The challenge to live our Constitutions was a refrain echoing throughout the Chapter, heard in one form or another from Sheila Lemieux, CSJP, in her introductory remarks, from Nancy Sylvester, IHM, and from John Dear, SJ. We are people of peace, open to the liberating power of God (Constitution 28), committed to live and proclaim Christ's gospel of peace (Constitution 20), experiencing our own need for continuing conversion (Constitution 10), and willing to become peacemakers in the spirit of the beatitudes (Constitution 39). Our vows and covenants commit us to walk in the way of peace (Constitution 40), our history has set a direction, and our experience of contemporary society compels us forward.
Today we stand at a new crossing place. We live in a society marked strongly by the violence of war, violence to people through poverty and a sense of powerlessness and alienation, violence to earth, sea, and sky – violence that is truly cosmic. In response we commit ourselves to grow more deeply toward a nonviolent way of being and acting as peacemakers.
"The very name Sisters of Peace will, it is hoped, inspire the desire of peace and a love for it." Mother Clare in the original 1884 Constitutions.
As people of peace, we commit ourselves:
"You will hope, if God blesses your work, to sow the seeds of peace in modern society." Bishop Bagshawe at the profession of the first Sisters of Peace, January 7, 1884
The lens of nonviolence brings new insights and commitments to all aspects of our lives together. We commit to look with eyes of compassion, to relate with openness and hospitality, and to act from a center of contemplative prayer, peace and passion. Our prayer and study lead us to actions which "make our own the concerns of the human family ... especially those who are poor and oppressed." (Constitution 55).
Practical guides for prayer, study and action will be developed and shared throughout the Congregation.
"If our role as messengers of God’s good news means anything to us, the chorus of people begging for peace will touch a special place in our hearts. "
Patricia Lynch, CSJP