Why One Catholic Women Religious Community’s Resource includes Chapter from Rolheiser

by Sister Julie Ann on September 4, 2010

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are currently reading “Chapter 8: A Spirituality of Justice and Peacemaking” from Father Ronald Rolheiser’s The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality (1999) for their monthly community discussion.

Franciscan Sisters Community Discussion Resource

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity 2010-2011 Community Discussion Resource book includes a chapter from Fr. Ronald Rolheiser's 'Holy Longing'.

Why is this particular book’s chapter selected to be part of the Community’s resource book for use in monthly discussions? Why not Caritas in Veritate?

While this latest encyclical is also part of our personal reading and reflection, a group of our Sisters (Sister Carmen Marie Diaz, OSF, Sister Camilla Wolfgram, OSF, Sister Carol Seidl, OSF, Sister Elena Gonzales, OSF, Sister Kathryn Klackner, OSF, Sister Marcolette Madden, OSF) chose this Rolheiser chapter because it also speaks to our 2010-2011 goal as a community:

Guided by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, we, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, strive to…

  • pray
  • educate ourselves and others
  • evaluate our lifestyle
  • act in a manner that reflects Jesus’ love and humility
  • advocate for real change

…in all matters of social justice.

Our local communities promise to share insights gained by reading the previously mentioned sources and others, as well as applying important truths to our consecrated lives as vowed Franciscan religious. Please feel free to join us in sharing your reflections.

18 thoughts on “Why One Catholic Women Religious Community’s Resource includes Chapter from Rolheiser”

  1. Kposdal says:

    Ron Rolheiser's entire book gives one a balanced view of spirituality and life in general. Its a must read – gives one much food for thought and action.

  2. Interesting that you make this point… about ten years ago our local communities had the option of using 'Holy Longing' for group discussion when we were focusing specifically on growth in prayer. Young women discerning their vocation often select this book while on retreat with us. (The title is attractive to someone seeking her deepest desires?) Thanks for your comment.

  3. Kklackner says:

    Social justice is so tied to living our vows. The vows serve as a guidepost for our personal and communal journey to God. I find social justice to be a practical means to live out those vows. What do you think? What place does social justice have in your/our life today? Does Franciscan spirituality and social justice “fit”? Are we privileged people? In Chapter 8 of his book, The Holy Longing (1999) , Ronald Rolheiser plainly lays out the connection between justice and peace and leads us to face some painful truths. I found the Lord's Prayer for Justice at the end of Chapter 8 to be very inspiring. Each section is its own meditation.

  4. sisterannemarielom says:

    Sister Pam and I just completed our discussion of Chapter 8. We both commented that it was not comforting at all but clearly confronted us with challenges to make systemic changes as we are able. We commented on how to challenge ourselves and others regarding emails meant to inflame hatred or disgust toward members of a particular race or religion. We brainstormed on methods to educate ourselves and others while working in our ministries of Parish Director and Spiritual Director. I'm sure we'll revisit these matters again.
    We also commented on the amount of planning, work, research and love that goes into a study project such as this. We are most grateful for the Sisters who gave so much time and effort to make this study possible for the rest of the community. Thank you Sisters: Carmen Marie, Camilla, Carol, Elena, Kay, and Marcolette!
    We used the DVD guide to choose a movie to watch tomorrow evening and we chose a book to read and discuss.
    Another practice we've had over the last several years is that each month, at our house meeting, we give an account to each other of how we have worked at the community goal… and how we have failed at achieving that goal. That practice has kept us honest and has brought sharing to a new level.

  5. Sannmary says:

    We just finished our discussion of this chapter. I found it very thought provoking, giving much insight into peace and justice. It is also motivating me as an individual to work harder at forming a peaceful atmosphere in the Community as well as school.

  6. Sister Theresa Feldkamp says:

    We had a very meaningful discussion of the chapter by Ronald Rolheiser. We discussed the many blessings that we have as members of a religious community and the need to be welcoming of others and to find ways to share those blessings in a practical way in the situations that we find ourselves. As educators we have a huge responsibility to help our young people develop an awareness and appreciation that each of us is precious in God's eyes and that we are responsible for one another.

    We are grateful to the committee for all of their work to prepare the materials for this year's discussion.

  7. Kklackner says:

    I am grateful and humbled by your accountability to each other and thus to your personal and communal growth. Kudos and blessings!

  8. Our long history in education and healthcare shows a credible vehicle for lasting change individual by individual, group by group in social justice. The 'situations' we find ourselves are ways of changing lives…and that includes our lives as well! This seems to be a thread through all the posts thus far.

  9. HFC group 6 says:

    Our group concentrated on the section on nonviolent peacemaking, sharing insights from the article and from our own lives and experiences. Two of the Sisters gave a short resume of the book we are reading, Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich, and also shared some examples from it. We appreciate the deepening of awareness that this sharing brought to each of us.

