Patience: 2 Peter 3:8-10

“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.”

Like many of my sisters and brothers in Christ, I am taking a break for Advent, trying to make some space in my life just to listen.  While praying Friday night vespers to Mary, Mother Immaculate, la Virgen de Guadalupe, with friends at the college last weekend, this passage from the second letter of Peter got a hold of my imagination.  Lately I’ve been studying Paul, both trying to understand the early Christian communities better and trying to reconcile personally with Paul himself, to understand his mind and his priorities as a missionary who had a deep conversion experience of the Risen Jesus.

As Paul made his impassioned visits to Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Thessalonia, Jerusalem, and beyond, he was animated by the expectation that the world would end soon.  God’s reign was coming!  Meanwhile Peter, the Rock, who so often errs in the Gospel narratives, seems to have it right here.  God’s rhythms are surprising to human beings.  Sometimes too slow for our taste, sometimes breathtakingly fast, a conflagration, an earthquake of change.  But, it seems, with an all-expansive logic: that all should come to awareness, that all should be saved.  Goats with sheep, demons with angels, lions with lambs, sinners with saints, wheat and chaff together.  God doesn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

In this spirit of patience and listening, I share with you a spiritual journal entry from 14 weeks ago, the 3rd of September.  Much has happened since then in our world, but the vision is the same:

3 September 2016 , Saturday night

I spent the day entirely by myself, except for the people I saw on walks and in transactions – and of course a few text exchanges.  It was nice, after a full weekend and week with others.I’ve noticed some unrest in my heart and gut lately – some sense of discomfort, openness – like grasping at air, or dangling.  The new wines, old wineskins parable has been in my thoughts frequently.  Sometimes moments that were uncomfortable, or indeterminate, play over and over again in my mind.  It’s like I’m trying to figure out what to make of them – how they fit into my story of myself, the story of who I am and where I’m going.  Sometimes they are moments when I was vulnerable, or revealed in some way.  It was like that at the end of my conversation with Z on Tuesday – we talked about various options for action and questions of what to do next, most of which were the same options and questions as in our conversation in January 2015 – write an article for America or Commonweal, use Facebook or Twitter or create a blog, and decide whether I am trying to convene a discernment group, or an action committee, or a grassroots movement that will bring the reality of Jesuit-called women more into public language and discussion.  

The same questions for my training also came up – how can I acquire the training, the knowledge, the connections and skills to suit me for this organizing work?  I do not have them yet.  I want a Masters in Philosophy (First Studies), an MDiv, and a PhD in theology.  Altogether, probably about $350,000 and 11 years of training, of life lived.  And yet I can’t wait to do the work – I need to be doing it now with an open heart, even if I find myself inexperienced and not as qualified as I’d like to be for the job.  I want to practice discernment with guidance and companionship.  That is probably the core skill needed in order to seek God’s leadership in this, along with the ability to have some detachment from my thoughts as they pass.

And also, as before, I was asked by Z, “What are you trying to do?” with my writing, as well as “What does the Society of Jesus have to offer you that women’s orders modeled on its constitutions or employing Ignatian spirituality, do not?”

At this moment, one answer I could give is “freedom, mobility, investment, and equal opportunity.”  Another simple-minded answer I might give is, “to be a Jesuit.”  To give my life to Jesuit apostolates, with the support of Jesuit structures, missioning, and community life.  It rings true.

And what am I trying to do with my writing?  I am trying to get Jesuit women in one place, to share energy, ideas, and prayer – to seek God’s will, God’s dream for us, together.  Right now, the women who want to be Jesuits are called to a form of spiritual life that may not yet exist.  (This is where I need to be really flexible and open to the movements of life that spring up as my writing stimulates discussion – I need to be open to movements and ideas that do not look like my exact vision, because the Holy Ghost, with her bright wings, is in these.)

Not only a form of spiritual life, but a particular form of training and community that will allow us to become bridge-builders in the Church – willing to engage with and abide by traditions, while remaining merciful, open, learning in all forums and all environments in which we find ourselves.  We need to be well-grounded in traditions of theology and philosophy, as well as art, popular culture, politics, and personal experience, in order to be able to bridge-build in this way.  

