Chapter Circle 2

Contemplative Dialogue

Our Evolving Experience of Mission

Chapter Circle 2


Contemplative Dialogue

Contemplative dialogue is a practice that engages us in seeing not only the whole but also seeing from the whole. It is the recognition of our interdependence and engages us in the good and sometimes hard work of opening ourselves to other ways of seeing than our usual patterns allow. 

Download a copy of the Contemplative Dialogue explained

Chapter Circle 2 Guide
Video -- Amazon Rainforest Fires - Avoid This Trap

In this 13 minute video, Eisenstein shows a way to approach seismic shifts.

Song -- So Great a Love -- Carolyn McDade
 Where have to we felt
 the movement of the Spirit of God within ourselves and within the group as a whole? 

Based on this conversation, what would we say is emerging at this time?

Chapter Circle 2 Responses

Chapter Circle 1

As individuals and as a group of SC’s we are more aware now of our world and our privilege within it.  We are also more aware of our deeper interconnection and that our charism is still a powerful gift to offer. We notice and need a growing in trust in each other and in the “Larger Intelligence” at work to deepen our understanding of life;  love is the energy. Faith and compassion—the basics are more relevant than ever.  We appreciate that the song’s question, “What do we do with so great a love?” is not simplistic.  We will do what our diverse GIFTS, individually and corporately will tell us to even as we struggle with who WE are knowing that what unites us is prayer/contemplation.

Chapter Circle 2

Our Circle feels that the Spirit of God is moving us to appreciate our charism of giving joyful witness to love and inviting us to draw upon this gift to make a positive response to the people and events that impact our lives.  We need to acknowledge that change is constant and we are called to be open to change.  The seismic shifts we are experiencing can be overwhelming.  It is awareness, openness, faith, prayer and trust in God that can lead us to know how to respond with Love.  We believe that our thoughts, prayers and actions – big or small – have power to substantially change our world. We are grateful for our charism and for one another.

Chapter Circle 3

Our circle recognized and affirmed the growing awareness among us that “we are not alone”.  We are gifted with the presence and support of each other as we explore the seismic shifts which affect us individually and as a world community.  We spoke of the power of positive energy.  Through a change of heart from anger and despair to one of love and peace an impact for good can be made in our world, because we are one. Whether it is “sending positive energy”, “breathing the Spirit over our world”, engaging in intercessory prayer we can make a difference in an environment that can easily be overwhelmed by the negativity around us. 

Chapter Circle 4

Issues today, like the Amazon Rain forest, can seem so overwhelming and lead to a sense of powerlessness. Yet, the gift so needed today is that of kindness – in great and small ways – that we can each do, in a counter-cultural way.

Chapter Circle 5

The underlying theme and challenge we heard in our sharing is “consciousness”. How aware are we of the deeper connection of all things? These seismic shifts all share the same roots and causes. They are interconnected to a lack of human development and respect; to not seeing what is really there, what is real. These shifts call for a true awareness of this reality shown in genuine respect for the other in every realm.  
We already take responsibility day by day as we live our lives, in small and big ways to address the crying needs from these shifts. The call is to see this as our Mission as Sisters of Charity, to serve in love all the margins of life, directly and in other supportive ways. We challenge ourselves to embrace the silent gaps of this growing consciousness in prayer and listening. The invitation is to be powerful agents of transformation wherever and however we are.
In light of our growing consciousness of the oneness of all things, we want to take our roles as elders, to share our wisdom, experience and our voices with all those in our lives; to engage others in the Mission of Charity, a mission of awareness, love and service.
The truest response we can offer is “What is mine to do? What is ours to do?”

Chapter Circle 6

Contemplation gives us the eyes to see what needs to be done right in front of us, because it matters and the will to act in communion with others. 

Chapter Circle 7

Chapter Circle 8

We have deep connections between us that have been proven through the years and a desire and energy to continue our mission to be the love of God in the world because we have the power and influence to change things.

Chapter Circle 9

We were very conscious of the seismic shifts and there was a deep sense of feeling the weight of these shifts.  There was a desire to respond by being attentive to the needs around in concrete ways such a prayer, supporting others in our midst, helping to relieve stress and knowing that our local actions affect the larger reality.  We acknowledged our connectedness with the federation and other organizations that enable change at a larger scale.  By allowing a new consciousness we allow evolution to influence our action.  

