Gathering Space for October 21, 2021
The cool air of early evening brushes our skin, ripples our clothing. As we come into the Garden of the Ruined Nunnery on the Sacred Island of Iona, the sun has not yet set, though its patina of gold offers little warmth. October is moving swiftly towards the Celtic Festival of Samhain. The dark quiet feminine time of the year will soon be here.
Once we are within the stones of the low walls we stop, gazing in wonder at the sight before us. The grassy area is crowded with long tables, covered in an enticing array of baked goods, woven scarves, shawls, small paintings, handmade pottery, clay cups and plates, jewelry… Have we fallen through a worm hole in time? It looks like a Medieval Faire!
Someone is coming towards us as we stand transfixed by this vision. Our friend Elspeth is smiling, greeting us. Now we know we’re in the present time.
"What's happening?" Karen asks. "What is all of this?"
Elspeth's smile broadens. Her grey eyes are warm with delight: "This, my dear ones, is our Harvest Fair! We've brought the goods not already purchased last week by the tourists drawn here to Iona. Since you began holding your Gathering Space here, some mysterious energy has increased the flow of tourists. "Come. Move around the displays. Enjoy all that we’ve brought for you. There’s hot apple cider, mulled wine, scones, cakes, pies. If you’re drawn to something lovely, a necklace or bracelet, a shawl or scarf, it’s yours for the asking. The village of Iona offers this as a thank you for all you’ve brought to our small island."
What joy to mingle, to greet the other women from Iona, many of whom we’ve met on past visits. Some are the quilters who created the magic carpets of colour for our Gathering Space. We explore the craft table with delight, each choosing a either a beautiful piece of jewelry, or a colourful scarf, or a warm hand-woven shawl. Then we choose cider or mulled wine and sample the baking.
Afterwards, drawn by the crackle of flame, the scent of burning wood, we gather around the fire pit which the women from Iona have created. Its welcoming blaze invites us to stay a little longer. We find places to sit on the grass, feeling the fire's warmth, sipping mulled wine.
Once everyone in our Communion has formed a circle around the fire with the Iona women, Clara asks a question that many of us have wondered about.
"Elspeth, what do you know of the beginning of this Nunnery? Are there any stories of its founding, or of the nuns who lived here so long ago?"
"Well now, I’m glad you asked, Clara." Elspeth’s face is lighting up with a storyteller's eager joy. "You may have heard of the great Celtic Scots leader Somerled, known as Lord of the Isles? He had a dream of uniting the Irish and Scots Celts, at the time when Viking raiders were attacking the isles. He is honoured for creating a Celtic Renaissance and through his wife, Ragnhild, daughter of Olafr Godredsson, King of the Isles, claimed for himself and his descendants the Kingdom of the Isles.
"One of his unfulfilled dreams had been to bring Irish Monasticism to Iona. In the last year of his life he attempted to persuade the Columban monastic community in Derry to relocate from Ireland to Iona, for this sacred island was within Somerled's sphere of influence.
"Unfortunately for Somerled, his death denied him this hope. Somerled was slain in 1164 at the Battle of Renfrew, during an invasion of mainland Scotland while he was commanding forces drawn from all over his kingdom. We believe that Somerled was buried here on Iona.
"Somerled's son Reginald, founded the nunnery in 1200 and installed his sister, Beatrice, as its first prioress. It was one of only two Augustinian Orders in Scotland. The nunnery earned itself the name 'An Eaglais Dhubh' - the black church - after the colour of nuns' robes.
"Unlike the rest of the Abbey buildings, as you know well, the nunnery has not been restored since being made derelict during the Reformation. The pink granite walls that remain, despite being ruinous, are amongst the best examples of a medieval nunnery left in Britain. Little is known of the nuns who lived here. Like the Benedictine monks, they followed a strict life of prayer and contemplation. A few clues have been left which shed some light on aspects of the nuns' lives. For instance, the tomb of Prioress Anna Maclean is so detailed in its carving as to give a clear depiction of her dress. Some of the nuns were thought to have fled to the nearby Island of Mull where they lived in a cave during the Reformation. This cave is called the 'Nun's Cave' and is to be found on the coast at Carsaig on Mull. It has crosses carved into its inner walls."