The work is already being done by so many – all that we need is each other, that connection with each other, to embody the relational God who is loving us constantly and mutually, into what we will next become.  A way of organizing ourselves, a name, a container, will be like a lamp for the flame, a lens gathering the light, to make it more powerful, more clear, more purposeful, more of use.  For the Greater glory of God.

In order to be a vessel for this, I really need to be able to let myself go.  To look after the needs of others co-equally with my own.  To listen, even to what I think is impossible from past experience, like Peter with the nets.  He still cast, even in his disbelief.

I felt so vulnerable at the end of that conversation with Z – I didn’t know what to say, and my words had revealed that I still desire most of all to be like Ignatius – and also, that I think I can be – that I could gather a group of companions willing to embark on a journey together that is both simple in purpose and deeply mysterious – that will be open to and guided by the Holy Spirit, by Hagia Sophia, our God relational and spacious.

Exposed like this, I had no words left.  I could only look at him silently.  I could feel my deer-in-the-headlights look.  ‘See you, sweetie,’ he said, maybe feeling a little sorry for me.

I might need to get used to that look, if I am really committed to persevering in this.  As L said, it is important not to look at this or present it as one person’s idea, but as a movement of that Spirit (‘which, of course, it is,’ she said).  It will help me, in those moments, to remember that my idea is not so much a radical inspiration from one person, as one springing, of many, of God’s idea.  And that in expressing it, I am ushering in this thought or dream of God’s, with others.  I am only helping to enrich, gather, focus an idea, a movement that is like water, welling up – like wind, sweeping through, picking up.  There is no way I can own it, but I can let myself be moved by it, and in turn move others.

All this makes me think of the old man I saw in his bright purple wide-legged suit and fedora at St. Mark’s coffee shop.  With his presence, being kind, blessing sneezes, saying hello, and watching people.  Walking in, walking out – just being present, just willing to belong.


Non dualism: Luke 14:21-23

Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’

The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and the hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.’

In this parable, Jesus presents God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, as a man who throws a great feast.  Those invited to the feast beg off, each with his own excuse ranging from the mundane, to the lame, to the racy, to the downright mysterious.  The host, angrily realizing that none of the invited are disposed to come and enjoy his hospitality, sends out a messenger to all the untouchables in town.  When the banquet hall is full of those most rejected by society, there is still room!

So he goes out to the highways and the hedgerows to bring in anyone and everyone to his dinner party.  Imagine who might be out there…a wealthy landowner overseeing the pruning of his hedgerows?  An alcoholic, sleeping underneath the same row?  A woman with her wash coming back from the river?  A noblewoman in a litter, being carried by six servants.  A little girl, running home from the fields with her brother.  A burglar, a con-artist, a highway robber.  A tired traveler grateful for the unexpected meal.

Leaving aside for a moment the question of the invited ones who declined, let’s look at who ends up in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The answer is, everybody.  E v e r y b o d y, in the end, is invited.  This is Church.  Instead of in groups and out groups, we are one group, one body.  As Christian women and men, we have cared about this image for a long time, ever since Christ described the Kingdom of Heaven this way.  And as Jesuit men and women, particularly, we have asked ourselves how to extend this kind of open invitation to God’s table.

Another way of describing this Christian invitation is non-dualism.  We focus not on me/you, them/us, either/or, but both/and.  Over the course of a dedicated Christian life, the concept of “we” widens, and broadens, and deepens.  As Jesus did in his ministry, we go out to what we perceive as the margins, pushing the very boundaries of “we,” and finding God’s love already there.  This kind of magnanimity should feel great, right?

It is certainly great, but that doesn’t mean it always feels great.  The non-dualism of a Jesuit life can be very painful and difficult, and at times confusing.  The margin is not always easy to locate, not always predictable.  It is also different for each of us.  I often find myself suddenly at the margins when I hear the thought inside, “That is not me.  That is not who I am.”  But in trying to imitate Jesus, I find that a non dualistic approach does not mean erasing or rejecting the apparent contrasts and contradictions of life.  It simply means developing a kind of ‘homing’ instinct for God’s mercy, love, and creative Spirit, alive at the heart of them.

