Bearers of Tradition
Betty Lou Knox CSJ shares her experience at a gathering of religious Sisters from all around the world.
This year’s month-long program for all congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph, hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia, Kansas, was attended by 28 Sisters. Three Sisters were from India, one of whom is on the Chambery Council in Rome, another a councillor in Lyons and the third belongs to the province of Lyons and lives in India. Argentina and Canada each had one representative. We gathered on June 27.
Presenters included Bette Moslander and Marcia Allen (Concordia) as well as Patricia Byrne (Baden), Anne Hennessey (Orange) and Barbara Baer (Witchita). The gifts, talents and historical expertise of these women drew us back in time to our foundation years as we learned the culture, social setting and political situation of 17th century France. We heard anew the writings of Jean Pierre Medaille and participated in experiences meant to deepen our understanding of the unique spirituality and charism of the Congregation of the Great Love of God that we have inherited.
All our activities — educational sessions, periods of prayer and reflection, weekly sharing of the heart, times spent in household chores, laughter, swimming and trips on free days — led to a deep understanding that we all belong to the one Joseph. It was a moving experience to listen to our communal and personal histories that are being lived around the globe. In a talk I gave, I told the Sisters about our history in Canada (see photo above).
I was deeply impressed by the work being done by two Sisters of Concordia. For several years they have done research on the history and survival of religious Sisters who lived behind the Iron Curtain. They are preparing a documentary that will appear on public broadcasting in the United States early in 2008. This documentary will honour the contribution made by Sisters in the “underground church” which existed in Eastern Europe during the years of Communist rule.
By Betty Lou Knox CSJ