Global Sisters Report's Life Panel introduced the panel members for 2020. They are from more than 50 applicants from around the world who reflect a diversity of ages, nationalities, religious congregations, ministries and charisms.
The panelists are from, have ties to or work in: Australia, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lithuania, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, the United States and Zimbabwe.
They include an art therapy counselor, a former banker, college professors, an international financial expert, a missiologist, a mother and grandmother, a nurse, pastoral workers, a radio producer, spiritual directors, teachers, theologians, a web manager and writers, as well as sisters who work in congregational leadership, communications and formation, or with the aged, HIV/AIDS victims, people who are homeless, refugees, street children and female prisoners.
Maria Magdalena Bennasar (Magda) of the Sisters for Christian Community is from Spain. Studies in theology gave her a foundation for the charism of prayer and ministry of the word with an emphasis on spirituality and Scripture: teaching, conducting retreats and workshops, creating community and training lay leaders in Australia, the U.S. and Spain. Currently, she is working on eco-spirituality and searching for a space to create a center or collaborate with others.
Along with the other members of the Life Panel, Magda was asked to reflect on a significant life lesson. What follows is her reflection:
Amma Eagle flies and flies. Her young on her soft feathers, she goes high and low, very high, then softly lowers as in a dance — in circles and back — playing and dancing, amusing her little ones.
She knows the time is ripe, that today is the day, and, closing her eyes in trust, she lowers rapidly, leaving the little ones up in the air for one eternal second, two, three. Finally, they open their baby wings and begin flapping again and again. Mom is underneath; they now feel secure, not looking down for her anymore, simply beginning to enjoy the flying that will be their life.
I was young, only 16, and the ability to preach was awakened in me, in the mama eagle's way, the same way I learned to swim when I was thrown very young into the sea under the vigilant eyes of three women. I had experienced the method, and when invited to talk about the experience of love that still today keeps my heart warm, I felt up in the air, but there she was: Amma God flying under, still today.
And in that flight, I learned and enjoyed the beauty and the pain of cultures and races and different languages. The flight was high, very high. I was young and steadily flying. Suddenly, I clashed against a storm: It was dark, I was alone, shaken by the winds, and couldn't catch sight of her. She had always been under, just as now she might be, and I continued flapping my now stronger but vulnerable wings. Too dark, too stormy, too high, God!
A year ago, reading Global Sisters Report, a column by Sr. Margaret Gonsalves of the Sisters for Christian Community caught my heart's eye. In reading it, I began to feel under my heart the close softness of Sister Eagle's soft feathers. I was impelled by the Ruah to find out more about the Sisters for Christian Community.
Thank you, Global Sisters Report. You've been like Mama Eagle, flying under me; I've passed through the storm into the light of a new sisterhood.
Now, in my sky, there is a rainbow, and flying is fun and creative and risky again. I'm slowly recovering my being, three months away from flying full blast with them. Now I'm becoming Sister Eagle for many others, flying joyfully with my sisters, my equals, trying new ministries in an evolving world that is very tired of words.