This week, 18 hearts came together, united under the mission of Saint Mary Euphrasia and the values she instilled.
Each of us came here with different mindsets and for different reasons. Some were attracted by the location we would get to serve in (cough, cough Los Angeles), others came for the type of work we would be serving in, and still others came for the opportunity to discern what’s next, and to grow through that process.
We brought in different fears, such as an inability to leave a mark, fears of transition, and even the fear that this choice is the wrong choice for us. Throughout the week, we discovered that together, in community, our love overcomes all these fears. We heard stories from past GSV’s and current GSV supervisors about how much our presence means. Offering our time is enough, and so much greatness is possible because we have chosen to show up. On Saturday, before the commissioning ceremony, we spent the time to allow each person to share what inspired them during the week. Much of what my brother and sisters in Christ have shared is weaved throughout this reflection.
This year, we will have to let go of our old (and often comfortable) lifestyle, to replace it with sacrifices made in the name of love. We joked about the feeling of eating canned chicken, packing lunch every day, and fulfilling only our needs not wants. This year will kick many of our butts out of our comfort zones, as one of my sisters put it; however, we are all in it together. This year is an uncomfortable space to grow.
I can tell you over and over how connected our team of Good Shepherd missionaries became in six short days. But telling is not as powerful as showing, and certainly nowhere near as powerful as feeling the love. There is nothing like being so overcome by the love shared in such a beautiful community of fellow missionaries. Some ways this love could be visibly seen the past six days are: hand holding, silly dancing, checking in with those that were not feeling well, intentional conversations, and even totally trusting each other during our ropes course team building.
If we were to stay at this beautiful retreat house with this God-formed community, our unique gifts would be lost. We have been given so much love, and we must share it with the communities we are being sent out to. As one of my sisters eloquently commented, we must create the heart space to welcome what’s to come.
This orientation time was just the beginning of our journeys as Good Shepherd volunteers, and now it’s time to “Go, go forth to save souls” in the wise words of Saint Mary Euphrasia. Written by Cheryl Rozinski Public Policy Washington Heights Community, 16-17