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Advent: A New Season

 Sister Kris Schrader, ASC

This Advent we’ll be sharing stories from Adorers who are on a pilgrimage of sorts. We invite you to journey with us these four weeks and reflect on where you’ve been this past year and where God might be leading you.

By Sister Kris Schrader, ASC

Seasons are important to us. They raise memories, recall important moments and passages.

Rarely do we navigate a new season. Usually, we replay the ones gone before.

This Advent, however, opens before me as a new season. After 23 years of sharing life in community and ministry in Guatemala with fellow Adorer Dani Brought, I am the only ASC here.

There is a sadness in that, a certain feeling of loss of the familiar and yet I sit with St. Joseph Sister Mary Pellegrino’s reflection shared at the recent gathering of Leadership Conference of Women Religious:

“Our future,” she said, “has already entered us, is already transforming itself in us. Our work is to let the former things pass so that the future — already in our blood — can happen.”

So the me that stands on the cusp of the Advent season, is in a new place. All of the memories of Advents passed are “we” memories and there is now an invitation to journey in a new way and to embrace a leap of faith that propels me into that unknown space where God-with-us assures me that transforming grace is at work.

The writer and poet Jan L. Richardson writes in her book, “Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas” that “Time can do strange things in this season, as we navigate our way through the call to both remember and anticipate, to give our attention to the past and also to the future.

“Advent is made, after all, not simply of hours and days. It is fashioned too from stories and from traditions; from the memories it prompts and the questions it provokes; from its familiar rituals and habits as well as the surprising corners it will entice us to explore. The season takes its substance and shape from those who have passed through these days before us, from generations who have waited in the dark and carried the light.”

This is a new moment, not just for me or for Dani, but for the Adorer presence in Guatemala, for the ministries we have helped come to life, for the people we walk with here, for the challenges the reality of Guatemala presents. What then are the questions for me and what are the “enticing corners” that Advent impels me to explore?

  • How do I maintain and nourish connections with fellow Sisters in the U.S.?
  • How might I share the Guatemala journey and reality with others?
  • How does discernment of new movements and the new future happen?
  • Do I have any answers?

Not yet, but there lives in me a great hope that this Advent journey will be a time to come to some clarity about possible directions.

Leaps of faith are always a bit scary, or, to be honest, more than a bit. And yet, because there have been others, because incredible grace seemed to cover me and I didn’t crash and burn, there are the strong memories of God’s faithfulness and desire to see good things happen and the human family strengthened and encouraged.

We are, after all, a courageous, compassionate, committed presence in our world. And the world is better for it. This I know.

Pray with me, pray for us.

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