Gathering together as family is nothing new to Sisters and Mission Partners in North America. Each year Good Shepherd ministry staff and Sisters get together in Detroit to share their wisdom of the Good Shepherd mission and values. This year’s Gathering brought 75 people together from the ministries in North America to connect with and inspire one another about the Good Shepherd Mission.
“Our theme this year was Be-Longing,” said Melinda Stricklen, Director of the Office of Mission Effectiveness.
“People who came to the Gathering examined how they belong to the Good Shepherd Community and family and what they are longing for in their work to sustain them in the mission. There was a balance between conversation and sharing wisdom. We set the tone for the theme with an opening ritual that made everyone feel like they belong to the Good Shepherd family,” Melinda said.
The Gathering took place at St. Paul’s Retreat Center in Detroit, Michigan, from September 25-28, 2018. Each ministry in North America sent at least one person to represent them.
“The Mission Partners who came to the Gathering had amazing conversations on every level. Their willingness to participate in conversations, discussions and activities full-on is what breathes life into our programs. This is a treasure. This kind of time together is when we are at our best in mission,” Melinda said.
Melinda summed up the true essence of the Gathering by quoting a portion of a letter that Saint Mary Euphrasia had sent to her Daughters in the New World.
You have a sacred, precious jewel, confided to you. It is our Mission that you carry in your arms, in your person. Show it to the world, to everyone, in all its beauty. Our mission was founded through love. We have all been drawn to it through love. It is love which keeps us here.