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Srs. Peggy Doyle & Mary Ann Rossi

Recently, a group of Congregation of Notre Dame sisters in the Norwalk area joined Sr. Sally Norcross at St Matthew Church, Sally’s parish, for a session of the “Underground Church.” The type of worship offered at these gatherings seems to attract young adults, so we went. I had invited Karen, a young woman (19 years old) from Sisters Pat McCarthy and Rose Mary Sullivan’s parish to join us there. She came with a few of her friends. We share our experiences and theirs because it seems to show the different styles of spirituality between the generations! At one of our General Chapters, the question was asked about Vocation Ministry: “What oceans do we need to cross to reach women who may be called to Religious Life?” I believe that being open to different types of spirituality and prayer may be one of them!! Let us tell you about the evening.

The evening began with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with hymns in Latin and the chanting of vespers led by two young adults. Participation from the Congregation was minimal. The second half of the “Holy Hour” was continuous music from the two leaders. There was one reading on the genealogy of Jesus. The hour concluded with Benediction, again in Latin. Following the prayer, we had a half hour of beautiful polyphony (Marian Hymns composed during the time of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.) After that, we were invited to participate in Night Prayer. The Sisters chose to leave as did Karen and her friends.

Meeting them at the door, we asked if they had enjoyed the evening. One young woman answered that the Holy Hour had been “so peaceful.” Obviously while we were hoping for silence, she was satisfied with the music provided by the guitarists and the vocalists. Perhaps getting away from the hectic life, the cell phones, the constant texting and social media communication was a dramatic change for her. We didn’t ask about the polyphony which nurtured us.

Just before Christmas, I invited Karen to help out at a soup kitchen where the parishioners from St. Jerome’s Parish (Sisters Mary Anne Powers and Betty King worship there.) make and serve a meal once a month. As we chopped the veggies, I shared with them that “the sisters” would have liked more silence during the recent Holy Hour. Karen replied that often the Holy Hour includes the recitation of the Rosary and quiet time. The three young adults, Karen and her two male friends, seem to like that format too.

The women who organized the meal were very impressed with the young adults; they served generously and patiently. I was grateful to see another side of these young adults. Mary Ann Rossi offered to organize some activities for Karen and her friends. I pray to be open to their needs, their prayer styles, etc. One consolation, Sister Patricia McCarthy has already volunteered to be part of their hiking expeditions!

 

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