The 14th Annual Collaboration for Ministry Initiative Conference that took place in Myrtle Beach, SC, from November 2-4, drew sisters ministering in South Carolina from all across the state, including SM Susanne Dziedzic, SM Johnna Ciezobka, and SM Carol Piskor. S Constance Marie Tomyl
represented the leadership team of the Felician Sisters. The theme was “Pilgrimage to Happiness: Discipleship Along a Moonlit Path.”
In her first session, entitled “‘Remain in My Love’: Commitment to the Moonlit Path,” Sister Clare encouraged the sisters to “be faithful to the darkness.”
Sister Clare referenced Shelly Rambo’s Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining, that seeks a theology that addresses the experience of living in the aftermath of trauma. She told the group:
Those of us who are called to remain-
We are the new remnant
Those who remain articulate hope
holding the radical dream of Jesus for the world.
In her second session, “Blessed from Age to Age,” Sister Clare explained that we are not alone–we are in communion with the women who have gone before us–Biblical women, women of hope, companions on the moonlit path, women who can serve as guides as we continue to walk the journey of discipleship along a moonlit path.
From L: S Constance Marie Tomyl, SM Susanne Dziedzic, S Clare D’Auria,
SM Johnna Ciezobka, and SM Carol Piskor
In her third session, “Commitment and Communion: A Paschal Pilgrimage,” Sister Clare spoke about three ways we are called to be people of hope: interdependency, the underlying relationships that support collaboration; suffering, being in solidarity with our sisters and brothers; and a revolution of tenderness, being on the same level as the other, the mystery of the Incarnation.
Before the Sending Forth Prayer on Sunday morning, Kathy Csank, consultant for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, She told the sisters, “Don’t be afraid of that–you’re already doing that. . . . You came and you stayed in this state that is only 3% Catholic. You know about remaining. I have the most tremendous gratitude and hope because I can see a future filled with hope.”
During the closing prayer, the sisters blessed each other while holding aloft a copy of Father Ron Rolheiser’s The Sacred Fire that each had received, as they stepped out “onto the Moonlit path of Discipleship, at that unique place You have chosen for me.”