Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CSJA Memorial Day of Reflection 2016

The CSJA Memorial Day of Reflection “Learning to Sing Alleluia with Broken Hearts: Feminist and Womanist explorations of Struggle and Grace” was held on November 12, 2016 at Medaille Hall Baden PA with Dr. Elisabeth Vasko, an Associate Professor of Theology of Duquesne University as the presenter in the morning. During this retreat day, Dr. Vasko read three examples of brokenness in our community and used them to explore the patterns of thought and bodily habits involved in them in order for us to "reclaim the future together".

The audience were also invited  to explore in the midst of brokenness the questions: What does it mean to love God? To love one’s self? To love one’s neighbor?

Here is the wonderful and powerful handout prepared by Dr. Vasko as our guide in answering the challenging question: "Do you like yourself?",  like being harder than love according to her. She also pointed out that we cannot like others if we do not like ourselves.  Please do take the time to do the highly effective exercise.

Here is the handout which Dr. Vasko prepared as the guidelines for discussion and questions the group had to answer after the reflection time.

After lunch, the afternoon session featured the memorial day ritual where we prayed for the associates and sisters who have journeyed with them.  This was presided by Monica Maghrak who chaired the Memorial Day of recollection.  The associates were asked to place a white rose as the name of the associates and sisters was mentioned.  She chose white since it signifies among other things the convergence of heaven and earth during death as a Peruvian saying states. Monica further said, it is hard not to believe in the afterlife if you witness death or somebody dying first hand.  

We were then given a piece of paper which we were asked to shred according to how we wished to as a symbol of our brokenness. These torn pieces were then collected in a basket and offered at the altar in the chapel together with the thirty white roses in the large vase.  A beautiful, moving and touching ceremony.

We went home with a lot of hope that even though we are all Humpty Dumptys, broken after the fall, we can be still made whole. We can still sing Alleluia, as Dr.Vasko said, through our brokenness since life is a journey with Him up there helping us through.

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