While Elspeth’s story unfolded, the light of evening faded. Darkness now enwraps us like a cloak. Deep silence pervades as each of us is lost in our own imaginings of those long ago times, of the mysterious life that went on for more than three centuries, of the terror of the nuns' escape to the Island of Mull.
"What a sad story!" Colette says.
Elspeth stirs as if waking from a dream. "Sad? I’ve never thought so. Does this Garden feel sad to you? You know there’ve been a few times when I’ve been walking here in the evening and heard music, ethereal, lovely, as though coming from far away. There was one eve of Samhain…. But no, that story is too strange for such a night as this.
Low murmurs begin, sounds of wonder, of awe, grow louder. Our companions are looking upwards. We follow their gaze. The full moon is rising above the Garden of Iona, clothed like us in an aura of colour.
Gathering Space for October 14, 2021
Galadriel’s Mirror: Part Two
This evening, as the women of our communion come into the Garden of the Ruined Nunnery on Iona, each looks about the grassy enclosure, then beyond to where trees obscure a pathway. Some of the looks are hopeful, expectant; others are cautious, a few even fearful. No one has yet spoken.
Finally, someone asks, “Is she here? Or do you think she is coming?” A chorus of questions follows. Everyone seems to be wondering about Galadriel. Will she return? Will we have another opportunity to gaze into her Mirror?
Kate is looking thoughtful. “If I understand Galadriel, her coming will depend on whether or not we want her to return.” Kate pauses while we take this in, then she asks, “Well do we want her to come?”
“I’m not sure I want to know anything more than what I saw last time,” Carol says. “It will take me a while to really understand it.”
Colette agrees. “Once is enough for me, too.”
“I’m wondering…” Clara begins, and everyone looks her way. “Well, I just wonder how it would be if we asked Galadriel to show us something about our whole communion, since we’ve each had our chance to see a personal vision.”
This suggestion is greeted with relief, even enthusiasm. The mood of the group quickly shifts to a subdued excitement.
“How shall we invite her to return?”
Yet no answer is needed. Galadriel is already standing among us, gesturing for us to follow her along the path that leads to her mirror. In moments, we are gathered around the tree-shaped pedestal, watching as Galadriel fills her silver ewer with water from the nearby stream, pours it into her shallow silver bowl.
“Do not stand too near, and be careful not to touch the water,” Galadriel advises.
“Make a large circle allowing two metres between each of you, so that everyone can see the surface of the mirror.”
Although we seem to have only arrived minutes before, the sky is now fully dark.
There is no moon. We gaze upwards towards more stars than any of us have seen or even imagined. There are so many that it is impossible to make out the shapes of the familiar constellations, riddled as they are with flickering lights within and around them.
“Now look carefully at the surface of the water, and wait,” Galadriel says.
And so we gaze, and wait. And wait. And wait.
Someone whispers, “There is nothing to see.” Another voice says, just as softly, “I don’t think anything is going to happen.”
“Quiet,” Galadriel speaks in a voice of command. “You must wait or the vision will not come to you.”
We see a bowl. It holds dark water. The surface begins to fold as though someone were blowing a breath of air across it. The folds grow larger until they look like waves. We are gazing into a dark sea whose waves rise and fall and rise again. At the edge of the bowl a tiny radiant star is rising until it stands above the waves. A guiding light.
“Star of the sea”, someone whispers. But no one hears, for now on the surface of the sea, a little boat has appeared. It is enclosed, made of wood, looking like an ark from a child’s picture book. It moves over the waves, rising and falling with them. The tiny star is leading it forward.
Suddenly the vision fades. We are looking at a bowl of water that holds starlight in its clear unruffled surface.
“What did you see?” Galadriel asks.
“A sea.” “A ship”. “A star.” The responses carry disappointment.
Now the white lady smiles, and seems on the edge of laughter. “But what did you desire to see?”
It takes us a moment to put the expectation with the result.
Yvette speaks: “We hoped to see a vision for our Communion. Who we are. Where we are going…. Might it be all of us inside that ark, floating on a sea, not certain where we are going, but guided by the Star of the Sea? ”
Galadriel’s smile is warm. “What is the meaning of that title, “Star of the Sea”?
Colette asks: “Isn’t that a title of the Sacred Feminine?”
