Faith & Sharing: A Memorial Day tradition

May 31, 2012 by

The Concordia contingent to Faith and Sharing: BACK ROW, from left: Sheila Levendofsky, Charla Castle, Katie Christensen, Cindy Ponce, Sister Christella Buser, Jennifer Simons, Donnie Tate and Rachel Burgess. FRONT ROW, from left: Kathleen Norman, Anna Gravett, Anna Schmitz, Sister Julie Christensen and Tim Novak.

Many people view the long Memorial Day weekend as the kickoff to summer and plan for barbecues and family get-togethers. Others continue the annual ritual of remembering loved ones by placing flowers on their graves and cleaning up around their tombstones.

But Sister Christella Buser marked this Memorial Day weekend as she has every one for the past 22 years: By joining others in a Faith and Sharing retreat.

The annual event — from May 25 to 27 — was at the University of St. Mary campus in Leavenworth, Kan.

The idea behind Faith and Sharing retreats grew out of L’Arche, founded in 1964 by Jean Vanier as a community where developmentally disabled and physically challenged adults and “assistants” would live and work together. The Federation of L’Arche International today has more than 130 communities in 30 countries, including L’Arche Heartland in the Kansas City area, which Sister Christella helped found 25 years ago.

Vanier held the first Faith and Sharing, an annual Gospel-centered retreat, in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario, and in 1990 Sister Christella was instrumental in bringing the retreat to Kansas. For the past four years, Sister Julie Christensen has been in charge of the logistics for getting the group from Concordia to Leavenworth. Sister Julie is the Youth and Young Adult Program Coordinator at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia.

This year’s participants will include L’Arche community members and others from Concordia and across Kansas. The participants stay in a residence hall at the Leavenworth college, and the retreat continues through late Sunday morning.


2 Responses to “Faith & Sharing: A Memorial Day tradition”

  1. S. Faye on June 2nd, 2012 8:46 pm

    Wonderful and wonderful for the history of our CSJ involvement.

  2. Loretta A. Jasper, csj on June 1st, 2012 8:18 pm

    A totally holy and heartfelt way to re-connect with life long friends within L’Arche; in addition to adding new friends.

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