Sr Bonnie Moser fcj, General Superior, writes from London for the Fall 2020 issue of Open Liner, the Newsletter of Women Religious in the Archdiocese of Toronto
Many thanks for your kind invitation to send a few thoughts for this edition of the Open Liner. After I was elected General Superior of the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJs) last October, I moved from Toronto to London, a daunting move for a Canadian, originally from rural Alberta! Never would I have imagined that within a few months, a deadly, microscopic virus would have the power to change the world I had known and its people, leaving no one exempt from the possibility of contacting COVID-19. Surely this global pandemic continues to test our strength and highlights systematic inequalities that we can no longer ignore.
One thing I have learnt in my new surroundings: this is not a time for despair; this is a time for hope as the ‘new normal’ gives opportunity for all of us to embrace a new era of solidarity to seek the common good for all humanity; not just for a select few.
Realistically though, leadership in religious congregations at all levels continues to be challenged. How can religious life be lived fully in 2020 and beyond? Today in many places we cannot even travel beyond our own cities, and we must rely on our digital age to connect us like never before. Presently FCJs are in 15 different countries world-wide. For the past four months there has not been one country who has not been in some kind of lockdown because of COVID-19. However, having this time in communities is turning out to be an abundant blessing; calling us forth to take a more contemplative stance towards life and freeing time for better relational living. The gift of technology has united our congregation in ways unknown a year ago and as someone said recently: I know the bonds that unite us across our Society are stronger than everbefore—not weaker!
Does not history reveal that there is a paradox in every crisis? Is there really strength in weakness? We, human beings, no matter who we are, know our vulnerability like never before. The virus has forced us to think and reflect more deeply in ever new ways.
Yes, God’s Spirit beckons us onwards and calls us to trust that ‘nothing is impossible with God’? (Luke 1:37)
I send my very best wishes and prayer to each of you!