By Mary Kaye Medinger, Consociate
Ten individuals from three provinces who feel called to live into relationship within the Carondelet congregation as agrégées met for our third annual retreat from June 21-23, 2019 at the St. Paul Provincial House. Three others joined us in spirit. The total group includes four individuals from the Albany province, one from the St. Louis province, and eight from the St. Paul province. The two previous retreats were faciliated by Sisters, and the 2019 retreat was facilitated by members of the group ourselves. At the invitation of the group, Jean Wincek, CSJ attended to share observations and reflections along the way. Susan Hames CSJ, a member of the St. Paul Province Leadership Team, also attended part of the weekend on behalf of the hosting province.
The days of reflection reminded us of the purpose of our coming together in our own words: “Just as six unique and most diverse women who felt called to serve came together in LePuy, we respond today in our individual calls of the Spirit to serve. It is an experiential time of a spacious grassroots call to community as Agrégées.” The times of prayer, reflection, song, storytelling, laughter, meals shared and memories made deepened the bonding begun in past years.
Friday evening began with Table Prayer composed by Michael Joncas and led by the Tacheny Family, members of the agrégée group. Parents Steven and Jennifer led the singing and children Delvin (12), Mason (11) and Nora (9) played their violins and sang. Alexandra Guliano accompanied on keyboard. Dinner was followed by Sharing the Heart facilitated by Jennifer and Lois Mineau.
Saturday was a full day and began with a “conversation in the manner of St. Joseph whose name we bear” led by Mary Craven and Nancy Koltko , reflecting on participants’ personal spiritual journeys in light of the Joseph story. Alexandra then led a reflection on Mother St. John in the years between the French Revolution and the refounding of the congregation. Both Joseph and Mother St. John trusted that they were being led by Spirit even when the road ahead was not always clear. So too for us!
Saturday afternoon included Mary Louise Menikheim leading a reflection on the “Sacred is the Call: Reflections on Agrégée” document we developed last year and how we have lived it in the past year, time for personal reflection and an opportunity for Sunday liturgy (anticipated). The evening brought interested St. Paul Sisters and Consociates (including Congregational Chapter delegates and companions) to join the agrégée group for a pizza supper and focused conversation. The evening ended with an agrégée group reflection on our time with our guests: What did we hear? What themes emerged? What might we bring forward?
Our closing session on Sunday morning began with Jean sharing observations and reflections on our time together, our insights, and possible next steps. We ended with a shared conviction that the gift is here, the need is here, the dream is here, the time is here as we move forward step by step. Stay tuned!