This past week I joined with about 200 other people of Dane County, Wisconsin to hear Joanna Macy, a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep ecology. Joanna travels the world offering trainings to empower our responses to planetary crisis. Her term for our time in history is, The Great Turning. She says: A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world. We have the technical knowledge, the communication tools and material resources to grow enough food, ensure clean air and water, and meet rational energy needs. Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now. http://www.ecoliteracy.org/essays/great-turning
As a Dominican woman I was greatly encouraged by her message. I witness Dominican women gifting this revolution by "proclaiming the Gospel through the ministry of preaching and teaching in order to participate in the building of a holy and just Church and Society" (our mission statement). We do not teach without being ourselves lifelong learners. We are always searching to deepen our understanding of the meaning of our life, and ways to express its meaning. We look at the Gospel each day in the light of the events of Earth and the peoples around us. And conversely, we look at the events of the day in the light of the Gospel. Then in community we form one another into people who can participate more fully in such movements as The Great Turning. It is ongoing formation and it is an ongoing adventure.
One year ago today Sister Pat and I who were securely settled in two other loving communities risked moving in order to further develop our Dominican way of life. The house we chose is big enough to invite others who live nearby to join the adventure. Our mission statement I think embraces the Great Turning: As women of Monona House we, pledge to uphold social justice and to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression within ourselves. We also value the wholeness of Earth as we walk softly upon it. We invite you to journey with us and share your gifts here in this space, while taking steps to enlighten others.
How are you entering into the Great Turning? Where do you find your support to take the next step? Perhaps there is a local Dominican community near you where you can join in study and Gospel prayer that supports your step.
Joan Duerst OP