June 20-22, 2017 twenty-seven lay leaders from CCVI ministries throughout the United States and Mexico gathered in San Antonio, TX for the second Summer Seminar hosted by the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
The Summer Seminar is a three day formation workshop for lay leaders in CCVI ministries where they learn about incarnational spirituality, the CCVI charism and mission, Congregational history, and reflect on topics like cross-cultural communication, justice, peace, and integrity of creation, and what it means to be a sponsored ministry of the Congregation.
Assisting with the Summer Seminar was Jennifer Reyes Lay, Assistant Director of the Congregational JPIC Office, who led a workshop on “Threads of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation.” This workshop helped show how the work for justice, peace, and care of creation is not like one square of a quilt that can be added or removed, and is separate from the other squares, but rather are the very threads that knit the whole tapestry together. If you try to remove the threads, the whole tapestry comes apart. This work of JPIC is integral to the mission and vision of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and to the ministries it sponsors, because it is integral to the life and mission of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, and the universal Catholic Church.
Participants engaged in an activity of “paper weaving” to physically engage this metaphor of the JPIC threads and tapestry. Groups wrote on pieces of paper about the different justice, peace, and care of creation work or policies they are doing or have in place at their ministries, and then wove these pieces into the larger paper. It was inspiring to hear about all of the great work happening throughout the CCVI ministries, inspired by the charism to incarnate the love of God and heal the body of Christ suffering in our world today. Together we are creating a beautiful tapestry of justice, peace, hope, and love!
The Summer Seminar also did a great job of living into the sustainability goals for meetings that the Congregation set back in 2016: “At least 50% of all materials and refreshments used in meetings will be environmentally friendly.” Some of these sustainability initiatives included: offering reusable water bottles to all participants to use throughout the week and having a large water jug available to refill water bottles; offering ceramic coffee mugs each morning instead of disposable cups; serving food buffet style to eliminate unnecessary packaging and waste; offering a non-meat protein at every meal; turning off the lights and all electronic equipment when the meeting room wasn’t in use; carpooling out of town guests from the retreat center where they were staying to the Heritage Center where the meetings were in one large van; and providing clearly marked separate bins for trash and recycling. We thank the organizers including Dr. Denise Doyle, Sr. Mary Henry, and Sr. Brigid Marie Clarke for not only providing great content and hospitality for the summer seminar, but also being good stewards of our common home!
Article originally published in CCVI’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation’s Blog.