They were all together in one place Acts 2: 1-3
Having seen this painting frequently in the past, I was happy with the new association it brought to mind. The title of the work is Blessed Mother Angela opens her Rule and founds the Company on St. Catherine’s Day 1535. Done by an unknown artist the original was destroyed in the bombing of the Church of St. Afra, Brescia by American forces, March 2,1945.
A meeting of Ursuline Associates and CNR Faculty Members occasioned my seeing the painting and I was immediately struck with its connection to Pentecost. The group was reflecting on “New ways of living the charism of Angela today and in the future.” The presence of the Spirit was evident in the different and challenging ideas that came from those present, much as the Spirit was present in the group of Angela’s followers shown above. As Mary-Cabrini Durkin reminds us in her work, Angela Merici’s Journey of the Heart, “ . . . her (Angela’s) trust in the Holy Spirit’s guidance is completely foundational to the Company, to Ursuline Life.”
This Spirit that moved Angela to risk insights beyond her day is today calling us. I resonate with Ilia Delio when she asks: “Can we, as Church, creatively engage the work of the Spirit in our midst and think new? Can we dare to birth the life of Jesus in radically new ways in a world longing for unity?” And as Dean Brackley, S.J. says, “The Spirit makes it possible to live as Christ did, in community.”
I began to reflect on several experiences I had in the two weeks around the time of this meeting at CNR. They confirmed for me the potential power of the Spirit when we are gathered together and how foundational a belief this can be. Among a standing room only audience at Mt. St. Vincent I heard several speak of the Spirit-led life of Dorothy Day; in the church basement of Holy Family I witnessed the search of Parishioners as they mined the meaning of Laudato Si’. The most touching and compelling for me was the 40 high school students (picture left) from Ursuline schools across the country who shared their insights and learning experiences from their time at the U.N. The Holy Spirit is alive and well! May we continue to be attentive to the many presences of the Spirit and beckon her faithfully. Come Holy Spirit!