In this blog I am sharing with all of you excerpts from a letter we received from our Congregational Leader, Sr. Maria Fest, for the feast of Holy Trinity. It is also the day our Congregational Chapter will begin and so I am also asking you for prayers for our community. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide all our Chapter deliberations so that we may walk boldly and courageously into the future.
Dear Sisters and Associates,
On June 12, 2022, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Trinity and the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence throughout the world celebrates “Providence Sunday” as well. This international celebration for us is a day that invites us to remember and give thanks for the gift of our charism of Providence. We, who are Sisters and Associates (Family, Friends or Companions) of Divine Providence, recommit ourselves to making God’s presence and love a more experienced reality in our world. We believe, from our Constitutions, Article 33:
“…we have a special role in creating among God’s people that community of love that has its origin in the Trinity. We try to understand the people of our time and their way of life and to enter into their hopes and anxieties… Remembering all that has been given to us by our Provident God, we cultivate a spirit of genuine Christian hospitality.
The sense of community can lead us into the relationship between Trinity and Providence and why we celebrate our Feast of Divine Providence on Trinity Sunday. The late Sister Barbara Doherty, a Providence Sister from St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana, stated that “the Trinity is the celebration of the extraordinary, powerful love permeating the Universe bringing everyone in the Universe together into right relationship with everything else, God’s eternal loving design. Our actions as women and men of Providence are meant to make the Presence of God more understandable.”
In a presentation given at LCWR by Sister Constance FitzGerald, OCD, I was impressed by what she said leading me to a deeper understanding of the Trinity and Providence. She said that relativity, mutuality, interconnectedness, communion and union with God are the facets of contemplative prayer that are needed today. She saw that that we have spent many years interpreting the darkness and liminality, analyzing and understanding the transitions, grieving over the losses – in our personal lives, in the lives of our communities and in society, politics and culture. She admits that while grieving is not over, now is the time to live into and decidedly influence, a new evolutionary stage of consciousness – communion – in every fiber of our beings. Sr. Constance further reflected on moving deeper into a new consciousness. We have all experienced “the Dark Night of the Soul” where we were grasped by God and transformed, having familiar boundaries of our souls stretched, so that we could become more capable of holding the full relational life of Jesus Christ. All our life experiences, whether they be conflicts, misunderstandings, losses, dying to ourselves or more positive experiences of Christ in prayer, ministry and relationships, inform who we are today – our becoming Christ, his identity, his knowing and loving becoming ours. It means being drawn into mutual dynamic relationships, the communion that constitutes Trinitarian Life. Like Jesus the Christ, we will know Abba, Source of life, as Jesus knows Abba and be influenced by the Holy Spirit in the way Jesus experiences being with the Spirit’s persuasive influence, being united with every human person, every living creature, the earth itself, the cosmos, precisely because we are webbed into this Trinitarian dance of life and communion.
In contemporary times there is a new study of the nature of being, with an emphasis on the interconnectedness and interdependence of everything in the cosmos. Evolutionary and cosmological developments in science reveal deep patterns of interconnectedness and relationality in the universe. These findings are influencing philosophers and theologians and contributing to the understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence within the universe. It is the Triune God who carried out the plan for creation. We know that creation did not spring forth from the hands of the Creator complete. The universe was created in a “state of journeying” toward ultimate perfection still to be attained. Creation is the work of the Triune God; divine providence is how God carries out the plan in creation.
John F. Haught. in his book, Resting on the Future: Catholic Theology for an unfinished Universe, says the following about divine providence and creation. “…we may speak in biblical ways of divine providential care as operating in the mode of promise. God’s providential activity is, before all else, that of providing a vision (a dream?) of how the world may become new, of keeping space open for life and human freedom and of inviting conscious and free beings to awaken to a life of patient hope and active contributions to the fulfillment of all things.”
Our charism of Providence is so needed in our universe today, the degrading condition of our earth home, the increasing extinction of species, the natural disasters affecting so many places and its peoples: those who are poor, starving, suffering, displaced, migrants, people who are violated, who are victims of unprovoked wars – all give evidence that there is a need for our providence charism today.
In her LCWR talk, Sr. Constance extended a compelling invitation to women religious to be Prophets of Communion – to deepen communion with consciousness of Christ and his relational identity in the Trinity – in service to a suffering world, and to extend transforming love and relationality into the universe. Can this also be an invitation to us, Sisters and Associates of Divine providence? Can we participate in the dream of making the universe new? Can we accept the invitation to be Prophets of Communion, and bring the peoples of the world, our brothers and sisters, together? As we celebrate the feasts of the Holy Trinity and Divine Providence this year, may we be so inspired as Providence people to be in right relationship with all of creation and with all peoples of the world. May we find ways to instill transforming love, and relationality into the universe.
May each of you experience the joy and love of the Trinity in your life and relationships and be Prophets of Communion extending that providential love in your corner of our world.
Barbara McMullen, CDP