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Link Considers Structure and Spirituality

Posted on September 1, 2019, by Martha Crawley CoL

Loretto Link logo by Roberta Hudlow

Mary Ann McGivern opened the first day of the August Loretto Link gathering relating a story from her novitiate days that taught her that solemn times can include the delight of friendship and celebration. By the last day we knew that 31 people had been shot and killed in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. Our days of conversation about being a loving energy in our world were shadowed by that deep sadness. Such darkness, once again for two communities. As we stopped to hold our sadness and to pray for the victims and perpetrators, Barbara Nicholas wondered with us what effect our work on creating a Community of love and peace might have on such violence and hate. Could it have been worse or more if so many loving people in the world were not conscious of working for justice and peace? That, of course, cannot be known or measured, only trusted and continued with a certainty that we will not change our course.

Following are some of the central themes from both presenters and our table discussions:

• How to build a strong, loving Community that is aware of “the ecology of opposites.” (See Jean East’s presentation on the member website.)

• How to live and imagine a new way for Loretto that continues a deep awareness of all that is sacred.

• How to build that path on the strong, wise shoulders of those Loretto women and men who have gone before us.

• How and when to open this new Link Community to more of our current Loretto Community and others who might come our way or whose paths we might cross.

Each of those ideas was addressed, discussed and turned into topics that will become working groups in the coming year. There was no shortage of volunteers. In fact, it looked as though nearly every participant signed on to at least one group. There were 78 registered participants at the Aug. 2-4 event in Shepherdsville, Ky.

In addition to themes for discussion, we heard a number of rich images evoked for Link. We spoke of circles to live our lives in and to move out of when it’s time. We imagined a new, empty room in the house of Loretto, just waiting and ready to be lived in. We imagined Link as a magical safety deposit box holding so many dear treasures of Loretto, available to receive more and accessible to all. (Hear/listen to Barbara’s closing talk on the member website.)

Jessie Rathburn shared an amazing TED talk by physicist Tom Chi entitled “Everything is Connected.” The smallest of cellular life, with a life span of a few hours, altered the entire future by giving earth oxygen. New inventions and ways of being are connected in unseen, profound ways.

Eileen Custy wrote an untitled play starring Christina Stuart, Ann Haven, Mary Rhodes and Mary Ann Coyle. Set in a café in heaven, actors Claudia Calzetta, Johanna Brian, JoAnn Gates and Anna Koop explained what is going on these days “down there” in Loretto. Then Eileen reported the Wisdom Circle identification of some I Am the Way statements to carry forward.

An overlay of trees, bushes and flowers on this tableau reflect Anthony Mary Sartorius’s efforts throughout her years of service as Motherhouse Service Coordinator to counteract the Motherhouse’s carbon effect.
(Photo by Lillian Moskeland)

JJoAnn choreographed a skit for Anthony Mary Sartorius to thank for her years of service and her commitment to decreasing our carbon footprint. A Carbon Offset Fund has been established and is open for donations. (More to come in the October Interchange.) Martha Alderson wrote a song of praise to Anthony, set to “My Old Kentucky Home.” All of Loretto at the Motherhouse crowded in the chapel for Mass and to cheer Anthony.

We did a bit of simple Sufi dancing after one of the long workdays. Responses were upbeat and our energy increased. By the end, it seemed clear that the Link light has been lit and is ready to shine. We agree to go forward without knowing all the steps or directions. We have an energized, collective desire to become the best Loretto we can become. To stretch, to grow, to show up and to let the results emerge as they will.


Martha Crawley CoL

Martha Crawley CoL, a 1969 graduate of Loretto Heights College and a former Sister of Loretto, has been involved with Loretto through all those years, demonstrating against the Vietnam War, praying at Rocky Flats and going on annual retreat with Loretto friends. An occupational therapist, Martha has worked and volunteered in numerous social agencies. She resides in Denver.
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