Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time of blessing, time of mystery

Our Spring Assembly was a blessed, full and mysterious time. Blessed in the presence of each of us for Fr. Terry Moran's powerful linking of the creation story and spirit with our Christian, Catholic and CSJP story. It's a perspective that makes all things new, knocks a few openings in our vision, and shows us new possibilities. I know, this doesn't explain much: but some slides Terry used will be uploaded to our CSJP website, and that might give you the idea.

Terry, by the way, is a CSJP Associate, and our Associates contributed enormously to the fullness of this weekend, as did our Jubilarians. On Saturday, we had the traditional Jubilee dinner, honoring Sisters Johanna Vogelsang and Ellen Caldwell for their 75 years in religious life; Sister Zitamarie Poelzer, 70 years; Sisters Ede Reif and Mildred Morrissey, 60 years; and Sisters Judy Tralnes and Andrea Nenzel, 50 years, and we sang and danced and partied joyfully, Sister Johanna happily watching the dancing until what was for her a very late hour.

This morning, Sister Johanna died peacefully in her sleep, having been toasted and honored the night before. At 97, she was more than ready to go to God, and she chose her time beautifully and mysteriously. We all gathered in her room to say prayers of farewell and blessing this morning, and there's no doubt that she has been blessing us all day. I felt Johanna's presence in the chapel this afternoon as Jen Cowan made her first covenant as an Associate, Sue Nies and Annie Welch made lifetime covenants as Associates, and seven Associates renewed their commitments. I wasn't the only one to come away from the chapel with a profound sense of having been blessed.

Johanna was one of the first CSJPs I met; she was on the Wilderness Retreat that turned me into a Catholic, in her middle 70s then, still adventurous after years of teaching and administration, clear, upright, living out of her truth, a holy woman. Now she lives in God's light.

Photos: Sr. Johanna; Susan Dewitt and Susan Francois; Jen Cowan and her foster son Michael.

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