The mark of non dualism is all over a Jesuit life.  We could talk about politics and civic engagement – and likely we will, soon!  But I want to start with the non dualism of a more grounding reality: funerals.  At the small Jesuit university I call home, campus ministry stages many funerals for the members of our extended family.  Earlier this year I helped with the enormous state funeral of a university benefactor, who gave land worth millions of dollars to fund a service program that weekly connects people who live and study here with people who have no homes, living on our streets.  At this funeral, all the men from the Jesuit community attended and concelebrated, and the church was packed with the Who’s Who of the city.  The funeral was grandiose, and also beautiful and meaningful, even from the back of the cathedral choir loft.  After the closing song, we all filed out and drove over to the local country club for an elegant reception and story-telling session.

Later in the year, I assisted with the funeral of a young woman, a recent graduate of our college who, having lost her parents early in life, had no immediate family to sponsor a funeral.  This woman, throughout her life, had confronted her own feelings of smallness, inadequacy and marginalization, and with her presence, her love, her words and her networking, spurred the re-invigoration of our struggling campus diversity and inclusion initiative.  Her funeral was small and intimate, deeply felt and deeply prayed.  It was very simple.  No  men from the Jesuit community came or concelebrated, yet almost the whole University Ministry office was there.  After the service, there was a spontaneous vigil of nearly an hour as her friends, teachers, and collaborators stayed around a blue and white urn and a smiling picture of her, sometimes coming up to pray silently by the little altar.  The pianist, seeing what was happening, just played and played until everyone was finished and went to eat together on campus.

As I reflected on the contrast between these two Jesuit funerals, both beautiful, I was tempted to say of the millionaire and his state funeral, “That is not me. That is not who I am.”  I was also tempted to say of the student’s funeral and her dear friends and colleagues, “Is this who I am?  Do I belong here?”  God keeps answering, “Yes, that is who you are.  And that, and that.  And yes, you belong here.”  In funeral after funeral, I have seen us honor lives lived in sometimes vastly different circumstances, with the resources available and in accord with what is requested.

I have come to see this feast of the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, this feast that extends out to the highways and hedgerows, as a real experiment.  In the Jesuit experiment, the Christian experiment, we do not expect to achieve our values and ideals.  They are, in fact, impossible to achieve.  Instead we seek to embody the invitation more fully, and in doing so dig ourselves deeper and deeper into the humbling hole of being loved unconditionally, and able to accomplish anything good through grace alone, through the power of that homing instinct for receiving and offering mercy.

I bring to the table my agenda, my ambition, my self-clinging, my armor.  It is, in fact, exactly what brings me – and then it is shaped, worn, smoothed, tempered and polished away.  Jesuit women are called to the table by our hopes and desires – the hope of being highly trained, invested in, supported, mentored, and missioned – the desire, one day, to be able to speak with true authority – not coercive, but legitimate – into the sacred spaces and decision-making counsels of our Church.  We come to the table and watch our agendas dissolve into the reality of mission, the reality of obedience to the real needs of the Church in all her apparent contradictions, her evolving perfection.

It’s a painful process, a dying process, but cheerful too.  As an American, and a music lover, I always hear this scripture with a song:

In the highways and the hedges,

in the highways and the hedges,

in the highways and the hedges,

I’ll be somewhere a workin’ for my Lord.


The Big Question: Mark 7: 27-29

He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first.  For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.’

She replied and said to him, ‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’

Then he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go.  The demon has gone out of your daughter.’

This entry is dedicated to two feisty professors in the small Jesuit college that I call home.  The first is a Jesuit woman who hosts civic dialogues that I like to participate in.  Called to the Society of Jesus at a young age, she has elegantly, achingly, joyfully, and wryly persevered for 20 years in her vocation to service, piety, and community.  She asks in her scholarship and with her life: what does it mean to be Church?

The second is a Jesuit man, who teaches a Scripture class that I like to sit in on.  He put off his own call for about a decade before acknowledging it, and has persevered gracefully, achingly, joyfully, and goofily in the decade since.  He asks in his classroom and with his life: who is Jesus, and how are we being formed as his companions, with Ignatius to guide us?

