Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Convention-- celebrating 100 years as Pauline Cooperators. Part I

Happy Centenary, fellow Cooperators!

Group photo, 2017 Centenary Pauline Cooperator Convention

Last weekend, the Daughters of St. Paul hosted the 2017 Pauline Cooperator Convention at Cabrini Retreat House just outside of Chicago. The theme of the weekend was, "Wake Up the World With the Light of the Gospel." This is a very special year also-- the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Pauline Cooperators in 1917 by Blessed James Alberione.

The weekend was wonderful-- a meeting of old friends and new. Morning prayer, daily Mass, confession, adoration, film night (cinema divina!) and two stellar Saturday talks. Sr. Margaret Edward Moran examined the parameters of the prophetic call, while Sr. Helena Burns made pointed remarks and gave us relevant pointers on "Using Media Humanly." There was a lot of meat in those Saturday sessions. I'd like to sketch the essence of Sr. Margaret's talk this week, and Sr. Helena's next week.

Final sharing session, 2017 Centenary Pauline Cooperator Convention

"The Call of a Prophet", by Sr. Margaret Edward: A Summary

  • An essential part of the Pauline charism is to be a prophetic voice in the world. 
  • The call of a prophet typically follows a common pattern of elements:
  1. a prophet is called during a time of crisis in the community (e.g., Moses and the bondage in Egypt, Jeremiah and the rise of Nebuchadnezzar.) Blessed Alberione's call came during a crisis of modernity in the late nineteenth century brought about by rapid social, economic and industrial change.
  2. a prophet is called when he or she is involved in ordinary affairs of the day.
  3. the prophet experiences an extraordinary encounter with the Divine (e.g. Moses' burning bush, Isaiah's vision of Glory of God filling the Temple, St. Paul's experience of light, sound and vision on road to Damascus.) Blessed Alberione experienced an extraordinary awareness of the Divine Presence emanating from the tabernacle on the Night Between the Centuries, while he was at adoration.
  4. the prophet is called by name (e.g. "Moses, Moses, take off your shoes"; "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?")
  5. there is a "missioning" or "commissioning" of the prophet: a sending forth by God.
  6. the prophet resists, objects, or runs away ("The Objection")
  7. the prophet receives assurance of God's continued presence and support.
  8. the prophet receives a sign or proof of his mission.
Prophetic ministry is the province of every Christian. It is also, according to Blessed Alberione, an integral part of the Pauline apostolate. Sister Mary Edward invited us to think of our own calling as Cooperators. How did or did we not experience these elements of the prophetic call in our own lives?

  •  A prophet has five tasks:
  1. to bear the Word of God
  2. to intercede for others 
  3. to unmask idols
  4. to maintain the Big Picture, eyes on the future
  5. to bring forward and revivify the traditional wisdom of the community
  • The Founder identified poverty as one of the Four Wheels of the Pauline apostolate. The others are sanctity, study, and apostolate. The five tasks of the prophet line up with the five functions of poverty:

  1. to produce (actively bear the Word)
  2. to provide (mediate between God and the people; offer reparation)
  3. to renounce (unmask the idols of the culture)
  4. to build (eyes on the future)
  5. to preserve (bring forth and revivify the traditional wisdom) 

In conclusion: Jesus Christ has a threefold office as Redeemer: prophet, priest and king. By virtue of baptism, each believer has the same threefold office. But how often do we think about what that really means, and how it is relevant to our lives and our apostolates? What a blessing it was to dig deeper into the prophetic office.

Next week, we'll look at a couple of questions Sr. Helena raised in her presentation: are you satisfied with the way you are using media? Are the people around you happy with the way you use media?

Rae Stabosz has been a member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators since 2003. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 48 years, have six sons, three daughters, ten grandsons and eight granddaughters. They eagerly await the birth of grands #19 & #20 in October. Rae retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. She is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware and proprietor, since 2004, of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile. 


Association of Pauline Cooperators said...

It was prophetic action that kept the Pauline Cooperators going over these last 20 years despite opposition and little support.It is good to see the larger group becoming involved. For this I am grateful.
Sr. Margaret Charles

Patti Anderson said...

Rae, Thanks for your post about the 100 Year Cooperators Convention in Chicago. It was my pleasure to attend. I loved meeting so many Sisters and Cooperators from across North America! One of my take-aways from the Convention was from Sr. Margaret Edward's talk. I heard clearly her challenge to us, as Cooperators, to accept our role as Prophet in today's world. She told us "Don't simple speak of Christ. Rather, speak of everything in a Christian way!"

Patti Anderson, Promised Cooperator, St. Louis, Missouri

Maryann Toth said...

Rae, Thank you for posting about the beautiful weekend we had filled with prayer, great talks and fellowship. What a wonderful opportunity to meet new sisters and cooperators. We are blessed to be part of the Pauline Family!

M-L Handal, NYC said...

Rae, your article showed why it was such an inspiration to attend the Cooperator Conference in this Centenary Year of our Association. The talks provided rich food for thought and generated productive discussions of ways we can develop our ministries. Thank you, Sisters, for your efforts in preparing the excellent presentations. The prayerful environment reminded us of the great gift we received when we became Pauline Cooperators. Thank you, Sister Patricia Mary, for making the arrangements.