'Keeping the Sabbath' Weekend
On Aug. 15, 2003, over 35 Sisters of St. Joseph gathered in North Bay, ON for the bi-annual SAIL weekend (Sojourners in Active and Inclusive Love). Our theme for this week-end was: "The Sabbath: Gratitude, Rest, Awe." Sister Mechtilde O'Mara CSJ from the Toronto community was our keynote speaker. The timing was appropriate: this event took place on the "black out" weekend.
On Saturday and Sunday, Sr. Mechtilde spoke elegantly and passionately about Sabbath. She began by explaining how for the Jewish people, Sabbath rest was for the people. They were encouraged to never go farther than they could walk. They were also encouraged to make sure no one who worked for them had a life of unending drudgery.
Holiday means 'Holy Day.' Servile work was any works that serves another purpose. Sabbath was to be a time to celebrate God's love for us, a time to be grateful for all of creations, a time for joy, prayer, worship, special meals, a time to rest and take delight in the present, a time to remember that we are more than workers or hired hands. We are lovers called to be mystics. Finally Mechtilde challenged us to make the choices necessary to live Sabbath, to celebrate each week the new creation, a little Easter.
Our closing ritual on Monday morning was especially beautiful. Sr. Jane Wilcox (see picture) danced to "The Canticle of the Sun" and inspired us with her lightness and creativity in the dance. Our prayer was focused on God the Artist who shapes us in beauty, and we prayed to be given the power to treasure and tend the beautiful garden of creation, which we are.
As Sr. Jacqui de Verteuil CSJ summed it up so beautifully:
"We came as we were. That's how God wants us,
As CSJ's together we felt right at home.
We shared with each other the fruits of our reflections,
We leave as we are, enriched by our own."