Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Destination Retreat: Why Do I Do What I Do? Part 1

This past weekend (March 23-25) I participated in a retreat that was facilitated by Sr. Mary Ann Meyer and Sr. Jeanne Schweickert. Sr. Mary Ann is currently our Director of New Membership and walks with women who are discerning a call to religious life and through the affiliate stage of membership. Sr. Jeanne, one of the great "wisdom women" in my life, was her partner in crime...oops...I meant in spirit. How did that slip? They were really excellent together; it was a great weekend! That's a picture of Sister Jeanne and me.

The retreat was primarily focused on women who have been discerning religious life with us for a while, but I was invited to participate too! How cool is that?! I LOVE retreats! The title of the retreat was Why Do I Do What I Do. We spent the weekend looking at our personal passions and giftedness. This was the groundwork for developing a "personal mission statement" which then transformed into a "vision statement" in how we'd like to live out our mission statement in 5 years. We also spent some time with the SSSF mission statement (if you follow the link; our mission statement is the 2nd paragraph.) and explored connections among the mission of the SSSF and our personal mission.

OK...I'll set the context in this post...and I'll get to the juicier details of my thoughts and reactions in the next one..okie dokie?

We began Friday evening with a meditation on the SSSF mission statement and an awareness of how we are a part of the world. We discussed what affects us in the world and what gives us hope. Saturday was a big "SELF DAY" (ugh..just kidding...well...sort of) We started with our passions. What are we passionate about? What is it that we get up in the morning for? What is it that draws energy for us? What would we die for/LIVE for?

We were asked to bring a symbol of something we were passionate about. I brought my Tau Cross (see Nunspeak). As soon as I read the homework, I knew that would be my symbol.

C'mon...it's a symbol of my LIFE...it's truly why I get up in the morning, I give thanks for the community, I have tremendous energy about the commitment, AND yes I would die for it and I LIVE for it everyday! I'm passionate...can you blame me?

This picture is of our prayer space which was home to our symbols and others symbols important for the weekend themes.

After we talked about our passion symbols we reflected on our giftedness. Then we had to pick 4 of our "top gifts" and create a shield using symbols for each gift. This picture is me talking about my shield/gifts (please...note that ARTISTIC is NOT one of my gifts!)

Then we were onto developing our "personal mission" statements. I LOVED the first part of this process...we got LISTS (oooo ahhhh) of action verbs that we had to pick. Then we picked the two core values which we believe in. Finally, the "group" or "focus" for our mission. All of these plugged into our mission statement. After we squirmed a bit about our mission statements we were sent of into the land of visioning...and were to create our "Vision" for 5 years from now.

Our mission is what is our driving life-force. Something that relates to our deepest passions and the vision is how we live that out. The mission (once you figure out what it is) probably won't change much as those passions and desires are embedded in you. The vision may change and/or shift over time, but should relate to your mission. It was really a great self-discovery/processing tool (Ah ha! Welcome to the world of Religious Life..just when you think you've discerned enough..BAM).

One more photo experience for your viewing pleasure. This is the retreat group (sans Sr. Mary Ann who refused to get in the pictures) me and Sister Jeanne and the two women who are discerning with us SSSFs. Yay for a great weekend! Yay for a thought-provoking retreat! Yay for our super-duper facilitators. Mahhhhvelous!

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