On July 12-15, 2017, the Dubuque Presentation Sisters came together for their annual community gathering. These days were filled with energizing conversation and contemplative reflection centered on the theme of “Called to Radical Hospitality.”
Day 1: The gathering began with a washing of feet or hands ritual as sisters followed Jesus’ example in offering hospitality and welcome to each other. The day followed with several community business reports and meetings. Later that day, sisters then welcomed associates and employees to discuss the work they have been doing in their emerging circles groups. After supper, the entertainment committee planned a fun mystery party.
Day 2: Presenter, Dr. Regina Wentzel Wolfe, from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, spoke about our call to radical hospitality and our need to reverence one another, as led by the example of Nano Nagle. She explained the characteristics of radical hospitality, challenging us to reflect on our own lives and open our hearts to allow Nano’s spirit to speak to us. Her presentation stretched us to recognize, accept and appreciate God’s abundance and love as the community moves forward. After a long day of listening and learning, sisters and associates enjoyed a beach party full of games, music, dancing, a photo booth and lots of laughter. It was a great ending to the day.
Day 3: Sisters and associates gathered to reflect on icons of hospitality as they continue to grow in awareness of their own personal call to hospitality. They prayed together recognizing the sacred heartbeat of God in each other and themselves. Each table received a puzzle piece that together made an icon of pictures of sisters and associates. The group worked to continue imagining and discussing hopes and expectations for the future and shared with each other in contemplative conversation. New energy was present among them as they continue to imagine the future together! At the end of the day, associates were thanked, blessed and commissioned as they were sent out to spread the Gospel message and Presentation charism of radical hospitality to their respective communities.
Day 4: Three days prior, Sister Julianne Brockamp welcomed the community and they welcomed each another as they prepared to enter into a sacred space of sharing, conversation and reflection. Together, they urged one another to take a closer look at radical hospitality, in their own lives and in the world, aware that the world needs more than “tea cup” hospitality. As a community, these days assure all gathered that radical hospitality which was their foundress’ call is also their call.
As the 2017 community gathering concluded each sister was sent forth to witness the radical hospitality of God by being more compassionate, loving and merciful, especially where and when it’s most challenging. This is countercultural; this is radical.
In late December, the community will come together again for their Chapter days of discussion, discernment and planning when the community’s direction will continue to evolve and a new leadership team will be prayerfully elected.