Section title text:  Recent News.

Ann Marie Walsh, fcJ — Sabbatical at Berakah, NH, USA

Photo of Sr. Ann Marie.This year I am blessed to have sabbatical time at Berakah, a spiritual renewal center in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, USA. The name Berakah means blessing and this place is indeed a place of blessing. The dedicated staff organizes a holistic renewal program designed to help the women participants choose what will best meet their needs.

The various weekday courses and weekend workshops provide opportunities for growth in many areas of spirituality and personal development, and the schedule always allows time for personal prayer and reflection as well as for group sharing.

The present group of participants consists of 16 religious women from 15 different congregations coming from various places throughout the world. As you can imagine, there is great richness in the group and many life experiences to be shared.

The Cosmology Course is bringing me into an area relatively new to me. As we are guided through the various discoveries and findings of scientists and others we discover the connection between all parts of the universe. The material presented calls us to a real paradigm shift in thinking about the universe. It is certainly bringing me to think differently about Earth and its place in the universe, as well as to consider how we humans are called to care for Earth. It fits right in with our FCJ Chapter Mandate which calls us to “Reverence creation in Christ and live justly”. 

I also find this course very relevant to our study of the women mystics. These women seem to have had a greater sense of the connection between all parts of the universe than most people have today. The following may give a little sense of what this Cosmology course calls us to think about: consider the perspective of a flea on the back of an elephant, and how that perspective changes when the flea jumps from the back of the elephant to the earth below the elephant!  Also, cup your hands in front of you. Then look at them, and instead of seeing your hands as ‘empty’ see them as full of all the elements contained in the air. The paradigm shift calls us to think not of emptiness as meaning ‘nothing’ but to think of fecund emptiness in which there is great potential!

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Our little Society has for its end
     to glorify the heart of Jesus
           by  every means in its power ...     (Marie Madeleine)