OK, so that’s a little “nunspeak”…let me explain. Every so many years, in our case, five, members of Roman Catholic religious orders get together to set future directions and elect a leadership team. This gathering, called “Chapter,” is the highest authority in the congregation. Ours is coming next summer, so we are in a Chapter preparation mode as the time gets closer. This means several trips to Baden over the next several months – just got back from a meeting this past weekend.
I wanted to share a spiritual practice that is a part of the CSJ (Sisters of St. Joseph) heritage, one that we were engaged in for almost the entire meeting. It’s called sharing the State of the Heart, and the Order of the House. Basically, sharing the state of the heart means that each sister shares what is in her heart with a small group of others. It’s like faith-sharing, but in many cases, at a much deeper level. We see it as kind of a prerequisite for moving forward together, as we cannot do that together if we don’t know what is in each others’ hearts. And then, when we examine the order of the house, we take a loving and honest look at who we are as a group, a community, a congregation, and share with each other our hopes and concerns.
It is out of this kind of prayerful practice that we have begun to surface questions that we may choose to deal with as we move towards and through our Chapter. I found myself wondering if it might not be more authentic for us at this time to end Chapter with one or two “big questions” to explore rather than a list of action strategies or initiatives. (That sure doesn’t sound like an engineer…)