West Texas Associates New Year Gathering

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END OF YEAR GREETING FROM THE WEST TEXAS ASSOCIATES…as we look forward to the New Year 2019.

“Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths. Which was the good way? Take it and you will find rest for yourselves.” Jeremiah 6:10

On December 28 we gathered at a local favorite place to celebrate Barbara Aretz’s 75th birthday. Carrie Miller, SLW, was here from Chicago, and joined us for an afternoon of community and faith sharing. Our afternoon began with a meal blessing led by Sr. Carrie. Our Associates and Partners in Prayer also took part in the blessing: “Loving God, Creator of All, Jesus, our gift of Love, and Spirit of the Living God—thank you for your presence with us. Bless this food and this special time together, that through the gifts of one another we may be nourished with the strength to serve, to be gracious in giving, and to be overflowing with love.”

After eating, visiting, and catching up with Sister Carrie, we enjoyed birthday cake provided by Dianna Carlisle.

Sister Carrie then spoke about the journey the SLWs are beginning to take, and the collaborative they are forming with other communities of religious in their area. She emphasized that the SLW mission and charism which guide and nurture their lives—and ours— are not changing. Rather, it is the structure of religious life across the country that is in the process of transformation. Looking at the signs of the present time, a new form of religious life is beginning to evolve. Sr. Carrie spoke of this and of how this impacts the Associates, too. Of course, a clear picture of “the future” is not known. But “trusting in the Spirit we are sure to see wonderful possibilities that lie ahead as we contribute to the shaping of how we want to live life fully and well. We will embrace our mission and charism until our last day, and leave a lasting legacy of how we have lived, reflected and affirmed the presence of the Word—the Word who will continue to bring new life through Our Story.”

She opened the floor up for questions. We discussed the possibilities for the ASLWs as we move forward, ways we would be connecting with other Associates, Sojourners, and Affiliates; collaborating together to build on our commonalities and uniqueness, helping us understand that our journey is not ending, but traveling down new paths and finding new fields of faith—together.

A New Year’s Blessing by Sister Joyce Rupp “May your inner vision be transformed so that you can see more clearly your own journey with all humankind as a journey of peace, hope, and bondedness.” (Num. 24:15–17; Jn 20:20)

Bobby Mills, Barbara Aretz, and all the West Texas Associates