The closing days of October have become a time of special reflection for Ursulines all over the globe, but especially for our Cleveland Community. We have just celebrated the Feast of St. Ursula (October 21st) whose courage, faith and commitment to Christ inspired Angela Merici as a young girl. Ursula so captured Angela’s imagination that she named her personally formed band of women in her honor. The martyr Ursula was also an inspiration for the thirteen Ursulines who witnessed to their faith as they were guillotined during the French Revolution. We celebrated their feast day on October 23rd.

At the end of September, as preparation for the October 10th Ursuline Community day, we were encouraged to engage in a different reflection. We were asked to identify an Ursuline Sister who is now enjoying eternity with “the One who loves us all,” (St. Angela’s words). As we prepare this week to celebrate All Saints Day, and as the Ursuline Community prepares for the 40th Anniversary of Dorothy Kazel’s martyrdom on December 2nd, I invite you to reflect as we have with an Ursuline Sister Companion.

Reflection: While attending to your breathing, allow your breath to carry your awareness from your head to your heart. Pause….

Welcome to this space and this time an Ursuline who has gone before you, but is a part of you still. Reflect on a Sister, perhaps someone who taught you, who supported you; a Sister who challenged and encouraged you; or someone who led you through the changes you have known. Remember by name the Sister who has companioned you and invite her to be with you by gently saying her name out loud. _________________

Become increasingly aware of the presence of this Sister, understanding that you are being seen, . . seen and understood and acknowledged…(pause) just letting that awareness fill you. . . Let your heart open as it touches a memory of who you really are . . . and who you have been in the presence of this Sister companion…. of who you always will be. Thank her for her presence with you.

You realize that there are experiences and realizations that have brought pain, sorrow and loss into your life… none of which you have shared with her. The last few months may have been especially challenging. There has been so much that keeps changing. There are questions you want to ask and counsel that you wish to seek. And so you begin to share all that has been in your heart, knowing there is time to be with this Sister companion who has meant so much to you. (Take whatever time you need.)

Now, feeling a new kindness toward yourself and others . . . and a new forgiveness of yourself and others for disappointments of the past. . .

Letting it go . . . Letting it all go . . . Making room for possibility and growth . .. Unafraid of what the future holds. . . Feeling love and gratitude for this awareness. (pause) more able to move into whatever this uncertain and challenging future may require. (pause)

Now, thank your companion Sister for the blessings of this time together and, if you wish, invite her to continue to be with you in SPIRIT. .

And so, feeling peaceful, knowing that you can be with this Sister Companion whenever you wish…… (pause) You begin to separate from her.

Attend to your breathing… and thank your heart space for “holding you” and your Sister Companion.

Now, gently allow your breathing to bring you back to this place and this time. AMEN.

(You may wish to simply pray or to journal as you further reflect on this experience.)

Sister Anne Marie Diederich