Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wonderful Spirituality Forum at Stone Ridge
It is good to be back and I will try to share a bit of what the four day Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum for a Globalized World has meant to me. It was held at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland and about 270 participated; the make up was about a third Associates, a third Administrators and Educators from our 21 Sacred Heart Network Schools, and a third RSCJs. I was glad to see many participating from other countries, too.
The picture above is to the entrance of Hamilton House, the original house that was there when we bought the Hamilton estate and moved to the 35 acres in 1947, I think. The building has been added on to and built all down the hill so Hamilton house was really the fifth floor where we had some breakout groups but the morning talks were always in Good Hall on the first floor; meals were on the fourth floor and the elevator broke down on the first morning! Outside of a hospital, I do not think I have ever been in such a large and, to me at least, complicated building with numerous staircases and corridors. However, the hospitality was great, the food wonderful, and the participants were outstanding, interesting, and full of love and joy. Washington D.C. was having a hear wave of 100 degree weather so we all felt it on arriving and the first day. Then we had rain and the weather changed; unfortunately we also had several hours without electricity which we coped with very well even without microphones.
I came away from these days so grateful for my own vocation and for all the opportunities I have had to deepen Sacred Heart spirituality. I also was in awe of the tremendous educators that were there and their dedication to the goals of the Sacred Heart schools. Then, I was also impressed with the committed Associates who are on fire with the love of Christ and so happy to be able to be connected to us. I also admired the many RSCJs of all ages who were participating and giving excellent talks on St. Philippine Duchesne, Reverend Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, the work of the United Nations, and the Society of the Sacred Heart throughout the world. we also had a wonderful morning with Paul Farmer and learned more about the needs and rights of Haitians and all human beings. You will no doubt hear more of that and some of the talks will be posted on the RSCJ website so visit it as I have posted it on the side of the blog. I am still trying to process the overall effect of the Forum on me. I know I came back very convinced that what I want to do in the future with regard to writing lives of RSCJs is valid and valuable for our spirituality. More on that later.