Thursday, July 28, 2011


We have several talks from the Sixth National Giving Voice Gathering available as podcasts on our new Giving Voice podcast channel. Listen to them online or dowload them to your MP3 player!

More Pictures

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Conversation with Sandra Schneiders, IHM

Sandra Schneiders--a leading authority on Catholic Women's Religious Life--was with us in conversation throughout the Sixth National Giving Voice Conference. Click on the green arrows below to listen to podcasts of some of her talks.

Thursday Evening - Challenge to the Gathering

Friday Morning - U.S. Reality of Religious Life

Friday Afternoon - Witness Talk

Sunday Morning - Extended Harvest and Questions & Answers

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Witness Reflections

Throughout the conference we had the opportunity to hear various witness reflections.
Patrice Colletti, SDS (Friday afternoon)
Maco Cassetta, CND (Saturday afternoon)

Sarah Kohles, OSF (Saturday afternoon)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Open Space

Click here to read a PDF with the Open Space Harvests posted either on chart paper at the conference and/or the blog to date.

Open Space Hosts:  Use the comment box on this post the harvests from your Open Space conversations.  Please include the Question as well as the fruits of your conversation or a "60-second commercial".  Click here to post your open space harvest!
If you need help entering your comment, ask a tech friendly Sister!


Intergenerational Circle of Conversation during Open Space

Walking to our Leadership Exercise on the patio 
Sisters on the Bridge between the old and new system

Pioneers in the new system share their experience 
Sandra Schneiders, IHM

Checking out the harvest wall

The centers of our circles with the sacred objects brought by participants

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Postcards: Religious Life in the US and Internationality

On Friday morning, Teresa Maya, ccvi shared her thoughts, images and some "postcards" on Religious Life in the US and Internationality.  Click here to download a PDF with the outline of her answers to these questions:

How do we get beyond “It’s a small world”?
What does internationality mean? What does it look like?
How do we go beyond statistics and politically correct phrases

Click the green arrow below to listen to a podcast of her talk:

The Questions from 35

We played a game called 35 on our opening night to raise up the burning questions and conversations we'd most like to be in.  Click on this link for a PDF document containing the questions, sliced two ways.  The first half is organized by Decade/Generation.  The second half contains the same questions, but organized by the number of points they received in the 35 process.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where is the Life ... a meditation

On Friday morning, we spent time in this guided meditation led by Susan Francois, CSJP inviting us to look with the eyes of our heart for the life in our religious life:

Where is the life in religious life?
I invite us to look with the eyes of our heart and wander through our lives together.
I will guide us as we look closely at different parts of our religious life.
Pay attention to the faces, to the moments.
Be very specific.
Who do you see?
What's happening?
Think of it as a movie, like a highlight reel of our lives now and in the past, and a preview of our future.

[Close your eyes]
Look with the eyes of your heart into your ministry, the people you minister with, the people you minister for.  Pay attention to the faces, to the moments.  Who do you see?  What's happening?

Look with the eyes of your heart into your local community, your daily living.  Pay attention to the faces, to the moments.  Who do you see?  What's happening?

Shift your focus to your larger community gatherings--community meetings, assemblies, Chapters.  Pay attention to ...

Now look with the eyes of your heart at the unscripted fun times.  Pay attention to ...

Look at the moments where you stand with the marginalized, your action for peace and justice, preaching the Gospel.  Pay attention to ...

Shift your focus to your prayer and contemplation.  Who is there then?  Pay attention to ...

Lastly, shift your eyes to any other places in your religious life where you see life.  Who do you see?  What's happening?

When you are ready, open your eyes and return to this space.

Living the Questions - A Poem

On Friday morning, Susan Francois, CSJP shared the following poem which she crafted inspired by the Wordle created from the questions raised in our game of 35.

religious community
future life
life now
called Church
God, wisdom, heart
younger, older
life-giving past

Game of 35 Wordle

On the opening night we played a game called "35" to raise up our burning questions.  The image below is a "wordel" made from the words of each person's questions.

Challenge from Jessi Beck, PBVM

Click here to download the PDF and read Jessi Beck PBVM's Challenge to the 6th National Giving Voice Conference

Or Click the green arrow below to listen to the podcast of her talk.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Online Harvesting Wall

What are we learning?

What themes are surfacing that excite us?

Call a Circle: Circle Process

The circle, or council, is an ancient form of meeting that has gathered human beings into respectful conversation for thousands of years.   The circle process will  guide our time together at the July conference as we engage the emergence of Religious Life in the 21st Century.

The Circle Process we are using is outlined in detail in The Circle Way, A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. You may also download a simple yet detailed guide, Basic Guidelines for Calling a Circle, at

How does a Giving Voice Circle Work?
Intention:  Intention shapes the circle and determines who will come, how long the circle will meet, and what kinds of outcomes are to be expected. Our Giving Voice circles will be a time to share with your age peers in religious life (an intergenerationally) in the conversations you most long for and need.

Center:  The center of a circle is like the hub of a wheel—all energies pass through it, and it holds the rim
together. To help us remember how the hub helps the group, we invite you to bring a meaningful object such as a cloth, candle or icon that represents the intention of our circle.

Roles:  The circle process invites an equality of presence, contribution, and responsibility that is shared out among all members of the circle. Rotating positions of leadership enhances everyone’s experience.
  • Host:  A circle host is like the host of a dinner party.  The host joins the group process while maintaining and observing the pattern of the circle.  The host and guardian work together.
  • Guardian:  One circle member at a time volunteers to watch and safeguard group energy.  The guardian employs a bell or chime that signals everyone to stop, take a breath, and rest in a space of silence.  The guardian makes this signal again and speaks to why she called the pause.  Any member may call for a pause.
  • Harvester:  The person serving as harvester serves as record keeper or historian in circle process and may be the first one to articulate emergent wisdom, decisions, or completion.
Three Forms of Council:  The circle uses three forms of council: talking piece, conversation and reflection.
  • Talking piece is often used as part of check-in, check-out, and whenever there is a desire to slow down the conversation, collect all voices and contributions, and be able to speak without interruption.
  • Conversation council is often used when reaction, interaction, and an interjection of new deas, thoughts and opinions are needed. 
  • Reflection, or Silent council gives each member time and space to reflect on what is occurring, or needs to occur, in the course of a meeting. 
Pattern of Circle:  We will begin each circle with a prayer, poem or something else that shifts our attention from social space to sacred space. Will then check-in, join in council, and check-out.

We will be using this blog as a way to gather the harvests of our conversations at the 6th National Giving Voice Gathering.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Invitation


Religious life is in the midst of a paradigm shift. This summer Giving Voice invites you to engage the new that is emerging.
What signs of the new emerging do you see?
In what ways are you already
living into the new?
Whatever we give our energy to grows.

Join Sandra Schneiders, IHM and women across all the generations in religious life as we engage in circles of conversation, prayer, and presence. May God’s emerging dream for religious life continue to unfold in real and tangible ways.

This gathering is an intergenerational event. Sisters from all generations in religious life, both over 50 and under 50, who want to engage in these conversations are invited to participate.