One of the highlights of the week here in Chicago is our weekly Tuesday trip to Techny Illinois. What was once the head quarters for the SVD’s (Society of the Divine Word) is now a conference center and beautiful chapel. We leave the house every Tuesday at 7:00am to travel to Techny for a gathering of novices from about 12 different religious communities. This meeting is called Inter-Community Novitiate (ICN).
During these meetings, we gather as a group of friends all going through novitiate together. Because of this, ICN is sort of like a “support group” helping us all along on the road of religious life. Along with this community, we have presentations by a number of lay and religious folk. Last week’s presentation was on Poverty in today’s world, and this week’s topic is Transitions.
My favorite aspect of ICN is the diversity that exists within this group. Out of the roughly 40 or so novices that are in attendance, we represent many different countries. At lunch, I have shared a meal with novices from Brazil, Ghana, Tanzania, Ireland, Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan, just to name a few.
Because of this diversity, I am learning much about the Catholic Church as the Universal Church that it is. My appreciation of other cultures is rapidly expanding. For closing prayer last week, we sang a traditional song from Bangladesh using genuine Bangladesh instruments. I’m also getting some practice in Spanish thanks to the sisters from Mexico.