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A reflection on the mystery of transformation

By Sister Christine Garcia, Provincial Councilor

“Grace to you and peace from our Triune God. I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now.”
–Philippians 1: 2 – 5

Christine Garcia, SSND

These words greet us in the second reading of the Second Sunday of Advent and with these words we greet each of you, our donors and friends, our partners in mission.

Six months have passed since the last council update in the eNewsletter and so much of our world has changed. I imagine there has been as much change for you as there has been for us as School Sisters of Notre Dame of the Central Pacific Province. In the letter to the Philippians, Paul goes on to share, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Reflecting on this reading, it seems clearer that this outlook undergirds our provincial council’s vision for the province. We desire that these changes and transitions be transformative. One’s transformation is a mystery, but we also know that one’s openness and desire to see God active in the world and in each of us is a choice.

We cannot predict how or when the transformation will happen, but we do know that this mystery to new life - which offers deeper understanding, wider consciousness, and new ways of being and acting - evolves when we learn to let go. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24

So many world events have shattered our expectations of life as we’ve known it. Among them are the COVID-19 pandemic, long-running wars, political polarization, climate change affecting human and animal migration, as well as the diminishment and misuse of natural resources. All are forms of dying. Do we see them as opportunities for a change in our personal and communal consciousness?

This photo is taken on Our Lady of Good Counsel hill with snow covering everything.

Along with these significant global events, the Central Pacific Province is experiencing the closing of long-standing campuses and moving to other facilities. These changes are calling us to new ways of being. Who are we and who do we want to be? I’m reminded of a prayer by Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, “Oh, Holy Spirit, enlighten us and strengthen us, so that we may comprehend our divine call and recognize what we are, what we should be, what we must and really want to do in order to reach this goal.” Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, Letter #29, December 12, 1863

May each move, each change for you and SSND – painful as it may be physically, emotionally, spiritually – be an opportunity to allow our God to pull us through, acting in us and around us, in the mystery, joy and beauty of transformation.

To paraphrase Philippians, let us be confident of this, that the one who began a good work in us will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.

As partners with you in Christ’s mission, let us go forward in the peace, joy and grace of our Triune God. Anticipating the celebration of Christmas, all are invited to be watchful, vigilant so as to encounter Christ, already in our midst. Thank you for allowing Christ’s love and peace to abide in you and shine through you and your family today and throughout the new year. May we all be open to the mystery of God acting in our lives for our own and the transformation of the world.

Read past eNewsletter provincial council updates:


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