Recently, these two have offered a couple of new behaviors that I’m trying on for size:  1) to sit longest with the passages of Scripture that I find the most uncomfortable; and 2) to care about questions that I don’t understand.

First, then, the Scripture.  Jesus speaks here with a Greek woman, a Syro-Phoenician, who has sought him out in a moment of retirement to ask him to heal her daughter.  His response?  My mission is to my people, the Jewish people – not to the Gentiles.  As my Jesuit man professor pointed out, the language Jesus uses seems incredibly insulting.  He basically calls her a bitch, though the word likely lacked the particular charge and layers of meaning that it carries for a 21st century woman in America.

What does the Syro-Phoenician woman say in response?  Instead of getting stuck on the ‘bitch’ part, she uses Jesus’ metaphor to make her own point: ‘Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’  And Jesus, sinless Son of God that he is, catches her drift.  His reply echoes a frequent theme of the Gospels, as the completely human and completely divine Jesus journeys into his own self-understanding.  For saying this, you may go home – your daughter is healed, he tells her.  But what he seems to mean is, your faith has saved you.  Go now, and enjoy the fruits of your own trust in God.    And so his mission widens, and deepens. (And I’ll have to keep on sitting with this Scripture.)

Second, then, to that question that I don’t understand, am maybe reluctant to understand, but still care about.  Why did Ignatius intentionally preclude the possibility of an institutional women’s branch of the Society of Jesus?  Why, knowing all of the women who felt called and would feel called to the way of life he was suggesting, did he petition the Pope not to let them do it in his Company?  How could what feels like such an arm-bar be, perhaps, a fruitful decision, in both the short and the long run?

Though I can’t answer my own question thoroughly right now, I can offer a few  suggestions for discussion and investigation.  For one, as we have read, this ban was politically, socially, and psychologically expedient for the young Society of Jesus.  It restored a sense of unity and freedom of identity to Jesuit men, and unburdened the Society of Jesus from being required to devote time and energy to conventional relationships between male and female religious.  Second, in the centuries that followed, this decision allowed the foundresses of Ignatian women’s religious orders to successively renew both the Jesuit Constitutions and the Church, each in her own way and according to the needs of her own time.  “Jesuit” and “Ignatian” are not synonymous, as we can discuss later.  But the development of large, independent Ignatian women’s religious orders was a major positive outgrowth of Ignatius’ original ban on women.

(As a side note to this point on Ignatian women’s orders, it is very interesting to compare the numbers of SJ today with the numbers in women’s orders founded at least in part on the Jesuit constitutions, or formed in Ignatian spirituality.  First, take the orders of sisters with an explicitly Jesuit rule: according to the websites of each order, there are an estimated 14,000 CSJ, 2,600 RSCJ, 2000 CJ, and at least 500 RVM in the world as of 2015.  Add to these women the rc, MSC, and other Ignatian-inspired orders I have certainly missed, and we have 19,000+ daughters of Ignatius in formation and ministry as we speak.  This represents a very healthy and diverse counterpoint to their brothers, the just under 18,000 Jesuit men in formation and ministry today.)

And we have not spoken yet of another group of women very close to my heart, whom I call Jesuit women.  Ignatius’ decision puts us in an interesting place in this time, in this sea-change Church.  At times in our Church, we have felt like the proverbial dogs under the table.  But by not taking conventional responsibility for women called to his way of life, way back when, Ignatius also created some space – space to move, and speak, and breathe, and choose.  Space to think, to write, to listen and minister in creative ways.  Space to explore, without a definite bureaucratic identity and its corresponding red tape.  We know the frustration and sense of impoverishment that can come with no fixed identity, but do we also realize the freedom and creative potential of that space?

It’s up to us to inhabit that space and that freedom now.  What does the Pope mean when he says, Mary is more important than the Bishops?  What does he mean when he calls for a greater and deeper role for Catholic women that is not clericalized, and for a prominent feminine genius that is not tied to women alone?  The Pope is a man who is willing to be really guided by the Holy Spirit, even when she leads to challenging places.  So what is the Holy Spirit trying to tell us through this Pope?  Jesuit women need to get together and find out.  My question is, what are the needs of our changing Church, and how can Jesuit women gather, discern, focus, and organize to meet those needs?