Chapter Circle 10

We are alive and well.  There is an eagerness to be powerful agents of transformation. 

Our core mission of the gospel and love of God has not changed in light of the 4 seismic shifts.  The seismic shifts have become other lenses through which we observe that age-old mission.

Every individual act no matter how small has a cosmic resonance.

The world needs now just what we have to offer.

Chapter Circle 11

We feel that our future contribution/mission lies in promoting education, especially for people new to our cultures, in creating and encouraging collaboration and systems of networking as Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Seton did, in renewing a spirituality of wholeness.

Chapter Circle 12

We noted the interconnectedness of all four seismic shifts, and our interconnectedness with each and all of them as well.  Because of this interconnectedness, our individual attitudes either positive or negative
will have a global impact.  As Sisters of Charity today, we are called “to live in love”, to maintain positive attitudes and build right relationships wherever we find ourselves.  Through these small steps, we
hope to be a source of positive energy, making God’s love visible to all we meet.

Chapter Circle 13

Our group felt that a quote from Charles Eisenstein expressed it well.  “The enormity of the shifts stretches our minds and enhances our mission to pray expansively.” Reflecting on our past, we realize that the conversion of heart that has happened with mission and the way we live didn’t happen overnight. It has happened over time with trust,  a deep contemplative stance and a continued deepening of who we are and what we are about together. Our expression of this in small and bigger ways can create a field of change as we live now and into the future together and as we live in our world.  

Chapter Circle 14

We are grateful for the work and contemplative sharing that we are doing together.  It is helping us to broaden our thinking and to grow and change, and it is bringing positive energy to our experience of the seismic shifts.  We affirm that we are where we are intended to be–this is our mission.

Chapter Circle 15

After sharing on meaningful experiences of mission, we realized how important encounters with people are each day.  We have hearts that care and must respond.  Our virtues humility, simplicity and charity frame our response to the needs before us.  We realized that making choices for the common good move us in a positive direction. Our heart encounters lead us to our true self and  authentic expression of our charism. 

Chapter Circle 16

These global issues are more than intellectual issues; they are felt in our heart.  The Amazon and the millions of displaced persons are not just news stories; they touch us on a human level.  We feel the pain of these and other realities.
In the present moment, the sacred now, we are not digging in our heals.  Rather, we are energized  women who are on the road and share the journey.  We are aware that the little we do, both individually and collectively, makes a difference.  
We are learning to savor the moment.  The valuable and important present moment is all we have, is our time of grace.

Chapter Circle 17

Summary:  Our conversation surfaced the existence of great hope and energy, based on our connection with one another, the multitude of small actions that sisters perform in response to the seismic shifts, and the desire to remain a hopeful presence for others at this moment of history.   Here are quotes from individual responses to the above question.

  • We resonated with Eisenstein’s reference to “waves of helplessness” as we contemplate any or all of the seismic shifts.  Extending the metaphor, we picture an ocean wave coming at us, and “dive under” to emerge on the other side with hope.
  • The seismic shifts have enhanced our mission as Sisters of Charity as we respond.  Several congregational initiatives were named—water projects, response to immigrants in local areas, reflection and action on “Laudato Si” … among other responses.
  • The small actions we do {several were named} bring hope to others and help us buoy each other up.  This conviction is really what the “morphic field” is all about—a mysterious connection and energy that has power to effect change and healing.
  • The conviction that listening with our hearts and minds to God’s Spirit as Elizabeth and Vincent did, reveals that Providence will lead us now, as it led them.
  • As a congregation, we are not “sitting around” waiting to die, rather we are “living into” our completion and striving to be hopeful and share hope with others.
  • We continue to grow in our understanding of the 4 seismic shifts.  We affirm our role as educators in responding to them.
  • There are multiple ways of responding.  We don’t have to do it all.
  • The experience of the deaths of sisters, though hard, has the positive aspect of reminding us those who have gone before us are mysteriously present to encourage us.

