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The “Lydia’s circle,” in Acts 16:13-15, is a group of women who gathered outside the city gates to find deeper relationship with God and the community of life. In our religious communities we are invited to form "circles of faith" (or faith-sharing groups) not only to support each other in our faith journeys but also to strengthen one another in the living of our vows today. In these faith circles, we allow the word of God to become alive in our daily life as we find ways of expressing it in prophetic action.

women singing earthwomen singing earth

As we consider the vows in our postmodern era, we realize that religious life cannot
continue to exist the way it has been lived in the past where, for instance, the vows were somehow practiced more as a mindless and unreflective adherence and compliance to "mechanical" concepts that leave religious life sterile and empty, both for the people in it and the people outside of it.

It robs religious life of its primary characteristic and function in the church, which is to be a prophetic presence, witness and conscience to a church, which has forgotten the very reason and motivation for its life and existence.

The story of Lydia and her circle of women serve as a reminder for us that we cannot give witness to our prophetic calling without a life of contemplation and deep listening to God's word.

Lydia's generous hospitality was her spontaneous and immediate prophetic action, a sign of her commitment to Christ and his gospel.

I believe that in today's fragmented world, our mystic spirit and our sense of "belonging to God" must open us up to others and to the world, to offer ourselves, our communities and our planet as a hospitable place for humanity and for the whole of God's creation.

This to me is one of the greatest challenges for our religious communities today.

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sr. Judette Gallares, RC

LYDIA'S CIRCLE

Our lives are unique and sacred -- with stories waiting to be told. We are people of hope. Yet along with healing and transformation, we experience struggles, challenges and pain. The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor are hosting Lydia’s Circle and will offer the gift of translating these stories into four languages (English, Italian, French, and Portuguese) so that women can connect globally, network and share their healing stories, becoming instruments of healing, peace and reconciliation for ourselves and our world.

Lydia´s circle logotypelogo del Circolo di Lidia

Lydia’s Circle represents the presence of God in each of us as we hold one another. This Circle will be present, listening and praying with you...

Our loving and faithful God walks with us on our journeys. Because of this, we are set free and given courage to live and tell a new story of hope, daring love, joy, and resurrection.

Click here for Healing´s histories...

Questions for Reflection:

As a spiritual exercise, why not pray with a favorite Scripture passage where Jesus is speaking (perhaps a healing story or an encounter Jesus has). What is it like for you to reflect in a new way about “ . . . the values and attitudes of Jesus: what he felt strongly about, what stories of life affected and influenced him, what was memorable and important to him, what moved him, what did he love so deeply?”

Does the icon of “Lydia’s circle” (in Acts 16:13-15, a group of women who gathered outside the city gates to find deeper relationship with God and the community of life) appeal to you? If so, how?