  10. Our supper together and discussion was very meaningful! One of the aspects of the discussion that was touched upon again and again was the importance of building relationships! We also found it quite moving to reflect and share on this day of the Triumph of the Cross. Jesus is our model and our way to true peace.

    A beautiful quote that one of the sisters shared seems to summarize well our discussion:

    “If you do not understand a man, you cannot crush him.

    And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.”

    —G. K. Chesterton

  11. Sister Rochelle says:

    The Sister at St. Clare Convent (in downtown Manitowoc) held their small group sharing and discussion of Chapter 8 on Monday evening. We all had something to say! (not too unusual)

    We challenged each other by ending with this question: “Is there a connection between Gospel social justice and our Franciscan spirituality?

    The Sisters' comments: “It all comes down to the fact that Jesus would rather die than use brute force.” (referring to His death on the cross) And Francis was the same!!! When Francis was near his death, he felt rejected by his brothers, he thought that his dream had been a failure and that he was letting God down, yet he choose to continue to be faithful right through and beyond Sister Death. When we carry our Franciscan charism to the depths of our lives, rather than using brute force or violence in actions or in attitudes, we too are bringing about social justice and peace in our time and in our place.

  12. sanne says:

    We completed our discussion of Ronald Rolheiser's “The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality” for this months sharing. We were each amazed at all we had to say! It was so easy to relate to our present living/working situation here in Greenwood. We spend ourselves trying to find ways to improve life and education of our students especially. It is so easy to get caught up in “buring the bodies” as he said, and then be too busy to find out why the bodies are flooting down the river. We decided we were in the perfect setting for discussing the chapter.

    Excellent choice the committee made in including this chapter.

  13. Sister Annette says:

    We completed our discussion of Ronald Rolheiser's “The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality” for this months sharing. We were each amazed at all we had to say! It was so easy to relate to our present living/working situation here in Greenwood. We spend ourselves trying to find ways to improve life and education of our students especially. It is so easy to get caught up in “burying the bodies” as he said, and then be too busy to find out why the bodies are flooting down the river. We decided we were in the perfect setting for discussing the chapter.

    Excellent choice the committee made in including this chapter.

  14. Sister Martin Flavin says:

    Thank you for helping our families and friends understand what we Franciscan Sisters “do” as we meet each month to deepen our committment to the social justice principles enunciated for us in the Gospel. May Father Francis continue to inspire you to present such web moments for all of us!

  15. Smyrajean says:

    There is a lot of thinking to do regarding Ronald Rolheiser's “The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality”. The first pages of the chapter really make a person pause and try to define how she fits into these paragraphs. Is what we think we are doing for justice really charity? Is there a clear distinction between these realities? Are we satisfied to do charity thinking we are working for justice? Society needs both. At least we think it does. Is it true that some acts of charity assuage our desire for justice and lessen the opportunity for justice to be made real? Is charity a short term remedy to an issue that needs a long term solution?

    And the second part of the chapter takes a look at the American attitude of dominance. Ron Rolheiser doesn’t use that word but it seems to fit. Do we want to dominate, take charge, fix things that are broken and look like the hero? It certainly is the American way. Take a moment and review how “heroes” settle things. They beat up or shoot or blow up the bad guy in the sensational world of television. Is this the reality only there? In the struggle for justice it can be that often our behavior lowers us to actions that we would consider unjust if they were performed by another.

    So how do we grow in truly living for justice? It starts first among us. We must care for each other and let that shine out to the world, just as the candles did in South Africa. We must shine out with personal integrity, charity and prayer. And let our actions radiate from that grace.

  16. Sister Rochelle says:

    The Sisters at St. Clare Convent gathered around the dining room table for their monthly house meeting on Tuesday, October 12. Sister Rita Mae led the first part of the meeting which would be the discussion and sharing of “Faith Alive: Catholic Social Justice” This article was actually reprinted from a Catholic educator's journal and authored by one of our very own Sisters. We sang “River of Glory” as our opening prayer which was upbeat and really set a positive energy flow for our discussion. One of the main ideas that kept surfacing as we discussed was the fact of how Sister Kay, the author, really outlined the rich tradition of the social justice teachings as found in the papal encyclicals for the past 119 years. We felt that the information was well-organized, succinct as well as progressive in its ideas as they unfolded within the article. We also commented on how many of these documents we had been acquainted with through the years but that their impact can really be seen better when we reviewed them as a whole and after the laspse of time since they were written. It was a worthwhile time of sharing and remembering.

    We also felt that we, as a congregation, have really been reading the papal encyclicals all along the years past and are grateful for that leadership and direction from our Chapters and Community Directors and Councils.

    Respectfully submitted by

  17. Smyrajean says:

    Our Congregation teaches the principles of social justice and strives to model these concepts by the way we live and through the support we give to others. Our purpose is to educate others about these principles and it is our belief that doing so is a significant means of putting our faith into action. We recognize that sometimes there is inconsistency between what we say and what we do. This recognition is the first step on the long journey of bringing justice and peace to our world. It all begins at home.

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