Suzanne is excited. “Yes. It is one of the ancient titles of Isis in Egypt. And it is also a title of Mary. Stella Maris in Latin. Star of the Sea.”
The mood is shifting from mild disappointment to wonder, to awe. Galadriel looks at each one of us. “Do not be afraid. You are on a journey together across the sea of faith to an unknown destination. You are being guided by the presence of love, the ancient feminine form of the Sacred: Wisdom Sophia. Be joyful, for you are greatly loved.”
Suddenly she is gone. We make our way back to the Garden of the Ruined Nunnery, guided by the light of uncountable stars.
Gathering Space with Galadriel Part One October 7, 2021
There is a stillness to this early evening. It wraps itself like a magic cloak around us, as singly or in two’s or in clusters of friends, we come into the Garden of the Ruins of Iona’s 13th century Nunnery. With the earlier darkness of Autumn, especially on this night when the moon is in darkness, stars are becoming visible. We find spaces to sit on our Communion quilts of many colours at respectful distances from one another. COVID continues to hover about our planet, requiring us to respond with wisdom and care for ourselves and for others. The usual energetic twitter and chatter of greetings is softened by our cotton masks, lovingly sewn by Elspeth and her friends here on Iona, with a design stitched on each showing a scarlet flame. The sound of our voices creates a low murmur, more a quiet stream than a babbling brook… until it quiets further into a sacred expectant hush. It is Noreen who finds words for the moment. “It’s as if something awaits us. Something wonderful.” Ellyn asks, “Might it be Sophia? We have been reflecting on her presence in our lives. Perhaps she is here with us.”Mary Ellen suggests, “Maybe we should invite her to come to us, as Solomon did? Didn’t he write, I asked and the spirit of Wisdom came to me? Shirley is looking puzzled. “It doesn’t feel like Sophia, who is always with us and within us. It feels more like an imaginal presence, an archetype, someone who represents Wisdom.”Heather speaks, “Whoever it is, we need to welcome her. Just ask her name, and why she has come.”Hesitantly, Corinne speaks now: “This might sound impossible, but what about Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings? Galadriel shows wisdom reflected in her water mirror.”Carol adds, “That’s an ancient Celtic practice called scrying. I wish we had Tolkien’s book to know how to do it.”Anne Kathleen says, “I have my copy. I never go anywhere without it. Let me find the page and I’ll read it aloud:”They saw, as if she came in answer to their words, the Lady Galadriel approaching. Tall and white and fair she walked beneath the trees. She spoke no word, but beckoned to them.
Her eyes on the page, Anne Kathleen cannot see what the others do. As the words are read aloud, the Lady Galadriel comes, enacting her own movements just as in the story. Magically, the Garden of Iona is transformed into the place described. The Communion members, as though under an enchantment, follow Galadriel.
Turning aside, she led them toward the southern slopes of the hill… and passing through a high green hedge they came into an enclosed garden. No trees grew there,and it lay open to the sky. The evening star had risen and was shining with white fire above the western woods. Down a long flight of steps the Lady went into a deep green hollow, through which ran murmuring the silver stream that issued from the fountain on the hill. At the bottom, upon a low pedestal carved like a branching tree, stood a basin of silver, wide and shallow, and beside it stood a silver ewer.
With water from the stream Galadriel filled the basin to the brim, and breathed on it, and when the water was still again she spoke. “Here is the Mirror of Galadriel,” she said. “I have brought you here so that you may look in it, if you will.” The air was very still, and the dell was dark, and the Elf-lady beside (them) was tall and pale. “What shall we look for and what shall we see?” (they) asked, filled with awe.
“Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal,” she answered, “and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden, and those are often stranger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold. What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that may yet be. But which it is that she sees, even the wisest cannot always tell. Do you wish to look?”
Looking up from the book, seeing the Communion members have disappeared, Anne Kathleen goes in search of them, arriving just in time to hear Galadriel’s question, the response from each woman: “Yes.”
And so begins the most magical of all our rituals on Iona. One by one, each woman steps forward to stand beside Galadriel. In the clarity and strength of her presence, each one looks without fear into the mirror.Now it is your turn. Come forward. Do not fear. Look into the water. Wait while the clouds on the surface clear. What do you seek?What do you see?Take the time you need. Afterwards, you may wish to move a little apart to make notes on your experience or to draw or dance what you have seen/felt/ glimpsed/ understood.
