This Special Issue of Collaboration highlights our wonderful Providence Event, June 15-17, 2018 in Allison Park, PA. The Sisters of Divine Providence welcomed us to their lovely campus and particularly to Kearns Spirituality Center where the conference was held.
Over 100 attendees enjoyed the presentations by our keynote speaker, Megan McKenna. She helped us all explore the message of peace in an intercultural world through contemporary stories, Scripture passages and even some personal anecdotal stories of her own. Certainly, her presentations were entertaining and challenging. Our table conversations connected us, united us and brought us together in deeper communion.
Beautiful rituals to begin each day of the conference gathered us in solitude, contemplation, and some very challenging readings! PowerPoint slides showed women of providence in action through the various ministries of our member congregations. Our very own Providence musicians and dancers added to the ritual celebrations throughout the conference time.
The room was filled with energy Friday morning as participants, Sisters and Associates, met old friends from previous Events and made new ones as well. We always have returning participants but this year we had several new attendees for the first time!
Some of our congregational members from diverse cultures were part of a panel presentation on Saturday in which they shared their stories of coming to the United States and entering an American culture and religious community. Hearing their stories was deeply touching for us as listeners.
We honored Bishop Tom Gumbleton on Saturday evening with a Providence award for all his years of peace and justice ministry in the Church. Bishop Gumbleton also spoke on Saturday morning and had a very powerful presentation on how we must hear the Gospel and act on it—to be witnesses to the truth and to work for peace, justice, and nonviolence in our world.
There were many comments on the evaluations and I will just share some of them here to give you a “flavor” of how great the Providence Event was.
“It was an amazing conference; hospitality palpable; music beautiful, rituals meaningful—gave the Spirit room to work within us; process, flow and timing of the days wonderful; food out of this world; so well organized; speakers depth of knowledge and experience evident throughout—both were challenging; I leave here a changed person; the Event’s presentations left me much to ponder; the wine and cheese evening—replete with intercultural décor and ambiance was the very best I ever attended; a phenomenal three days—spiritually challenging and fulfilling; authentic in the sense of being proactive with Gospel focus; Sunday’s shared homily and reflection was such a gift.”
The Spirit indeed was hovering over Kearns Spirituality Center that weekend! Thanks to my Core Team for all their help and to all of you for attending! Shalom!
Read the Special Issue of Collaboration.