by Sr Rita Kammermayer
Our primary ministry here is one of welcome and hospitality to guests, visitors and participants of Biblical Programs at the Sion Centre for Biblical Formation. People come to stay from many countries. Living here one truly sees the world!
We sought to find our way on unchartered ground in the midst of the change
I grew up in a large, supportive family in Saskatoon, a small city on the Canadian prairies. During my schooling I was taught by several sisters of Sion. I was always so impressed by the sisters; they were so wholesome, and always giving. Their motto “You have received, now you give!” prepared me well to face the future. It was when I was sixteen that I thought seriously about religious life and in 1958 I entered Sion.
After professing my vows in 1960, I attended teachers college. This was a dream come true! I taught in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Winnipeg, and loved it. In particular, our community’s location in Winnipeg gave us the opportunity to work among the Indigenous people there.
Vatican II in the sixties and its effects in the following years were a glorious yet challenging time, as we sought to find our way on unchartered ground in the midst of change. Sion played an important role in keeping the focus on the Church’s understanding of Judaism and of Jewish-Christian relations and, at the same time, we were readjusting our own thinking. I am so very grateful for the changes that happened then and we are still experiencing today.
What challenges me today is the call for justice in our world
Towards the end of the nineties, I was asked to come to the Ecce Homo Convent, and I have been here since. It is a wonderful experience to be living in Jerusalem – it truly is the heart in so many ways!
What challenges me today is the call for justice in our world. Violence, destruction, corruption and greed are so prevalent. In Sion I’ve discovered that in life you take in all that will help you to grow, to be alive, to live worthwhile and contributing lives. I believe we are called to do whatever we can to bring about a change for the better. Ephesians 3:16-19 epitomizes this:
“In the abundance of his glory may he, through his Spirit, enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, with all God’s holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; so that, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge, you may be filled with the utter fullness of God”.
No matter what the struggle, obstacle or mood, I found that Scripture spoke to me
In many ways, Sion, in its simplicity and grounded in Scripture, has built on a solid foundation; a deep faith in God is what has sustained me. God was present in both the joys and in the harder moments. Scripture has for me been a rock and a refuge. No matter what the struggle, obstacle or mood, I found that Scripture spoke to me.
As I reflect on my years in Sion, I realize the richness that has filled them, and I certainly see God’s hand in the events of my life.