The ruffling wind rises, stirring the cool air of this September night. We have grown to know Iona's fickle charms, have come here warmly covered in long sweaters or cozy jackets, carrying blankets to sit on, or to wrap ourselves in. We want to stay outdoors, gathered here under the Moon’s benevolent gaze.
We join our companions who are already seated in a circle on the grass around the fire pot. Several conversations are occurring all at once as greetings and news are shared. When the excited chatter subsides, and silence rises like a healing zephyr, Kate stands to speak.
“Just above us the moon is rising. Tonight what still remains of her radiance brings us joy. Yet we know her light is not always with us. Like the Sacred Feminine, the moon too has her dark side. I have brought some writings to share with you on the Dark Feminine. The first is from the Jungian writer Sylvia Senensky. This passage from her book, Healing and Empowering the Feminine is especially appropriate now as voices are being raised across the planet calling us to awake to our responsibility for our planet, for all that lives upon her in oceans, rivers, lakes and air, all that cannot thrive unless the Earth herself thrives and heals from the depredations that human activity is causing.
Senensky writes: We have come to a time when we can no longer remain silent. We are being called upon by the sorrowing and powerful Dark Feminine to know our own darkness and the profound richness of all dark places, even when they are laden with pain. Through her we know the mystery of existence and the sacredness of the cycles of life. We learn how important the destruction of the old ways is to the rebirth of the new. When she steps into our lives and awakens us, we can be shattered to our core, and we know, as we see the tears streaming down her face, that she too is holding us in her compassionate and loving embrace.We need to know her as the source of life in the material realm, and to know her sorrow at how we have so unconsciously set out to destroy her...our Mother Earth. She is calling upon us, each in our way to do our inner work, to become her allies, to become the best human beings we know how to be; to allow our creativity, our compassion and our love to flow to ourselves and to all life forms on this planet. This is the lesson of the Feminine we all need to remember. We need to honour our earth and all creatures, human and other, that she supports. We need to nourish ourselves, each other, all children, and the unbelievable creative potential within each human being....As we come to a place of love and compassion for ourselves, our struggles, and our own vulnerable humanity, we will at the same time begin to kindle a similar compassion for others. Love attracts love. If we flood our planet with loving and transformative energy, our actions will begin to mirror our feelings. We will come home to ourselves.
There is a time of quiet as we allow these words to resonate within our hearts. After a time, Kate continues: I invite you now to join with me in a contemplative practice that I engage in each morning, sitting in quiet stillness.I invite you to become aware of your breath, gently breathing in the healing sacred Breath of the cosmic Spirit of Love, sending it forth as a transformative healing for the whole world. Let us together hold this intention as we stay focused on the Spirit's Breath -- in and down through the chakras -- and out to wherever the Spirit desires to move with her healing presence and benediction. In the stillness, we spend time allowing the Breath of the Spirit to move in us, through us and out to the world. We continue this practice for fifteen minutes.…………Now Kate speaks once more: A prayer arose from within me as we engaged in this breathing together. I would like to share it with you: I sit in this gathering spacein silence and thanksgivingaware of Wisdom's sacred Presence.
She wraps me gently in her cloak of knowingassuring me againthat Love holds this pregnant universein compassionate, creative embrace,that Hope awaits with outstretched armsexpectant hands cupped to receivethe promised new birth.
In silence she offers me her cloak of knowinginviting me to rememberher constant Presence and her giftingof Creative Love and Expectant Hope. Who else would like to share with us a prayer, an image, a poem, a thought that arose for you during this time?
Gathering Space for the Communion of Creative Fire We gather to celebrate the Autumn Equinox September 2021
This September evening of the autumn equinox greets us with surprising warmth as we arrive at our gathering space. The garden of the Ruined Nunnery still holds bright flowers: black-eyed susans, tall golden sunflowers, asters, anemone, the purple flowering spikes of vervain, the small blue michaelmas daisies, and the brilliant, if unkind, goldenrod.
Are they, like us, finding it hard to let go?
Yet the mood as we gather this evening is one of joy, a celebration of this lovely weather as long as it wishes to stay, the joy of settling on our quilts of many colours between the low stone walls that hold lingering warmth from the day’s sunlight.
