This issue of Occasional Papers explores the period in religious life as one rich with potential for deep transformation. Although one could interpret the difficult changes being experienced within religious institutes today as a sign that this way of life is dying, these deep changes may also be seen as a way of preparing religious congregations for significant transformation.
The articles in this issue provide assistance to religious with effectively navigating this period marked by large amounts of loss, relinquishment, and death. Such losses can become obstacles to the ability to re-imagine religious life for these times and the times ahead.
This issue offers articles that explore the need for personal and communal grieving and the essential role healthy grieving plays to free us for the creative work of moving religious life forward with hope and imagination. Other articles assist us in placing the losses we experience in a larger theological context by examining understandings of communion and the oneness that exists among those living and among those who have passed on from this life. What might this invitation to live intentionally in communion mean for those in religious life today?
- The Evolutionary Task Now: To Raise the Powers of Love Upward
Liz Sweeney, SSJ offers insights into what may be the most important work of women religious for these times
- Mapping in Mystery: Communal Discernment in Our Time of Middle Space
Carole Shinnick, SSND with Nancy Schreck, OSF explores how women religious may discern future directions
- The Communion of Saints
In an interview, Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ speaks of how we may more intentionally deepen our communion with those who are deceased
- The Shadow of Death and the Dawn from on High
Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP reflects on finding meaning in the face of great communal loss
- The Gift of Grieving
Dorothy Heiderscheit, OSF writes on the role of grief in freeing space for creativity and imagination
- Transforming Loss to New Life
Susan Scholl, FSM shares how her community has worked through the grief that accompanies significant communal loss
- Wayfinding: A Pastoral Care Approach to Living in Communion
Ray Mattes, IHM shares what he has learned from years of working with religious communities planning their completion
- A Spirituality of Communion
Shawna Foley, PBVM reflects on living in communion as a younger religious life leader