By Sister Ann Carmen Barone, OSF
You say assembly and I think blue spruce. Odd connection? Not at all.
The beautiful blue spruce near the entrance to Queen of Peace Chapel was planted there at the conclusion of our first “directional” assembly, June 13-17, 1988.The small tree stood as the focus of our prayer in the Franciscan Center and “Every person” sat near it calling to mind those praying for us and our own need to pray.
Shaping Our Future. That assembly was unique. Sister Marie Andrée called all the Sisters to gather and imagine ourselves in 2008. We imagined from the perspective of women as lovers and learners, listeners and searchers of wisdom, and women in protection of Creation. I could feel the excitement in the air as we were asked to create compelling images and to plan the steps that would make that transformation from here to there possible. Leadership wanted the Sisters to take ownership of their work which would be passed on to our elected delegates at the Chapter of Affairs, which followed the assembly.
As we walked over for the closing liturgy we stopped and watched as Sister Marie Andrée and the assembly coordinators, Sister Rachel Marie and Sister Shannon, planted the blue spruce in it new home. The story doesn’t end there. The summer of 1988 was hot and very dry. Sister Paschal Rybinski took on the watering detail and you can see how her loving and dedicated care gave the young tree a refreshing start.
We were challenged and invited to do the same with the compelling images we created. Have we Sylvania Franciscans become a dynamic force for change in church and society, side by side in life and ministry with God’s people? Have we been fully committed to deepening our understanding of the spirituality of our Franciscan evangelical way of life? Have we transformed our campus into a creative center for Christian human development? Have we become Franciscan women collaborating with the laity, ever intensifying our efforts to promote human rights and dignity for all persons, with preference for the economically poor?
That beautiful tall and stately blue spruce continues to grow. I smile and think that we Sylvania Franciscans continue to be transformed as women of peace and seekers of justice. I give God thanks and praise for each Sister, living and deceased, who has watered our tree of life.