Once we are each seated, and have greeted one another, we look about to see who might begin the evening’s sharing.
Anne Kathleen speaks: I have a poem about the Autumn Equinox to read for you this evening:
between day and night.
Earth readies herself to tip into autumn
leaning into loveliness of rare, golden September light
explosion of vermilion, scarlet sumac, rich madder maple, orange, sienna, yellow amid everlasting greens...
Earth in autumn is at her most alluring,
Her womanly last hurrah of intense beauty
before she freezes into Ice Queen.
I try to summon up sadness for summer’s passing
for warm nights lying on sand under meteor showers
the embrace of lake water cooling sunbaked skin
the morning watch for deer, for heron, for wild duck,
the evening wait for wild sweet calls: whippoorwill, loon, wolf.
I love these things the way I love exotic places,
thrilling to visit, leaving me hungry for home.
Who else has memories of summer to share?
Yvette speaks: Nature as seen in the changing seasons has always fascinated me. Walking in woods, visiting a local botanical garden, strolling on sandy beaches, gazing at the stars, hearing early morning birds warbling, laughing at scurrying squirrels and rabbits nibbling clover ~ these and many other moments in nature nurture my soul... speak to me about who I am.
Mary Ellen speaks: The wide vista visible from my apartment has contributed to my summer reflection. I feel part of the greater whole, and my spirit is one with the ever-changing scene of the sky, and the relationship of the Earth to the Sun and the Moon. Four years ago the Solar Eclipse brought alive the wondrous relationship between Earth, Moon and Sun. We participated in this sacred drama unfolding. Millions of people in North America and further, joined in this sacred ritual. We experienced at a visceral level our dependence on the Sun for life and warmth. And for a few moments, we had a sense of Oneness.
Clara speaks: To have immersed myself in nature this summer has been restorative and renewing. To listen to the waves, to feel the breeze from the trees, to listen to the birds, to walk the country roads, to swim……all this was like being bathed in the embrace of Sophia’s love. I sensed I was given much and I received these gifts with a heart full of gratitude at the extravagance and lavishness of the Divine.
Yet I am always longing for a deeper communion with the universe, people and the world. Hurricanes, fires and floods becoming ever more destructive with each season, the typhoons and earthquakes across the planet… these are a constant reminder of how climate change is creating chaos and havoc in people's lives. So many have lost their homes, their possessions, and are experiencing feelings of grief, frustration, fear.
Anne Kathleen speaks: In the midst of our compassion and suffering for/with so many who share our home planet, this poem by Wendell Berry helps us to remember and honour the wild things who share their peace with us:
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Let's reflect for a few moments now on the gifts of this summer for which we are grateful.
We have been, in recent years, honouring the Seasons in the Celtic Way. With the Autumn Equinox here, let us reflect during our Sacred Hour on the question that Dolores Whelan suggests in her Celtic Calendar:
What is it that is now complete in my life?
Dolores offers us this “Prayer at Autumn Equinox”
As this cycle draw to a close,
May I have the discernment to harvest what I need
and release what is no longer useful for me.
May it be so! And so it is!
Sounds are stirring in the garden just beyond where we are seated. Is that a tinkling of crystal? Yes! Some of our companions are arranging bowls of autumn fruit and berries on a long table, beside plates of chocolate chip cookies,the last of the summer wine. It is time to celebrate!
Suzanne: As I reflect on our Trasna, the spiral path has fed my soul. For the next phase, I am intrigued by Jean’s Houston’s latest, “The Quest of Rose”. Perhaps, participants could get the book and do the exercises together.
Colette: Interestingly I have purchased…“The Quest of Rose”. I have just started to read it. It certainly could be a possibility.
Shirley: For me, our human journey has been one with constant change and many opportunities for growth. All the precious information you have shared gave much to aid me on my life journey which I am so grateful for. What have we gained? I have gained insight, deepened my spirituality. courage, strength, hope and trust.How have we grown or changed? Well, for me trying new ways of connections was a brilliant idea.. The zoom calls are more of a connection, and are a symbol of how we are open to new ways when the old no longer works.Where are we called to go next? I see the need for more advocacy work for our wounded, suffering Earth and as I get older I have to find new ways to move forward with this. For me, our call is to be light bearers wherever we are. I am open to Jean's book!
