In defining our new Community Apostolic Project we of Winooski were very pleasantly surprised by what happened.
We are seven, of very different characters and personalities and often find it difficult to come to consensus. Some are independent living and others needing infirmary care.
However one sister suggested that what was needed was a new word carrying a new emphasis. After a pause, she proposed that HOPE was becoming very meaningful to her and could be such a word. The idea was contagious. It was as if it passed from one to the other, each one endorsing it. It was easily translated into "becoming a Messenger of Hope". We all liked that.
Then we could almost feel the invisible Spirit spelling out to each one the direction she could take. One said it could only be according to her own gifts and her God-given strength which varied from day to day. Another felt that Living Love must remain priority for her, but that could be lived with a heart of Hope. Still another saw her JPIC activities filled with this quality. We then set ourselves to the work of putting this in the context of values, and what the work schema outlined for us.
With two more meetings we had what we considered exactly what we wanted and was called for. We were greatly amazed at how we had worked with one mind and one heart. Truly the Spirit at work:
"Aware of needy, world-wide situations, We want to live lovingly, with a special focus on HOPE... to be a messenger of HOPE---giving HOPE to others. Each one will use her God-given strength to do this in her own creative ways."
We then spelled out how we would implement this. The planning included a monthly revision of the Project. A date was set and each one was asked to come with her own evaluation and what she wanted to share of it. Again we experienced the same phenomena. Each one was very different and very personal but they all flowed in the same direction.
We recognised our Bearers of HOPE expressed in a variety of ways: pondering the word Hope in the Scriptures; circulating a Message of the Blessed Virgin bringing Hope to all; linked to joy and gratitude and finding articles on Hope; lobbying and collecting signatures to promote the passing of legislature protecting the rights of ordinary people; Hope as seeing the positive in all situations because the Lord has it all in hand; needing to nurture one's own spirit of Hope in order to share it with others... And for the second time we saw how the Spirit was uniting us. What a blessing!