Theresians International is a Community of Communities. We are located in 10 countries around the world. We have embraced the motto: Women in Support of Women… Reaching Out with Gospel Values. It defines us in important ways. We are women! We support each other! We choose to do this with Gospel values of faith, hope, love, kindness, forgiveness, and presence!
In this age of instant communication by texting, Twitter, Facebook, and email, we are aware of happenings as they occur. The convenience of it all is wrapped in 21st century technology which promises even more. As a member of a community of Theresian women, these are tools that help us, and are not the essence of how we are together. From the very beginning in the 1960s, the formation of a community did depend on communication, but the way it developed was by human contact once a month.
This format is an essential rock of stability formed by time together and a desire to deepen our relationships beyond other groups of women that invite our participation. This happens when the sharing among us deepens and we dare to share the difficult times and the concerns that make us anxious, as well as the joys that delight our lives.
Today, technology allows us to network in ways we never imagined. It is a gift of the age of technology that we can make things happen quickly and somewhat easily. Networking is a service of community that we exercise with each other. These connections existed before. They can now happen almost instantaneously; however, sometimes this blinds us to the impact of such kindnesses, such responses.
New ideas that now filter into our concept of community are extensions of our understanding: compassionate kindness, altruistic befriending, and human tenderness. These are vital values that have new names and are easily recognized in the lives of Jesus and Mary. It is not a stretch of the imagination to see them in Mary’s reaction at the Wedding Feast at Cana or Jesus’ response to the lepers who asked to be cured. As we look for new understandings of community, we are called full circle to the Gospel values we have known all our lives.
Women have come together for ages to share recipes; remedies for sick ones; new ways to cook, sew and harvest the vegetables in the garden; and survive long winters. In doing so, they developed friendships. This will always be present where women gather.
However, among Theresians, we find a longing for community with others who have a global vision and an immense fulfillment of friendship among those engaged in furthering the evolution of holy consciousness. This is a quality impossible to describe in our limited language.
We experience it together as our communities continue to develop. We choose to be in association with women to create a mutually uplifting and beneficial experience for all. Henri Nouwen underscores this when he says, When we are aware that we are the beloved and when we have friends around us with whom we live in community, we can do anything.
We have been blessed by the invitation to be in community with dynamic, faith-filled, and prayer-conscious women. May we cherish the opportunity, responding with active participation, finding peace, joy, and energy to address and serve the needs that exist within and among us.
We are Women in Support of Women… Reaching Out with Gospel Values.
Nouwen, Henri. A Spirituality of Living. Nashville, TN: Upper Room Books, 2011, p. 38.