The recurring message following the Discernment Day of October 2014 is a deep sense of Holy Newness within those present and spreading from them to all of us. Many of us were deeply touched by their exhilaration in the sense of the Holy Spirit active in them and among them. This has been on the minds and in the hearts of many of us throughout the Theresian world.
This Holy Newness had its beginnings in the very coming to existence of this organization. In the 1960s, the vision and dream of a Vocation Director in Pueblo, Colorado, took root in women active in their parishes. Msgr. Elwood C. Voss invited them to become active in promoting vocations to women’s religious communities. This was a successful activity! With the conclusion of Vatican II, Monsignor Voss expanded the vision and the dream to offer to women new insights into their value and contribution to the Catholic communities of the United States. Thus, Theresians became a viable group of women empowered to live their faith in more visible and active ways. They grew to embrace social justice issues in their communities, to address issues in the church community and in the wider community where they lived.
Holy Newness expanded to other countries, becoming Theresian World Ministry (TWM). The Holy Spirit provided the manner and the means to share the message in Canada, in Australia, in Ghana, in Thailand, in the Philippines, and in Brazil. This Holy Newness also stretched into mission territories: Mexico, Argentina, and Haiti. The message has touched minds and hearts in big cities, in small villages, in storm-ravaged landscapes, in those struggling with human trafficking, and in those with limits placed on their opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their children.
Holy Newness stirred once more in the blending of the Theresians of the United States and TWM. These growing pains expanded our horizons once again. We are learning to “Think Globally and Act Locally.” We have found ways to bridge the cultural differences across this planet and recognize the strength of the message: Women in Support of Women … Reaching Out with Gospel Values. We are learning that the greatest gift of this blending is the discovery that love, kindness, and presence are the bridge to understanding and to standing in solidarity with women everywhere.
Threads of Holy Newness have been woven into the concerns, work, and suggested activities of the WEET Committee, as well. Women Emerging to Embrace Theresians was an ad hoc committee of the USA NLT who worked from 2010-2013 to identify key issues in promoting the growth of Theresians. Their final recommendations were reported to the TI Board and the USA NLT. The committee has addressed the reality of the challenge to add new members. The recommendations ask each of us to accept responsibility for investing time, talent, and energy into bringing the richness we have found to women around us in our own local areas and to find ways that we can share the broadening of our understandings through the dimension of Education woven into every meeting, the solidarity we have found in Community, the deepening of our Spirituality and an expanding concept of the Vocation of being a woman in this century amid the continuous change that surrounds us all, as well as the Ministries in which we each engage. The essential impact of their recommendations is the call to each of us to invite, welcome, and nurture new members and new communities.
Today, this Holy Newness has within it a Call to Community, an invitation to spread this good news among women in our midst. We are called to stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us and build again; to gather again women whose needs in today’s world are just as demanding, maybe even more so. Our world is in transition and obviously not a peaceful one. If peace is to prevail, women have a role to play. Our concerns, our hopes, and our dreams need a voice. Let us find ways to be this voice in our homes, in our local communities of Theresians, and in the communities in which we live. Not strident, but positive, and filled with the awareness that we can and do make a difference; it is in the solidarity of community that we are most effective.
Human minds and hearts, when they explore together, when they collaborate on the steps to believe in and make a dream come true, give a new definition to Dream Big! We can be driven by the desire to share what we have found, knowing that we are healed and strengthened in community, and that women today will find Holy Newness among us.
- Trace the thread of Holy Newness that brought your community into existence.
- Who do you know who has built the bridges from the past to this international Theresian format? What stories surrounding this have you asked for?
- It has been said, Don’t let your history limit your destiny. What does this say to you?
- Brainstorm ways you, as a community, can be an active part of expanding our universe of Theresians. Then, are you, individually, willing and available to help?
- The Prayer for the Growth of Theresians and the Theresian Litany of Solidarity (Pages 44 and 45 in this booklet) are contributions that invite us to pray and become laborers in the vineyard.
Maraboli, Dr. Steve. “Your History and Your Destiny,” Nov. 4, 2013. Everyday Health Media, LLC, ©2015. www.everydayhealth.com/columns/steve-maraboli-the-healthy-empowered-life...