Yvette: I would be interested in reading a Houston book together as you suggest. For me, the journey together has been progressive. There have been comings and goings as Psalm 121 tells us. I have always been faithful to reading Communion reflections and have written when I feel moved to do so. And, I write and read reflections in the way Mary Oliver speaks about life: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” I often respond to the group or to someone in particular. I do receive responses from individuals. I have come to know a lot about our members who post frequently enough.Given personal experience, I would say: some of us have come to know one another quite well. Of course, I feel closer to those who do post and/or respond to my posts. I think where we have grown most in COMMUNION, is when we meet online as a group. Your effort, Anne Kathleen, to bring us together in this way is, to me, of utmost importance. There are areas in my life’s interests that would not have deepened, expanded, and grown without your postings and your reflections. I thoroughly enjoy when members write about their doings, their comings and goings, their struggles, their joys ... I have no idea to where we are being called ... except to follow the leading of God’s Spirit. SHE will lead us, guide us, prompt us, encourage us, AND strengthen our bonds. We WILL be led individually and together to go into a future full of hope, a future that will draw those of us who are older to share our life-giving maturity with those who are younger and offer us new life and energy. Mary Ellen: I am wishing to…reflect on where we feel called in the year ahead and in our lives going forward. This is something on which I have been pondering for some time. I would say that I feel called to keep discerning the important integration of ENTERING DEEPLY INTO THE JOY AND STRUGGLE AND SUFFERING OF OUR WORLD AS IT MOVES TOWARDS UNITY, LOVE AND FREEDOM AND A GROWING CONTEMPLATIVE, MYSTICAL INTIMACY WITH THE DIVINE EMBEDDED AND MOVING IN ALL. Bridget of Kildare is a "light" and model for me. I believe the Communion has always been about this, and so my desire would be to continue the journey at a deeper level. Perhaps Jean Houston's latest book would be perfect for this. Karen: I have not been directly involved with much of the group’s journeyings. It feels as if I have been on a different path. That being said, when I have ‘listened in’ to the group, I have felt a deep connection with the members’ individual stories and experienced a resonance with the nature of the journey – the quest to honour the inner fire. My engagement with the group began to be more sustained and active around the onset of Covid. My heart sang and sings to see women, some of very advanced years such as Noreen, who continue to be alive to life and to the spirit within. This has been encouraging to me as I have sometimes lost faith with this – and my life-journey has taken me into the shadowlands of just ‘making do’, ‘coping’ and ‘getting through’ which has sometimes led to a desire for the end – i.e., to turn around, return to the village and die by the dying fire. As a child, I sought a relationship with the Earth – to know Her in Her beauty and power. As the call has evolved, it has come more and more to be about listening and speech – how my speech, and its attendant gestures, might touch the Earth and receive their impulse from the sacred in the Earth. This path involves really observing the Earth – through drawing and nature study as well as contact with animals – key aspects of listening. Poetry – ancient spirit lyric, my own writing and the sounds of epic narratives of old – are foundational to the speaking. (I am doing this work now with two online groups and an effort to establish an arts and culture centre.)I really now seek the sacred as it has been lived on Turtle Island and in the land here – and how that particular flavour of spirit related to the rest of the world. For so long, I cast my eyes and heart abroad.My desire is actually to be listened to by other human beings – to be a part of their journey; to touch them. Much of my life’s work has involved ‘fitting in’ to others’ programs or agenda. In the sculpting from the outside, I have often felt closed in upon myself. -- as if I were guarding a hidden treasure that was gestating and waiting with my breath and being to be born to its purpose and its joy.I am not certain that Creative Fire is the right place for me to speak that voice. There is a mode of speaking with which you are all familiar and from which you receive inspiration and nourishment: I have no wish to disrupt that or place my needs upon it. This is mostly why I have remained more on the periphery, occasionally enjoying and celebrating he warmth of your process. I am not certain about this; thus I share this with you to determine if I am to be more fully present in your path forward. After we have listened to each woman's experience, her questions, her thoughts about the way ahead, we take time in our own Sacred Hour to ponder what we have heard. We may wish to respond to some of the women personally. What do their words say to us about the call to our Communion as we continue our sacred journey together?