create a holy space where the needs of all are brought
to the shepherdâ€™s heart. As they listen to Godâ€™s
Word and to humanityâ€™s cries of suffering, they
hope to pierce the world with the silence that is able
to see Godâ€™s care and concern for everyone and
everything. Their dream is to help build a world that
nurtures compassion and reconciliation.
A good way of talking about it is to say, “
It is a long, loving look at life, at the universe and
all of creation in the presence of God whom we know is
unconditional Love. “How does it manifest itself
in everyday life? When we allow the ocean expanse to calm
our hearts and free our spirits and when we recognize
that we are connected to every star and every human face,
we contemplate the mystery of God. When we soak ourselves
in Scripture and let our hearts and minds be fashioned
by Christâ€™s life, death and resurrection, we are
in an intimate relationship with our loving God. While
all these may sound great, we actually balk when we come
face to face with a reality that we wish would be otherwise,
that weâ€™d like to change, control or manipulate
according to our own ideas, our own way of seeing things.
To be a contemplative, and everyone has a built-in capacity
to be one; we must come to a profound self-knowledge that
is both frightening and liberating. We learn to surrender
and yield to a God whom we cannot understand most of the
time but dare to trust! We let go. We believe Godâ€™s
Word and care for Godâ€™s world with no strings attached.
We accept who we are. We also let ourselves be like furrowed
ground that lies in wait for the seeds of transformation,
confident that God will bring these to fruition in us.
Christians are called by the gospel to awaken the world
to the presence of God, alive and active within their
very selves and in every circumstance, every event,
every situation, no matter how bleak, no matter how
pain-ridden. This awakening brings about a peace and
joy, a security and a comfort that this world cannot
give. A contemplative community nurtures this presence
by a life of prayer and study, characterized by simplicity
and by helping others to realize the depth of their
human communion in the family of God and in all of
creation. Contemplative communities believe that one
of the most time-tested way to bring Godâ€™s reconciling
love and peace into the world is through a contemplative
vocation nourished daily by a rhythm of prayer, work
and leisure. This structure is balanced with hospitality
and welcome of guests and by a readiness to pray with
and for others.
preferential option of the Congregation for social justice
and peace is lived by the contemplative sisters through
an attitude of inclusivity. No one and no human concern
is ever outside the embrace of their prayer and interest,
particularly those served by their apostolic sisters.
The unevenness of the global economy and the oppressive
structures that feminize poverty, warring nations and
nuclear weapons, make up the stuff of their work. Moreover,
whatever work they do, for example, cards they create,
alter breads they package or music they compose, they
weave in together the different strands of our world,
and always keep in mind those who feel alienated and alone.
be in solidarity with the poor the contemplative sisters
are engaged in a variety of work such as sewing liturgical
vestments and church linens, making soaps and candles
from scratch, embroidering sweaters, crocheting afghans
and packaging altar breads for parishes. They also quilt,
create flower arrangements, wreaths, frames and cards.
Theses items are sold in their gift shops and at Church
Dream that Guides the Action
In 1825, when Mary Euphrasia Pelletier was thinking of
new ways of rebirthing Godâ€™s tender mercy, it came
upon her that there were women who allowed themselves
to be found by God and for whom God wanted the greatest
gift that could ever be given, a life of intimacy and
friendship such as Jesus had with his Father. Thus was
Mary Euphrasiaâ€™s founding insight for the contemplative
branch of the Good Shepherd congregation born.
Mary Euphrasia made St. Mary Magdalen the model for
her new contemplative community. She hoped that the
sisters would pour out their lives to God and to others.
She urged them to seek the one thing necessary - listening
to the words of Jesus in true discipleship. St. Mary
Euphrasia dreamt that just as Mary Magdalen was the
first apostle of the resurrection, her contemplatives
would ever announce to all Godâ€™s reconciling
love for everyone.
the contemplatives hold Mary Euphrasiaâ€™s dream like
a light in the night sky. Like her in 1825, we seek new
ways of giving birth and giving flesh to Godâ€™s infinite
care for all but particularly to women and children cast
off to the peripheries of our aching world. We choose
to stand with women who suffer and children who are undernourished
and underserved and we humbly join our own to their cries
for deliverance to a God who saves. While we keep sacred
space to nourish our relationship with God, we seek to
understand how we can be a visible presence in our local
church and be a sign of Godâ€™s immediacy and care.
You Dream Dreams...
You have read the Dream that guides our action and resonate
You are a woman for whom God is so important and you
want to totally commit yourself to this God.
You are genuinely concerned about serving rather than
being served and agreeable to be shaken out of your
You have the ability to live a life of solitude and
silence kept in perspective by living in community with
a group of women with reverence for sacred space.
will allow your prayer (that is, your relationship
with God) to be in service of womenâ€™s struggle
for equality, justice and freedom.
You seek a better way of life for children who are traumatized
and ravaged by war, hunger, prostitution, drugs and
abuse and believe that through transformation of self
in Christ you can help transform our world where children
are safe, children eat, children can touch the stars
and touch God.
it may be that God calls you to do exactly that by helping
us build a world that nurtures compassion and reconciliation.