Sisters Under 50 Attend Giving Voice Conference


giving voice

We told our stories, that's all. We sat and listened to each other and heart the journeys of each soul.

The Sharing, Edwina Gateley

This story-sharing theme set the context as 18 sisters in their twenties and thirties from fifteen different congregations gathered in Phoenix, Az. for a retreat that was much more than a quiet weekend with God.

Giving Voice, a national organization for sisters under fifty, sponsors this unique experience annually over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Peer planned and led, the three days were filled with listening, dreaming, resonating, and a great deal of laughing.

Prayer sessions invited the women to explore God speaking in their hearts and through the experiences of their peers in answers to these and similar questions: What are the joys and sorrows of your life? What do you experience stirring a depth of longing, pulling you silently to your feet? What dreams do you have? The shared answers to these questions spoke to a deep commitment to religious life and to the world in which it is held.

From safe houses and tattoo removal for prostitutes, to social media and evangelization tools for young adults adrift, to holistic wellness opportunities for the poor, and inter-congregational committees for creation, participants dreamed themselves to the edges of neighborhoods in a circle of support and possibility.

While being honest about the struggles that sisters in their twenties and thirties face as such a small minority, the uncertainty of the future was described as "beautiful and profound." This capable, inspired, called group spoke with gratitude and love for their communities while simultaneously longing to create their own lives and the stories they know are waiting to be written.

In each brave and lonely story, God's gentle life broke through. We felt the budding of creation in the searchings of each soul. We told our stories, that's all.

The Sharing, Edwina Gateley

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