|Connecting the Voices of Younger
- by Lori Golaszewski
When Cindy Broderick, OP, gets together with friends from other religious congregations, she's often teased about her "Dominican-ness." Indeed, the call to preach and to study permeates Sister Cindy's life, and nowhere was this charism more apparent than at Giving Voice, the national conference for women religious under 50.
This past July in Cleveland, Sister Cindy came together with nearly 200 sisters to "Proclaim and Rejoice" their shared experiences of religious life, the challenges they face and their hopes for the future. Sister Cindy not only participated in the conference, she helped to plan it.
"We focused on the visitation passage in Luke's Gospel where Mary and Elizabeth rejoice in each other and proclaim the great things God is doing in their lives," Sister Cindy explained. "As a planning team, we wanted participants to have an opportunity to share with one another the amazing things God is doing in their lives and in religious life."
"We also wanted to begin planting seeds within younger religious about defining for ourselves what it means to be a religious in the world today, in light of the cultures we have been raised in and the ideals which we share," she continued. "We feel the only way to really begin to articulate a contemporary theology of religious life for new/younger members is to gather them together and give them an opportunity to share their stories and become a support for one another."
That support, along with the camaraderie that results from being with younger members who "walk in shoes similar to my own," is what Sister Cindy relishes most about her involvement with Giving Voice. In her religious counterparts she has found great friends who share in her dreams and struggles, and who are a great source of fun and laughter. "They encourage and challenge me in ways that are different from my Adrian sisters," Sister Cindy noted. "I have found this group to be very life giving."
Sister Cindy also has discovered that being with sisters from other congregations and who have different charisms helps to reaffirm her own Dominican vocation. "I begin to see more clearly why I am a Dominican," she said. "Preaching and study are two of the characteristics of the Dominican family that attracted me, and I felt enormous affirmation from the conference participants after my preaching at the closing liturgy."