Chapter Circle 18

Having reflected upon the enormity of the seismic shifts and their impact upon our mission as Sisters of Charity, we believe that it is very important for us to have our feet firmly planted in the reality of our world at this time.  As we continue to move forward, we do so being open to the Spirit, trusting in our journey, open to growth and learning from each other by doing our possible to give joyful witness to love.

Chapter Circle 19

With climate change and mass migration as the two seismic shifts as our points of focus, we shared how they had personally impacted our lives and mission in recent years.  Some examples follow: 

  • with climate change we see land loss in many places-  New Orleans,  Belize, Cape Cod, coastal areas to name a few; significant warming of the ocean noted in Bar Harbor, Maine;
  • migrants who work in our retirement centers carry heavy burdens of worry and anxiety for their loved ones struggling to join them in safety; inclusion of migrants are in our schools, work places and neighborhoods, where we can advocate on their behalf;

Some shared beliefs:

  • We are well served as with others we take steps to change systems in dire need of overhaul  (health care, immigration laws, affordable housing options)
  • It is key to focus on positives, and help others to do the same (i.e. see immigrants as the blessing they are; know that young people are very committed to creating a better world; realize that seemingly small actions  (signing petitions, making immigrants feel welcome) can be transformative.
  • Just as we are all connected, made of the same stardust, so are the seismic shifts all intertwined.  Overwhelmed though we may feel in the face of these realities, we are moved by Charles Eisenstein’s encouragement to keep our thoughts positive, recognizing their power, rather than giving in to anger and rage, which can be so destructive, as every act has cosmic significance.
  • The mission of SC’s in next 10 years is two-told: to care of our aging sisters while continuing our involvement in larger issues facing our planet and its people. 
  • We are blessed as Sisters of Charity to be able to gently share our hopes, challenges and dreams with like-minded people in a contemplative way.

Chapter Circle 20

Chapter Circle 21

We trust that what the world needs is exactly what we have to offer.  How life giving!
We are getting more and more comfortable with deep sharing in this group.
Our mission is to reach out to those in need within our circles through prayer, thoughts and action.  

Chapter Circle 22

Do what is before you. It contributes positively to the change in the world around us (creates morphic resonance).

Caritas Chapter Circle 1

Our mission of “joyful witness” calls us to remember the love of God resident in all things, and so to respect and appreciate what each one has to offer. We have the responsibility to become aware of the situations of tragedy in the world, and to reach out in whatever way we can, remembering that small actions matter, and each of us in her own way can be an agent of transformation. We need to believe that each act has cosmic significance.

We send a word of appreciation to the committee for their work in preparing these materials for our preparation for the Assembly.

Caritas Chapter Circle 2

We are challenged to believe that “the world needs just what we have to offer” as our Chapter prayer says. This will enable us to become “agents of hope.” Our mission is life-long; our experience of mission at the present time calls us to live joyful lives for as long as we live. Rather than grieving over the big things we (individually or corporately) may have done in the past, we are called to a new way of thinking about mission to include all the small actions that have the power to heal  and transform the world.

Wellesley Chapter Circle A

We recognize the negative effect of greed, blaming one another, the ill effects of rapid climate change and mistreatment of immigrants.  We express and desire to have a positive effect on these issues by attempting to be positive and open.

Wellesley Chapter Circle B

As we gathered we definitely felt the presence of God’s Spirit as several experienced the freedom to express painful things.  Reading  Donohue’s Poem, listening to Eisenstein’ presentation, praying the Chapter Prayer we are finding what we need to take back our power and do what we can to add our individual Love to give our world what it needs right now.  We are grateful for the opportunity to hear each other.

Associate Chapter Circle 1

We feel tender toward the earth.

We must be witnesses to great love – see it; be it; bring it.

Mission is a part of every person – in the now and where you are.

We are funnels of the Holy Spirit.

We bring the charism of charity into our lives.

We are pieces of a puzzle – a brick in a wall – without us there is a “hole”.

We are where we should be, living in the right place and time – where God wants us.

We need to find a way to make a small change – climate action – reduce carbon footprint – ex eat chicken sandwich instead of a burger; use a regular cup and wash it.

We are grateful for the technology that allows us to connect internationally being in many places and meet together.

Associate Chapter Circle 2