Friday, September 07, 2007

Metropolitan Association of Contemplative Communities Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Have already allowed much too much time to go by without reporting a very special event. Back in July MACC celebrated its 40th anniversary by gathering at Mt. St. Alphonsus Retreat Center. The members of twelve different contemplative communities from New York and Connecticut shared memories, rejoiced in their history, gave thanks to God for the bounty of vocation, community and monastic life. MACC began in 1967 as a place where contemplatives of various charisms could come together to educate themselves intellectually and spiritually in preparation for the work of renewal to which they had been called in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. There is no homogenization here. Each charism remains distinct and firmly intact. Each of us knows that in God's plan we belong in our respective communities. But, at the same time, by our association we have grown in appreciation for our vocation as contemplatives and become prepared to move into the 21st century.

Photos: Top - general membership on the front steps of Mt. St. Alphonsus. Bottom - Sr. Regina (Poor Clare), Vicar for Religious Sr. Helen Coldrick, Sr. Marjorie (Carmelite), Sr. Mary (Carmelite) and Sr. Moira (Redemptoristine)

That day we were challenged in three areas. The first was that of AUTHENTICITY as indicated in the quote, "With integrity, nothing else maters. Without integrity, nothing else matters. The second was to IDENTIFY AND RESPOND TO THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES. It was suggested that we ask ourselves: What are the signs of the times for my community; given its mission and charism? How are we responding to those signs? Where are the gaps? What more needs to be attempted? The third challenge was to ACTIVATE THE IMAGINATION. As we face new challenges, God is once again asking for the imagination of a Dominic or a Francis, a Clare or a Maria Celeste, a Benedict or a Scholastica, a Teresa of Avila - not to found new congregations, but to reach deep into our own charisms for new insights, new applications, new directions - not for our own sakes and legacy but for all our brothers and sisters on this fragile planet.

From A Sleep of Prisoners by Christopher Fry

Thank God our time is now
when wrong comes to face us everywhere,
never to leave us
till we take the longest stride of soul ever took.

Affairs are now soul size,
and the enterprise
is exploration unto God.

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