Over the past couple of years there have been several zooms spanning continents and time zones for Sacred Heart sisters. Normally, these are joyous affairs, even when they're work-focused, beginning and ending with a lively, polyglot cacophony of greetings, and with lots of connecting in between via private chats.
But today was different. Today we gathered, in a focused stillness and silence, to pray together for Ukraine, and for peace. Today we gathered to do the one thing we are all able to do, regardless of age, energy, health, responsibilities or stage of formation. Brand-new candidates adjoined screens with vowed religious in their 80s and 90s; novices were there, too, as was the international group preparing for perpetual vows. There were communities gathered around a prayer focus or in their chapel, and others, like me, sitting alone by our candles.
Today we gathered to do what lies at the heart of our vocation and all our lives. Not all of us are called to be teachers, spiritual directors, counsellors or project leaders, or work directly with refugees; but all of us are called to be contemplatives in action. Whatever else we cannot do, normally or in a war, this is something we can do, and this was what brought us together today.
Today we gathered as One Body, as Cor Unum, as women united in Love, across cultural and political chasms - and in many cases, from countries which have been at war with each other within living memory... to pray for peace. Today we came together, came to God in prayer, with everything that touches our life, with the sufferings and hopes of humanity, as our Constitutions say... and came together very simply and very powerfully.
And like millions around the world we continue to pray very especially, for the sufferings and hopes of the people of Ukraine, and for peace. It might be all some of us can do, but it is how all of us can make a difference.