Creation, Diversity, and Religious Life

The autumn colours are a rich reminder of the gifts of creation, the changing of seasons, and a time of thanksgiving.  I have been blessed these past few weeks to experience this season in two radically different places, Arizona and Toronto. What fascinated me most is how creation adapts to diversity, this tree, the Palo Verde, found in the desert adapts to its context by facilitating photosynthesis in its bark, green due to the chlorophyll that helps it hold water and sugar in the absence of large leaves.  While hardly autumn weather as we would know it in Canada, the cooler evenings certainly provided a relief to the heat of the day.  

By contrast the cooler autumn weather in Toronto brought the start of the fall colours to the landscape around the city.  In the midst of urban life, skyscrapers, and traffic, you don’t need to look far to find a shot of colour to remind you of the change of season, the coming winter, and miracle of photosynthesis displayed in the brilliant red and gold leaves. 

This diversity displayed in creation is a great metaphor for the times in which we live Religious Life.  The elements of our way of life are the same, rooted in our Baptismal Call, led the Spirit of the Risen Christ, and facilitated through our vows, in the context of  community.   The diversity of our world means that we need to adapt to the contexts in which we find ourselves, fewer in number, less visibility, and a more urgent call to be prophetic voices.

This fall also marks a new term for me on my congregation Leadership Team.  Four of us were re-elected and given the gift of time (up to 6 weeks) for some renewal and rest.  I am grateful to use some of that time to be with with family in Toronto, especially my Mom, to celebrate Thanksgiving.  

I also plan to spend some time in retreat, and creating opportunities to discover the movement of the Spirit and the ways in which we are called to live out the Charism of Religious Life in particular, and my own congregation’s Charism specifically.  I am grateful to each of you as we continue to journey together in support and solidarity as we strive to make life giving choices in our personal lives, our communities, and our ministries. 

Written by:  Sr. Joanne O’Regan, CSM – Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish

We, Sisters of St. Martha, inspired by God’s graciousness, hear, embrace and respond to the cry for Gospel Hospitality. (Mission Statement, Chapter 2004)

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