I’ve lived in four communities of sisters during my discernment with the Sinsinawa Dominicans: my local community at the Mound, as a Candidate in Atlanta, as a Novice in St. Louis, and now as a second year Novice in Denver. As I begin this third year in community, I’m reminded how creating community is a somewhat awkward process—especially at first.
Learning about each sister—her personality, how she adds to the “mix” of the community and how I can best relate to her—is often a trial-and-error process requiring patience and intention. Developing new relationships is a time of great excitement, requiring both openness and vigilance.
Today it strikes me how integral community-building is to being human, not just a woman religious. Right now I’m visiting my cousin in California during the birth of her second child—yesterday she and her husband had a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I spent the day with their 3-year-old daughter, Gabriela, while they were at the hospital. After several hours of anticipation, the two of us finally got to visit them this afternoon and meet the baby. It struck me how learning to live in community is integral to being human, not just in religious life. I watched as Gabriela furtively asked questions about her brother, observed him closely, sought attention from Mom and Dad, and seemed both excited and anxious about her new role as the “big sister”.
I feel for her as she struggles to adjust to a drastically changed community…but I’m happy for her because I know it will be worth it.