by Carol Wagner, RDC
Recently I was privileged to represent the Sisters of the Divine Compassion at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in St. Louis, Missouri, along with Sr. Lucille Coldrick, Sr. Clare Arenholz, and 900 other women religious from the United States and around the world. The keynote speaker was Barbara Marx Hubbard, an 82-year-old woman, an internationally renowned author and presenter who inspires, enlightens, and provides a practical framework for moving beyond the limits of our personal and cultural history into global and universal consciousness. Her wisdom and insights were inspiring to us all.
Mystery unfolding: Dying & rising. . . Dying & new life. . . Dying & giving birth. . . These were the invitations we heard this past month at the LCWR assembly.
Entering the LCWR assembly hall, Barbara Hubbard described ”an allurement and a shared sense of mission” as her felt experience of praying with and being blessed as part of the gathering of 900 women religious. She spoke of humanity’s need to make wise choices, to embrace evolution or face extinction.
Living in Westchester as a teenager, Barbara first experienced her vocation call when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She believed that God and humans had the potential to use science and technology as power for good, rather than destruction. She met President Eisenhower, a friend of her father’s, a few years later.
As she walked into the oval office, he said to her, “Hello, young lady. What can I do for you?”
She answered, “Mr. President, I have a question for you. . . .What do you think is the meaning of all our new powers in science and technology that’s good? Where are we going?”
He looked startled and shook his head, saying, “I have no idea.”
And Barbara said, “It occurred to me then and there that we had better find out!"
Thus began her search for these answers and her vocation to help people give birth to new human conscious for the common good and for the good of our planet.
Barbara spoke of this “chaos point in Earth history" as the critical tipping point in the evolution of a system – we are invited into breaking down or breaking through.
She invites us to seek the MORE, the God who is AHEAD of us, the God who is inviting and beckoning us into the future – of an evolving world and universe, evolving ever more into deepening compassion and wholeness.
Similar to our own charism and mission of compassion, Barbara's understanding sees women religious as feminine co-creators called to give birth to the new in unconditional love. She reminds us that the current crises in the world and church are not about “problems to be solved, but about possibilities to be embraced.” She invites us to give birth to a new species she names “Universal Humanity” . . . humans conscious of their own capacity to co-create with our God for the common good, for the WHOLE. Our shift must be from ego to essence. Focus must be not on what we want to oppose, but what we want to create.
As women committed to birth new life in our times and in our world, we must share our bread, our hearts, our lives – as Jesus shared His – for the life of the world. How radically open are we to God, to Mystery unfolding, evolving, and inviting us to birth the new?
Barbara Hubbard left us with questions for our journey forward together:
- How can we be open to God and letting go, open to transformation and the new?
- What do we want to create? What do we need to create it?
- With whom will we co-create and how will we share it with others?