As individuals and as a group you have experienced woundedness, vulnerability, limitation, fragility: in your own lives, physically or emotionally, in your life stories, in your own capacities. (...) All of you have touched the pain and woundedness in our world - in your own country, in the people whose realities you came to know in your international experience, in the events which mark our global community.
You know with certainty that more important than the woundedness is how we respond to it. At times we cover over, deny, resist or reject vulnerability, because we are ashamed or afraid, because it is too overwhelming or demanding. As Religious of the Sacred Heart you have responded to this fragility with the heart of Jesus.You have trusted God who says again and again, "Do not be afraid, I am with you," and you have accepted God's invitation to walk into this woundedness, allowing God to reveal it to you, letting God accompany you. You have united yourself with Jesus' wounded heart, and been open to what God wants to reveal to you there.
Here your own experience reflects that of the recent General Chapter which says, We welcomed our vulnerability and fragility with reverence in an atmosphere of mutual listening, confidence and joy... (p. 15).
We welcomed our vulnerability and fragility with reverence...Yes, you have come to welcome vulnerability, with a reverence that believes that fragility may be a place of revelation, a reverence that cares for and wants to nurture that which is still fragile.
In an atmosphere of mutual listening and confidence... In mutual listening you have accompanied one another in times of joy and pain, weaving a sense of bonding and confidence which has let you know that you are not alone, that you are part of a larger body of sisters who are trying to live the same dream.You have listened to the woundedness of the world, asking to hear the depth and meaning of its cries.And in a relationship of mutual trust you have listened to God, asking to know what God wants to show you in this fragility.
Then in the chapter document comes the word JOY.We welcomed our vulnerability and fragility ... with joy. Surely God's logic is not our logic!You too have discovered this joy: joy in being invited into quiet intimacy with Jesus as he let you know his own vulnerability and powerlessness; joy in uncovering a new part of yourself previously hidden to your eyes; joy in realizing that you do not need to be someone else before God; joy as God's hand holds your heart in gentle, healing love.
With the Chapter delegates, you are convinced of the fact that from fragility new life emerges... (p. 24). Here, we are at the heart of our charism, the particular aspect of God's love and life which Sophie was given to know and which you too have experienced - that new life emerg es from fragility, that from Jesus' wounded heart flow life-giving blood and water.
The blood which flows out from Jesus' side is a symbol of God's faithfulness not simply to the original covenant, to your original understanding of your vocation, but to a continuing covenant with you which has been renewed during your retreat and will be sealed anew at your profession. This covenant now engages new dimensions of yourself and new capacities for love with which you offer yourself more fully to God's project for our world.
The waters of new life have been flowing plentifully in these days.You celebrate new parts of yourself which are alive and free, new colors in your life which expand who you are and how you live. You celebrate because life is indeed precious, because death is no longer death, but love poured out for the life of the world. There is in you new energy and commitment to living these waters of life with grace and generosity.
Kathleen Conan, RSCJ
Conference 29 January 2009