Waiting in Mindful Hope is the title of a book by Martina Lehane Sheehan and her reflections have caught my attention. She offers three vital movements in the spiritual life: waiting, mindfulness and hope! She suggests that these are at the cornerstone of authentic living. During this new year we, Dominican Sisters of Hope, embrace the memory of our Founding and desire to step into the reality of the present moment open to “the more” that God will reveal. Hope is enlivening openness to the possibilities that can move through us and fill us. We trust that we can wait in mindful hope because we believe that the Spirit will continue to lead us. “To have eyes of hope,” Sheehan writes, “ is to look for the miracle of new growth in the most barren of circumstances and to wait for the flicker of light when we walk through the valleys of darkness.”
Just three years after our founding as Hope, I celebrated my Silver Jubilee while serving as Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Parish in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Good friends, with whom I had served on team in the Teens / Twenties Encounter Christ Retreat Movement, traveled a distance to be at the celebration joining my parishioners, my Dominican Sisters and my family. They gifted me with my Invitation beautifully framed which still hangs in my home. I pass by it daily but recently read it carefully for details. At the top of the invitation was a quote from Sister Joan Chittister OSB who was then, and still is, one of my heroes! It reads:
Hope sends us dancing around dark corners trusting in a tomorrow we cannot see!
We indeed danced and sang and celebrated at the liturgy and reception that day but the joy and the journey since have truly been framed by her words. She reminds us that Hope takes life on its own terms and knows that whatever happens – God lives in it. Ultimately it will yield it’s good to those who live it well. Our Mission of Hope has and will take us where we do not expect, individually and as a congregation. The dark corners are ever present, yet the Spirit invites us to wait in mindful hope. I have found the challenges of my ministry, then and now, to be that of preaching hope and being a bearer of hope to those I encounter along the way. We enter into mystery! We need not know where it is all going. Rather, we need to attend to the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment and embrace them with courage, faith and hope. Yes, we must continue to dance!
At 3 pm on July 20, 1995 the Dominican Sisters of Hope were founded. On July 20, 2019, we began our 25th year since our founding. We declare a YEAR OF HOPE! In celebration, we will share a reflection on the 20th of every month. This is the sixth reflection in this series. Read all reflections here.
This reflection was written by
Dominican Sister of Hope Connie Koch, OP
Dominican Sister of Hope Connie Koch, OP has served as a teacher and a parish minister. During her sixteen years in parish ministry, her ministry included facilitating youth ministry with West Point cadets and directing local Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (a formation program for adults who want to become Catholic) chapters. Sister Connie now lives in Mount Vernon, NY.
Thanks, Connie for your spirit filled and hopeful reflection. I was delighted to read your quote from Joan Chittister, whom I believe is a beacon of hope in the Church today. A group of us at the Paulist Center in Boston have nominated her for the Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice; an honor she so rightly deserves. Let us pray for and with each other as we remain mindful in hope!