On August 15, 2012, Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed 900 nuns at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. For Barbara, the invitation was a culmination of her life’s work as a voice for what she calls evolutionary consciousness. She received a standing ovation.
The phrase that includes the root word “evolution” might be of concern for some catholics. I am not a bible scholar, but as a person who was baptised in the Catholic Church around August 15, 1954 and educated by nuns, “evolutionary consciousness” is akin to the parable of the talents.
As I remember being told the story, a master was going on a trip and he gave each of three servants a sum of money (talent). To the first he gave five talents, to the second two talents and to the third he gave one talent. The first used the five talents to make five more and the second used the two talents to make two more. The third servant was afraid of losing the talent he was given and buried it in the ground. When the master returned he was pleased with the first two servants and displeased with the actions of the third.
Our consciousness is a gift that includes the intellect of our hearts and minds and how we connect with the divine. It is our God-given talent. We can move beyond our current consciousness of scarcity and fear. We can change (other than two maternal aunts who were nuns – one of them a “laugh a minute” and the other very devout – I used to be scared of nuns)! We can move into joy and sharing with others. We are all in this together – this is the message I hear from Barbara and the nuns. We are here not to judge each other. We are here to love each other and to experience that Love as an ever-growing way of being.
Here are the words that came as sat down to write after being so inspired by these powerful, courageous, and vulnerable women:
Can I have your attention?
Waving my hand in the air–
eager to answer the question you’ve given.
Sister, Sister, in your black boots and long dress
an oversized rosary hanging from your waist
a white bonnet pinned to your hidden hair.
I’m told your outfit was originally intended
so as not to draw attention
to yourself an outward tradition
that no longer had meaning.
Sister, Sister, there were so many
inner and outer disconnections
a virgin honored, a woman discarded
I walked away from your gilded cathedral
like a loyal housekeeper, you quietly stayed.
We ran to the mountains to find refuge
to seek the spirit to reconnect our bodies and souls.
And now, your voice I hear again
Amazed you look like every woman
I hear you calling for an open dialog
Sister, Sister, I am returning a prodigal daughter
I stand by your side to re-hear the story
a woman valued, a woman sovereign
a consciousness evolving.