We had just finished our small group discussions about our founder St. Angela Merici’s vision and the ways we continue to expand circles, and I had been elected to report our table’s insights to the larger group. I looked out at the crowd gathered before me, over two-hundred members of the international Ursuline community, including vowed religious, associates, and companions from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and India. Most of them have been living the Gospel and the charism of Angela since before I was born, yet here I stood humbly before them, and they listened.
Friday’s featured speaker Sr. Sue Scharfenberger, OSU, compared the notion of “community” to a circle. Each of the points on a circle are equidistant, and any two points on a circle can be connected by a chord. The image resonated with my experience with the Ursulines of Youngstown, as well as with the participants at the convention. Regardless of a person’s title—sister, associate, friend—I felt an affinity with each person I met. Our relationship with the community might be different, but we shared a common connection: Angela. On an elevator ride Saturday afternoon, one of the sisters asked me if I was enjoying the convention, and I told her I’d met many interesting people. She replied, “You’ll find that those conversations are not a fringe benefit but one of the main enrichments of events like this.” Truly, I learned as much from the planned events and discussions as I did from the spontaneous meetings—conversations at lunch, at various vendor booths, or on the bus ride to the Reds baseball game.
There is no real beginning and no real ending. It is all part of the circle—a circle which continues to expand.
Originally published on July 10, 2013 on the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown Blog