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Visitation provides evaluation, spark for future

Visitation provides evaluation, spark for future - (25-06-2015)

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Photo: The Clyde, Mo., community of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration held its semi-annual Visitation in June. Facilitated by independent women religious, it invites Sisters to discuss concerns and prepare for the future.

Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration living at the Clyde, Missouri, monastery had the opportunity to share their personal and communal visions of community life during a Visitation in June.

Facilitated by Sister Gail Fitzpatrick, OCSO of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey and Sister Kerry O’Reilly, OSB of St. Benedict’s Monastery, the two-day event invited members to meet individually to discuss thoughts and concerns about the community. A Visitation is conducted during the second year of a prioress’s four-year term of office.

“Monastic visitations help our communities evaluate themselves,” Clyde Prioress Sister Rita Clair Dohn, OSB said. “The process allows us to grow in self-understanding, to recognize and acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and to articulate the needs for future growth in living out our charism.”

Sisters were asked questions about what they feel members hold in common, what holds them together and what differences or tensions may get in the way of unity.

“Sisters spoke of many aspects of the life: the value and importance of prayer, the ministry of prayer, the Benedictine Rule and how each wants the best for the other and for the group. There was a resounding affirmation that what really holds the community together is love and union in Jesus Christ, the search for God and the experience of responding in love to the call of this monastic life,” the facilitators’ report stated. “Many of the Sisters shared how they felt supported and loved in community. Where an individual is going through difficulties there is a particular sense of communal concern.”

After the two days, Sister Gail and Sister Kerry presented their findings to the community and provided recommendations to address whatever concerns there may be.

“The report’s conclusions will assist us in deepening our resolve to improve the quality of our religious life and to clarify our vision of how this may best be done,” Sister Rita Clair said.