Inspiring Women of Faith
Cheryl Camp rsm (pictured above – back and centre) and Elizabeth Young rsm attended the annual Jewish Christian Muslim Association’s ‘Inspiring Women of Faith Women’s Conference’ from May 12-14. Sister Elizabeth recounts her experiences.
As we emerged from bumper-to-bumper Friday traffic into the quiet peace of the Don Bosco Centre, we tuned into some of the most basic human experiences: greeting new people, receiving hospitality, sharing stories, and sharing faith. We were at the Jewish Christian Muslim Association’s ‘Inspiring Women of Faith Women’s Conference’ and there was a lovely mixture of new and old faces representing the variety of faith traditions across Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Although many of us had been involved with events like this before, we started with some of the same uncertainty and trepidation of any new group of people.
We spent time experiencing each others religious practices and as we encountered deeply-held beliefs we were challenged by stereotypes and sensitivities that are often unexamined. In the wonderful process of the conference, however, we were able to speak with real honesty and reach out to others with genuine compassion.
All of us were inspired to receive the gifts of those who are different to us and be enriched in our own faith and life journeys. Over the conference, we observed and discussed three prayer rituals lead by members of each of the religious groups. These were carefully planned and fit well at the times of traditional weekly/daily routines.
We also heard from speakers about inspiring women of faith, both from our own religious traditions and from other women living out their faith today. We heard from keynote speakers about inspiring women of the Abrahamic faiths, women from each of our religious traditions and from women living out their faith today. We heard about Beruriah, the second century Jewish scholar followed by the highly spiritual Christian woman Hildegard of Bingen, and discovered that Aisha, the second wife of Prophet Mohammed, was a deeply spiritual women and ‘scholar of scholars’.
We were given a presentation on ‘Miriam and Mary’ Dr Helen Light, JCMA President, who presented a Jewish insight into the life of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, who was a prophet and first appears in the Book of Exodus. Professor Mary Coloe presented a Christian perspective of Mary and Sherene Hassan presented from a Muslim perspective how important Mary (Maryam) is in the Islamic faith inspiring and connecting us as women of faith.
An important part of the conference were the times of open and safe discussion, in both the smaller and larger groups and over break times. These opportunities presented each person in attendance with the ability to relate to each other with deep levels of trust and understanding. The conference served to further inspire guests to live as positive women of faith in a diverse and interconnected world.
Messages to: Elizabeth Young rsm
29 May 2017