Belonging

Spirituality Ministry

The first Community of Wisdom gathered in 1703 in a poor house in Poitier, France to care for the needs of their neighbors. Sr. Marie-Louise Trichet became a part of the community under the guidance of a lay superior. This core community was joined by residents and benefactors and a wisdom way of life devolved which integrated prayer, community and service.  St. Louis Marie de Montfort offered spiritual formation through two of his early writings.  The Love of Eternal Wisdom he gave to Marie-Louise to guide them in their quest for Wisdom  - eternal Wisdom of the Hebrew scriptures and Jesus, Incarnate Wisdom of the Christian Scriptures. He outlined four pathways on this journey – ardent desire, persevering prayer, universal sacrifice or suffering and a tender and true devotion to Mary.  A second treatise entitled True Devotion to Mary further developed spiritual foundations and timely practices to support the journey.

 

As Daughters of Wisdom spread through western Europe, the Americas, Africa, and eventually Asia, they shared their life and their spirituality and developed unique prayer and ritual in collaboration with their hosts and neighbors.  The quest for Wisdom remained at the heart of the community and the manifestations of each culture enriched all.

 

In the United States in the latter half of the 20th century there was an increased desire for education and formation in scripture, theology and spirituality.  Such endeavors led to learning and working with men and women from differing congregational traditions. Over time this led to ecumenical and interfaith conversation and collaboration in local churches, retreat houses and spirituality Centers.  Daughters of Wisdom in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, New York, the Carolinas and the Virginias shared in this mutual enrichment. 

 

In a world often divided by religion and theology, the way of wisdom opened doors to discover the perennial wisdom that is the foundations of all authentic spirituality. 


 

The Daughters of Wisdom have ministered in the

Diocese of Hartford, CT since 1949 and currently serve at:

Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center, Litchfield, CT

Lourdes in Litchfield, CT

Sacred Heart Church, Southbury, CT

Past Ministries:

St. Bernadette's Parish, New Haven, CT

St. Regis Nursing Home, New Haven, CT

Corpus Christi School, Wethersfield, CT

Diocese of St. Augustine, FL since 1984 and currently serve at:

Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL since 2000 and currently serve at:

Catholic Charities

Diocese of Portland since 1904 and currentlt serve at:

St. Agatha's Parish, St. Agatha, ME

Past Ministries:

The Center for Wisdom's Women, Lewiston, ME

Diocese of Brooklyn since 1904 and currently serve at:

St. Mary Gate of Heaven, Ozone Park, NY

St. Matthew's, Brooklyn, NY

St. Raphael, Long Island City, NY

Shrine Church of St. Jude, Brooklyn, NY

St. Virgilius, Broad Channel, NY

Past Ministries:

Our Lady of Mercy, Brooklyn, NY

St. Vincent's Services, Brooklyn, NY

Diocese of Rockville Center, NY since 1957 and currently serve at:

St. Boniface, Elmont, NY

St. Mary's Parish, East Islip, NY

St. James Parish, Setauket, NY

St. Hugh of Lincoln, Huntington Station, NY

Montfort Spiritual Center, Bay Shore, NY

Past Ministries:

St. Raymond's Church, East Rockaway, NY

St. William the Abbot RCC, Seaford, NY

Hope House Ministries, Port Jefferson, NY

Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina since 1994 and currently serve at:

St. Frances, Walhalla, SC

Diocese of Richmond, Virginia since 1944 and currently serve at:

Maryview Hospital, Portsmouth, VA

Past Ministries:

St. Mary's, Norfolk, Viriginia

Diocese of Arlington, Virginia from 1994-2012 at:

St. Bernadette's Parish, Springfield, VA

Dioscese of Wheeling, West Virginia from 1977-2012 at:

Pineville Clinic, Pineville, W VA

 


CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS INTERNATIONAL

By Sr. Cathleen Murtha, DW

From a small gathering of spiritual directors of the Christian faith at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California in 1989, Spiritual Director’s International has grown to include over 6,000 members on six continents that represent more than fifty spiritual traditions. Around 600 of us gathered in Louisville, Kentucky in April (2015) to celebrate together our 25th Anniversary and to discern the Emerging Wisdom as we move forward in our service to the world.

Spiritual Directors International is a network that grew from the shared belief that throughout human history individuals have been inspired to accompany others seeking the mystery that many name God. SDI believes that spiritual companionship and deepening transforms individuals, communities, society and all creation. Annually we come together to support and challenge, to deepen and empower, to pray and to celebrate.

This April, I was blessed to participate in the annual Conference focused on Emerging Wisdom. Before the conference, 25 of us who have served on the Coordinating Council responded to the invitation to spend a day in discerning the emerging wisdom within the arena of spiritual direction/companionship. What a lively and energizing coming together that empowered us to claim the blessings of the past and to look forward with hope. Our commitment to the integration of contemplation, justice and community was strengthened.

Some of the highlights for me were –

· Witnessing a group of Tibetan monks create the compassion sand mandala. 
· Communal Worship that included song and dance, silence and song. 
· Sharing the Wisdom of a Sufi master, Pir Zia, who held the oneness of creation and of humanity as he traced his lineage on the path to Wisdom. 
· Being challenged to embrace the engaged contemplative life as experienced by Theilhard de Chardin. 
· Visiting Gethsemane and the gravesite of Thomas Merton and having the opportunity to pray Compline with the monks. 
· Listening to stories of transformation – A Jewish woman in the taxi on the way back to the airport who recounted her experience at the Conference. She grew up in post World War II Transylvania in a village of holocaust survivors where there was always a climate of not being safe and not being able to trust the other. While meeting with the other Jewish Spiritual directors, she revealed that being at the conference was the first time she felt safe enough to wear a yarmulke. One of the women in the group gave her one.


· I count my blessings for being a part of this inclusive global community 
· where conversations are broad and deep; 
· where relationships are open and honest; 
· where respect for each and all is tangible; 
· where there are so many names and images for the Holy, and 
· where all are welcome!

Whenever I am among the Spiritual Direction community, I am grateful for the Wisdom tradition that has opened me to experience God in all the experiences of life. I know that in every generation Wisdom enters into holy souls making them friends of God and prophets. I am privileged to be part of the community of spiritual directors that engages and supports seeking Her in all of life.

Sr. Cathleen Murtha, DW
Spiritual Director – 1988 – present
Director of the Spiritual Life Center, CT, 1992 – 2011
Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International – 2001-2007