Two powerful talks by Sister Clara Schroeder and Mary Weiss. I can honestly say that I came to School of Leaders exhausted but left refreshed.
We started the evening off with prayer and meditation led by Pat Ivanko. Then, after having small group reunion, we heard Sister Clara talk about Spiritual Direction. She had us with ‘spiritual direction being a journey where we walk with a director who encourages a closer walk with Christ’. Many times over the past year or so, we have heard about our Fourth Day being a journey. Sister went on to note that a spiritual director helps the directee to recognize God in the everyday. Routinely we are able to see His presence in the awesome, the sun peeking through the clouds, looking into the face of new born or a loved one, but we can get so busy that we miss Him in the everyday events of our lives.
Sister Clara shared with us what spiritual direction had been in the past and how it had changed. At one point spiritual direction was very directive. The spiritual director would listen and then tell the directee what they needed to do, but that is no longer the normal practice for spiritual direction. Today it is a journey where, the spiritual director listens to the directee and discerns question that will help the directee into a deeper relationship with God. Some of the world’s religions see spiritual direction in much the same way as Catholics do. Spiritual directors helps others—individuals or groups to see God working in their lives even in the simplest of events.
Sister Clara reminded us of the words of James asking, “What good is faith without works?” Faith is evident in our prayer. Our willingness to talk to God about everything—our hopes, our needs our fears, what needs to be changed in our lives. We seek answers to all of our questions in prayer and our answers can come through prayer. But once we have discerned what we need to do, we must then act on faith and be willing to follow Gods will for us.
Spiritual directors walk with us on our journey toward a closer relationship with God, pointing out God’s presence when we are unable to see His working in our life. And as a companion on that journey they can be that loving reminder of where we are and how far we have come, and can encourage us on. Sister Clara also reminded us, that when we seek a spiritual director to look for one who also seeks spiritual direction.
Mary Weis then provided the talk on Leadership as a Vocation. Initially, Mary spoke about characteristics often seen in a leader, e.g. assertive, bold, and confident. Immediately, I thought about Presidents like Lincoln, and military leaders in our history. Mary also mentioned other leaders like Steve Jobs. But then she added other traits of a leader, such as, compassion, humility, charity and others. Immediately, Mother Theresa came to mind. Two very different sets of traits belonging to very different types of leaders; Mother Theresa was bold but her boldness came from her inner strength and not the power she wielded.
Mary shared that she had been both kinds of leaders. She had authority over people and when she asked for something to be done, it was done. But after making her Cursillo, her leadership style changed—assertiveness mixed with compassion and charity, boldness and confident mixed with humility. She still wanted things done properly but she also wanted to know more about the people who were doing what she asked.
Mary reminded us of St Francis who could have been a very powerful and prominent leader in the town of Assisi but chose another path. Had he followed the path that was available to him, his name might have made one sentence in a paragraph in the history books. However by leaving all that wealth and power behind he founded a religious order and is one of the most well-known Saints.
These few notes do not do the talks and follow up discussion justice. We ended the evening with a meditational song and prayer led again by Pat Ivanko. Between the two talks, Pat was installed as the new Liturgist for Trenton Cursillo replacing Robert Lauricella. Please join me in welcoming Pat as out new Liturgist and thanking Robert for making the School of Leaders, and Masses joyous occasions.
Before the evening ended Ronnie gave the news that several of the candidates for the upcoming women’s weekend have said that they could not attend. She reminded the community that if we are going to have a weekend in November we need additional candidates and would be reaching out to the Ultreyas for any names they may have. Although this was sobering news, it didn’t change the spirit of the evening. Yes we have our work cut out for us, but God is with us. He definitely was in the room with us at School of Leaders. I can only say that you should have been there!
God bless, Decolores