success stories

Posted January 10, 2003

Thoughts On Leadership Worth Pondering

From Origins, January 9, 2003

"The essence of the prophetic vocation is to listen deeply, to see with the eyes of the heart, in a word, to be contemplative. Contemplation is the heart of prophetic leadership. When the way is dark and the path unclear; when there are no answers — even the questions elude; when we ‘cast down' . . . the compass of the whither and the why' — to whom do we go, where do we fly? In our hearts we know! . . .

"As leaders two years ago . . . we committed ourselves to being contemplative in the midst of our works for justice and for peace, being stilled in the heart of God, that the Spirit's breakthrough will bring us to new places — places and ways we may not otherwise go . . ."

"We ‘lean' together; we ‘lean to catch the stirring of the Spirit.' Be still, and know that I am God. Be still and know . . . know that God is here! . ."

"Listen in the tension of a war. Listen in the tension of a church torn asunder by sins of passion and abuse of power. Listen in the terror of violence in our streets and of children and women without food to eat. Listen in the anger of racial hatred and ethnic division! Listen in the weariness of not enough time, of too many demands!" . . .

"A truly prophetic word emanates from in-touchness with the heart of God. It arises in the context of community gathered in contemplation/obedient listening to God's Spirit. In this wandering waylessness of unknowning, divine imagination flames up and finds expression. Eyes, not ours alone, see more clearly: hearts afire more dearly: feet emboldened follow more nearly. In this time, in this place, the good news of the reign of God must be proclaimed! . . .

"In the ‘worst of times' a prophetic community, a prophetic leader, calls for the ‘best of times,' assuring those who mourn, those whose tears run warm that there is a time to dance. In a time of loss and diminishment, a prophetic leader, acts with courage drawn from the strength of faith and the wisdom of grace, calling all to seek new paths, different ways of being. In a time of war a prophetic community, a prophetic leader, calls for a time of peace."

From: "To Serve as Prophets of Hope in This Time, This Place," an address by Sister Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP, to the assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in Origins, Sept. 12, 2002.