Companions on the Journey

Companions on the Journey

Opening of LLL Days, August, 2012

This evening we begin our community days, our days of learning, leisure and legislation, with a celebration of community that will recognize this year’s jubilarians. It is a special time for us as community.

Community . . . .

In his biblical letters, Paul uses the imagery of the community being a body. Every community is a body and we all belong to each other. This kind of belonging comes from the call of God. Each of us has been called to live together in this community. To belong to this community is our privilege and blessing.

As together we move through this week let us be mindful that it is a week of opportunity to attend to the relationships that are ours by virtue of our desire to be community. Being in the community points only to a physical presence; being part of the community means interacting with one another, fostering relationships, growing in the bonds of faith and friendship, celebrating the gift we can be and are.

We look around at one another and we see a diverse group. It is that very diversity that makes us beautiful in the true sense of the word. As Kahil Gibran says so well: “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

I look at you and I see that “light in the heart.” I have experienced it innumerable times as I hope you, too, have experienced it: in conversation, in compassion, in care, in kindness.

It is a “light in the heart” that shines with the gentle concern that we show each other every day.

It is a “light in the heart” that shines with the commitment we bring to the monastic life we share, to the ministry in which we give of ourselves: in service, in prayer, in presence.

It is a “light in the heart” that shines in the companionship that is ours on this monastic journey — sharing table, sharing life, living hope, living love.

A “light in the heart” — Can you see it in yourself? Will you look for it in others?

May this week of events keep us mindful that we are indeed keepers of that beauty, keepers of that light — a beauty, a light, that can bring brightness and warmth, transformation and strength to each and every situation, to each and every person we encounter.

Annie Dillard once said, “Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will them or sense them. The least we can try to do is to be there.”

To be there — I think that is what this week is about for us as community: doing our best to be here in mind, heart, body and spirit.

Beginning with the renewal of vows by our jubilarians being honored for 60 years of monastic commitment, and continuing with festive meals, the time to delve into community matters, learning opportunities and fun times, beauty will be happening all around us.

May we truly be here for it, enjoy it and be graced by it as we remember that, “For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it” (Ivan Panin).

This is a week to support, empower and learn from one another.

This is a week to embrace the chance, once again, in community, to become everything we can be.

We are companions on this journey.
We have been gifted with each other.
Let us ring out our joy!
Let us be grateful!

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.