I'm struck by the notion that we are called to be with Jesus at the cross and at the rising. Mary Magdalene was at both places. I find it especially significant that Mary Magdalene is the first person, a woman, to be missioned by Jesus after the resurrection. Mary Magdalene, one of my favorite saints, has unfortunately been misrepresented by early scholars who mistook her for the woman of ill-repute who washed the feet of Jesus with her hair, the woman who is introduced the chapter before Mary Magdalene is introduced. Whether this was an honest mistake, or a premeditated expression of misogyny, we'll never know. These unfortunate circumstances undermine the fact that Mary Magdalene was a significant leader amongst the disciples and a dear friend.
I believe Mary Magdalene is a great example of leadership for us as women in the church and whatever our charism, or "gift," we are all called to share in the mission of bringing the good news to all those whom we serve. As previously stated, we share a common mission of bringing the kindom of God. Most of us have a good grasp of our own charism of our respective communities thanks to Vatican II.
I think a relevant question for today is how do we as sisters continue the mission of Christ through our charism as leaders in our church, our world, and our communities? In a time of great suffering, uncertainty, and turmoil in our church and in our world, women religious who are already adept at walking on the margins of society, have an opportunity to bring healing, reconciliation, and justice to others like never before. Mary Magdalene probably suffered as a woman leader amongst the disciples. not unlike many of our own women religious of past and present. She was a woman before her time who struggled against the socio-cultural paradigm of 1st century Palestine. I think women religious struggle today with patriarchy but also struggle with how to make our charisms visible and relevant to an ever changing church and world in chaos. But if charism is energy, then we should allow that energy to flow freely. Letting go of the old structures and habits is part of that free flow of energy, a firing and melting of all that which no longer serves us. Combining our energies is also allowing that energy to flow freely. what would it look like if we combined and collaborated more in our ministries? What if we combined more living arrangements? I think sometimes we like to reinvent the wheel. How many religious congregations have produced identical documents on human trafficking? Maybe it is through collaboration that we can finally rid ourselves of hierarchical models and mind sets and demonstrate new models of leadership for our church and for our world.
All of our charisms are immensely beautiful. Once people are touched by them, they become mesmerized and inspired. Indeed, our charisms are inflamed with the Holy Spirit. The foundress of my congregation, Marie-Rose Durocher, had a favorite scripture passage from Luke. I have come to cast fire on the earth, how I wish it were already kindled. If that isn't energy, I don't know what is. How can we cast fire through our charisms as women leaders In our church and in our world?