The ongoing journey of Biblical formation

by Sr Margaret (Marge) Zdunich

My first encounter with the Sisters of Sion was as a student at Sion Academy High School in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada.

During those years I was a boarder living closely with the sisters. At Sion my world was expanded by the sisters who were our teachers. Their global vision, commitment, dedication, community life, spirituality and hospitality inspired and deeply impacted my life. This positive environment nurtured the sense of call that I felt.

My world was expanded by the sisters

It is not surprising that several young women from Sion Academy responded to the call to dedicate their lives to God and to become part of this group of vibrant women. We may not have fully understood consecrated life or the charism when we answered the call, but we became part of the ongoing process of formation to deepen our knowledge and understanding of these aspects of religious life. We grew into our new identity as Sisters of Sion.

From a very early age, I was intrigued by the beautiful Bible in my home, even though these were the days when we were not encouraged to read the Bible. However, our Bible was illustrated, and I was captured by the images and the stories. In my academic studies of theology and scripture I gravitated to taking as many Bible courses as possible within my program.

My entire ministry has been marked by a focus on Scripture and Biblical studies through my involvement in teacher education. This included teaching basic Scripture courses to teachers enrolled in “Additional Qualifications Courses”. As a religious consultant, I was involved in various in-service sessions for teachers on implementation of Biblical-based religious education programs.

A turning point for me was the involvement with and study in the Bat Kol Institute in Jerusalem, where we studied texts with Jewish professors using Jewish sources, something I had not done in my academic studies. Bat Kol motivated me to continue deepening my study of Scripture with this new dimension of Jewish sources. It was a wonderful preparation for my ministry in the Centre for Biblical Formation in Jerusalem.

I was intrigued by the beautiful Bible in my home

Over the years I have focused my interest and study on Biblical women. I have offered several parish workshops on the stories of women in our shared Scriptures. More recently, my focus has become the women in Acts and the Letters of Paul. Women biblical scholars are providing new scholarship on the role of women in the spread of the Jesus movement, which is so enriching and enlightening. It is giving us new insights into the stories of these women.

My passion for Biblical Formation and study has deepen and developed in my present ministry as Director of the NDS Centre for Biblical Formation. Planning, designing and developing programs and content has been enriching. My experience of seeing how people are impacted and transformed by their time in Jerusalem has been a great joy for me.

Deepening my study of Scripture with this new dimension of Jewish sources

My hope for the future is to return to more teaching and facilitating workshops and Bible study in parishes and for adult education groups. Having had the opportunity during these years in CBF to receive so much formation, new insights, new learnings from recent biblical scholarship has deepened my desire to share these learnings with those who are not able to come to Jerusalem, yet want to deepen their knowledge of Scripture.

I am deeply grateful for these years as Director of the NDS Centre for Biblical Formation. It has been an enormously rewarding ministry and I hope that Sisters of Sion continue to be involved with the Centre in new and creative ways.