce began with a story of being in First Grade at St. Columban’s School. She fell out of her desk and in her own words she remembers something “swooped me up off of the floor and just held me. I didn’t know what it was! But it was big, and it was black and the only thing I could see were face and hands and I felt so completely safe. And in this 6 year old mind and heart, I knew it was God!” It was God in the form of Sr. Francis Oliver RSC and that day she sealed my fate.” My mission was to be always to take care of the ones smaller than you. Ever since then, Joyce has looked out for the little ones who need lifting up! Again, you can listen to her moving presentation on our Video page.
All the sisters in the region were grateful for the presentations, the rituals and the time to just be and socialize together. We celebrated Liturgy together Saturday night with Msgr. Wilbur Davis, an old friend, as presider. We extend a thank you to the General Leadership Team and to both Una and Liz for gifting us with this opportunity to be together and to grow in the spirit of Mary Aikenhead and the “magis”.