Chapter Table 2

Contemplative Dialogue

Our Evolving Experience Of What Is Essential

Chapter Table 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

Essential Conversations for Chapter 2020 as expressed in Chapter Circle #6
Chapter Table 2 Guide

Guide — Chapter Table 2

Quotes -- Joan Chittister, OSB and Sandra Schneiders, IHM

From our conversation what do we want to share with our sisters?

Chapter Table Responses

Chapter Table 1

Because we see ourselves as called to be a prophetic presence in the world, we want to better understand how all the issues of our time are interconnected because they are a result of the same underlying cause.  We would need to commit to ongoing prayer, contemplative dialogue and study of the nature of earth in order to grow in our spiritual grounding and awareness.   That would require great risk in service of the oneness that we espouse because we would expect to notice differing perspectives  (diversity)  as not divisive but enriching.  We would be motivated  by our desire to bring reconciliation to the fractured relationships in our world.

Chapter Table 2

The one conversation that will help our table members be most faithful to who we are as Sisters of Charity is the issue of presence – a deep, supportive, prayerful and understanding presence.  In speaking of presence we are aware of the need to be present to members of our congregation and to truly listen to them.  We see the need to be present to the issues impacting our world today  – poverty, racism, climate collapse – and to respond to them utilizing the gifts God has given to us.

Chapter Table 3

The readings and questions provided led us to a passionate and profound conversation. What conversion needs to take place in me and in the congregation so that we are not complacent or compliant in the face of the injustices we see around us?  What do we need to be agents of hope and move fearlessly into tomorrow?

Chapter Table 4

As we approach chapter, we feel the call to look at our white privilege (the dominant worldview or paradigm) from the viewpoint of our spirit of simplicity, humility and charity.  Despite our limitations, we want to move forward in service, to be seeds of transformation in our world,  recognizing the spark of Divinity in all of reality.  Our lives matter!  Our charism or energy of love moves us to create ‘good trouble’, recognizing that our actions, big or small are all interconnected and contribute to the positive energy of our evolving universe.  

Chapter Table 5

In the context of our world situation, our Congregational reality and our Mission as Sisters and Associates we are challenged to:

            Rekindling our Purpose

            Re-energizing ways of being and walking with God’s people.

            Widening and deepening our understanding of shared leadership

We want to explore this in a Contemplative process and with courage, humility and vulnerability.


Chapter Table 6

We would like to talk about our future together as Sisters of Charity and how we might engage with the emerging needs of the 21st Century.

Chapter Table 7

NOW: Together, we recognize that Prayer grounds, encourages, challenges and changes us.                

So we ask:  How do we respond to “what the world is asking of us, both today and into the future?”

Chapter Table 8

How do we collectively view the mission and ministry today and into the future?  Since Vatican II we have been faithful to our chapter calls to address the needs of the world and have made changes to our way of life to do that.  The present needs of the world continue to call us to ponder how we can address climate change, injustice, racism, and reconciliation among peoples, all of which seem to be interconnected.  Are we willing to look at how we perpetuate these wrongs in our world today?  How are we being called to live in right relationship as we address these needs?

Chapter Table 9

We stand in the Fire of Charity, “God our Eternal Flame” pondering what is essential and deserves our attention as we come together for these days of Chapter.

Our Mission is of fire, of love for God, all humanity and all creatures; to make God manifest in simple and ordinary ways, however and wherever we find ourselves. Our ministries, ways of serving will change but our Mission of Charity will live and breathe for as long as we do and beyond us.

Chapter Table 10

 Our new lived reality (pandemic, racism, climate change, aging) calls us in mission to be the love of God made visible in our wounded world.  Our evolving image of God helps us to see our world through the lens of wholeness and communion.  It is a spiritual lens that recognizes that every piece is critical to the whole.  How do we share and live out of this way of seeing and being?  Why will it make a difference?  Our charism of charity impels us to move forward with energy and hope.

Chapter Table 11

We of Table 11 believe that the essential conversation we need to have at chapter is about deepening our sense of interconnectedness.

It is the hub of the wheel, the center of the web, that encompasses all the other concerns we have, individually and corporately: prayer and caring for one another, our financial security, racism awareness, care for creation, trafficking, and all the “doing” that we undertake.

Chapter Table 12

We want to have an essential chapter conversation about the weight of our white privilege: we want to act on the truth that people on the margins are speaking and bring their voices and experience to the center. This conversation will necessarily and simultaneously explore the spiritual roots that fuel racism, casteism, and white privilege.

May the fruits of the Spirit continue to ripen among us!

Chapter Table 13

How will we respond to our present/”new” reality? In lifestyle decisions, in evolving in faith, in simple kindness and outreach where we are and as we are able…
How are we being called to be the love of God made visible in this reality?

Chapter Table 14

Acknowledging our own woundedness, and assuming that we are complicit in the suffering of the world and want to be part of the healing and restoration that are needed at this time –

         What transformation do we want the Spirit to effect in us in the next 6 years?

         What is required of us in order for this to happen?

Chapter Table 15

A Question

We began our conversation with a question. We were curious about the comment that we did not want an “issues-oriented Chapter”.  This was especially puzzling in light of the 17 issues listed in the compilation of essential conversations named in Circle #6. We resonated with many of these issues which may be important for further exploration at Chapter.

Essential Conversations for Chapter 2020

In considering essential conversations for Chapter 2020, it is important to name the fact that we are coming to completion as a congregation.  This is a framework for all other conversations and is necessary in order to ensure congregational ownership of the fact.  Past and present leadership teams have taken steps to provide a smooth transition and the congregation will need to support the next leadership team as it continues to take steps in this direction. Shared leadership is essential as five elected leaders can’t do this on their own.

While the congregation is coming to completion, we are convinced that we want to continue to live our charism faithfully until we die.  This implies recognition that issues are interconnected, attention to right relationships, reconciliation, spiritual practices and taking practical steps “in light of the realities and changing situations we will continue to face.”

Chapter Table 16

Chapter Table 17

From our table sharing, we believe that our essential Chapter conversations need to be focused on exploring together the issues of racism and climate change.  We also see as essential our renewed commitment to care for one another as expressed with a deepening intentionality – caring for one another as sisters together on mission – inspired anew to stand in the fire of Charity – together!