Invisibility and Visibility: 2 Corinthians 4:16,18

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather,

although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day,

as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;

for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

Our world privileges the visible.  It is an intense, almost desperate process of reification.  This bias impacts how we spend our time, how we spend our money, how we spend our energy both individually and communally.  Sometimes I can feel my fingernails muddy, bloody with struggle, trying to claw my way out of the grave by holding on to the images, concepts, and experiences that cross my path.  In these moments of suffering, I cling hard to my family, I cling to my friends, I cling to my work identity and my church identity, I cling to ideas about who I ought to be, and how others ought to see me.  Maybe you’ve had this experience, too.

I’ve also seen in myself and others how, when we recognize this human over-commitment to visibility, and the suffering it creates – when we first conceive that it is not the only way to live, we feel both excited and duped, even pissed off.  “Who has been pulling the wool over my inner eyes all this time?” we might yell, looking around for the culprit.  Caught by anger, the close cousin of clarity, we might commit an understandable error as we try for a while to chuck the visible.  Give me the invisible!  The spiritual, that’s what matters!  Down with the visible.

But here is our Creed: “I believe in one God…Maker of all things visible and invisible.”  God made and breathes love into all things, all thoughts, all experience, all space.  Our work becomes, to attend closely to the invisible while loving the visible for what it is:  luminous, impermanent, changing, and imbued with Godself, saturated and alive with love.

There is wisdom for Jesuit people, and particularly Jesuit women, in this.  Our father and founder, Ignatius, gifted us with the notion of non-attachment, intending that we not suffer or cause others to suffer from clinging to health or sickness, wealth or poverty, honor or dishonor, a long life or a short one.  Let us add to that list, visibility or invisibility.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both!  Typically the mind really appreciates her visibility, and the soul, her invisibility.  But sometimes to thrive, the soul must manifest visibly, and the mind needs to be invisible for a while, in order to freely work out a particularly thorny problem.  Sometimes it is easier to serve God’s purposes with high visibility, and sometimes much easier to do that from a position of invisibility.

How, as Jesuit women, can we learn to accept and employ both our invisibility and our visibility?  How can we live skillfully, letting each state draw us closer to God as we discern and give life to both the greater, and the deeper good?


Forgiveness: Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter approached and asked him,

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?  As many as seven times?”

Jesus answered, I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

I love this passage, and it really challenges me.  How many times, Jesus?  Among all the different translations of this line, there are two versions of the number:  77 and 70 x 7.  I really like 70 x 7.  490 times!  With a symbolic flavor of eternity!  This, in contrast with common wisdom: “Fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me.”  I am often very afraid of being fooled, of being shamed.  I avoid it at all costs.  Peter, like me, is stretching the limits of his imagination on this point.  We can almost hear his mind working: if someone repeatedly said harsh or condescending words to him, or beat him up, or ignored his need, or stole from him, or betrayed him, what would be the outer limit of reasonable forgiveness?  Jesus suggests that there is no outer limit.  He points to a deeper truth.  What is that truth, and how can it apply to Jesuit women?  Here’s one take, in the words of comedian Erma Bombeck:

“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.”

A Jesuit man has never committed any of the above sins against me.  In fact, they are pretty wonderful guys, all said.  The following generalizations are widely held among women I know, when we speak of Jesuit men: Jesuit priests are safe and supportive confessors for women of faith, and brothers and priests are good collaborators in both professional and spiritual settings.  These men don’t seem quite as frightened of women as some churchmen.  They make intentional space in their apostolates and publications for women’s perspectives.  They use gender-inclusive language.  The Society of Jesus also formally allied itself with women during its 34th General Congregation of 1995.  (This is a beautiful document, if you haven’t read it.  Get ready to feel proud and inspired!) Jesuit men are, by-and-large, sweet, kind, creatively supportive, and respectful guys.

