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Today is Monday and I am still swimming in the confidence of yesterday’s first reading from Deuteronomy (30: 10-14). I’m in St. Louis, Missouri, far from home but in the company of over 100 women who have pledged themselves to live and work “for the life of the world.” The energy was high yesterday as we greeted one another after long absences or for the first time, hoping that we will find ourselves of one heart as we move toward an agenda that will likely need every one of the fourteen days ahead. You see, we are plotting our future here. As we diminish in number while welcoming one or two new members each year instead of the 45 of us who came in 1966 to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (a tiny location in St. Louis where we first settled in 1836), we need to be attentive to the particularity of our call to God’s service.

Yesterday in an opening ritual we stood one by one as our names were called and responded “Present!” Today we begin to understand the gravity of what that might mean for us going forward. In all of it we have the words that Moses spoke to the people to keep our hearts open and our determination strong, knowing that there are many people who hold us up in prayer. Won’t you join in the effort?

For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, “Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?” No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”