But for Jesuit women, that is, for women who begin to feel called to the Jesuit way of life, there is a painful undercurrent to this praise.  Early in its history, the Society of Jesus formally excluded women from fully sharing in its identity and mission.  The reason given in the petition, made by Saint Ignatius himself to the Pope, was practical: that religious women’s lack of mobility would be a hindrance to the works of the Society, and “the care of women religious,” including our spiritual needs, would demand too much of the men’s time and energy.  Jesuit men can be “for” us, but not “with” us, in this model.  The formal exclusion continues, and can feel like an oft-repeated kick in the gut as we work, recreate, learn, and pray in Jesuit institutions. We watch as our brother Jesuits travel a path of formation that we desire to walk, with all of its sacrifices, and all of its supports.  We are even asked to evaluate them as they travel.  But we are not asked to walk the path, to run the race, to deeply co-create.  In Jesuit institutions, when we talk about “vocations,” we are almost invariably talking about men’s vocations.  And the most painful part is, that there is some element of actually believing that the men matter more, that this whole thing would fall apart without them, when the whole truth is, it would fall apart without us, too.  We are the secret Society of Jesus.

It is good to inquire into the complexity and contradictions of both our history and our present reality as Jesuit women.   But it’s only the first step.  To really see clearly and choose freely, we need to forgive Jesuit men.  Our minds have spent much time pondering our brothers, and our mouths have spent many words both in praise and admiration, and in giving them a (sometimes very) hard time – needling them for the perceived good fortune of being so invested in, so resourced, so trained, so believed and so listened to, so admired, so published, so humble, so funny, so mobile, so right, so real, so “sent” – so et cetera.  So human.

Admiring, envying, needling – but I ask myself, what about forgiving my brothers?  What about forgiving my Church, my world?  What about asking forgiveness for myself, to myself, and within myself, for sometimes buying into the notion that any formal petition to a Pope could possibly exclude me from true conversion, from the call to human flourishing and the priesthood of my baptism?  I hypothesize that you have felt as I do, albeit in your own way; that maybe you have already entered this process of forgiveness; and that we might be agents of healing and inspiration to one another.

If Jesuit women are willing to forgive Jesuit men, again, again, again, then each forgiveness is an act of faith in the invisible.  Each attempt to forgive these sweet, flawed, ambitious guys and our sweet, flawed, ambitious selves is an act of hope – a step out of the hope for a different past, and into the hope of a future better than we can imagine.

Ok, Jesus.  77.  70 x 7.  Like Peter, I start today.


I Have Called You, You Are Mine: Isaiah 43:19

See, I am doing something new!  

Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

~Is 43:19

Dear Jesuit women, this is how I began to seek you in earnest.

I am standing in the Retreat House Sacristy, sandwiched between a serious young Jesuit father and a polite young Jesuit scholastic I’ve just met. We’ve reviewed the words and movements of the Angelus, and are about to step out to lead evening prayer.

“Any last thoughts?” says my new friend the father.

There is a stirring, a high energy in my heart. “What do you two think about Jesuit sisters?” I whisper excitedly. My words meet widened eyes. “Well, now you’ve opened the real can of worms!” father says, half rueful, half laughing. In the 30 seconds of authentic (if abbreviated) conversation that ensue, I learn more about a Jesuit man’s perspective on women who feel called to the Society of Jesus, than I have been able to decipher in two years of guarded conversations with excellent men at all stages in their Jesuit life.

One remark stayed with me.  “The Society of Jesus cannot take on the administration of a women’s branch,” my brother Jesuit said, both a little irritably and with some pleading in his voice.  “We are spread too thin already.  No one is stopping you from founding The Daughters of Ignatius!”

The conversation was authentic, yes – which included a fair amount of sputtering on all sides.  Like any life-giving topic, this can be tough to talk about.  It touches some of the deepest hurts in our mutual history.  It both taps and questions some of the deepest sources of motivation in our life as Christians – as Church.

What did I learn in this moment of mutual openness, mutual honesty?  I realized that for this moment, my brother’s words ring true: only women who feel called to be Jesuits can really inquire into what God is trying to tell us about our mission in life, in the Church and in the wide world.  It is a moment for deep listening and brave, patient initiative.

We will investigate both alone and together, and as Rilke once encouraged his young poet friend, the answer will emerge only in living out the questions that arise.  To what is God calling us?  And how will we respond to the call?

Ever since then, I am seeking you – patiently, yet single-minded.