Seeking a deeper relationship with Christ
A New Genesis serves in the world in a variety of ministries
By Sr. Thea McQuistion
By Sr. Diane Baumann|
Through the working of the Holy Spirit, the title, vision and mission statement of A New Genesis were formed all on the same day. It was the desire of the members of A New Genesis to live out the principles of the Second Vatican Council by living and ministry among and with the People of God.
Our focus is living out the Paschal Mystery, dying and rising with Christ, through our daily lives and our ministry in the church and world. We are passionate about ministry, which takes many forms for our community members. Even in retirement, our members choose to remain active in some expression of ministry.
A uniqueness of our community is that we have two forms of full membership. One is full, vowed membership (poverty, celibacy and obedience) and another form is full, non-vowed membership, wherein a member wishes to be a full member of the community and live a life of dedication and ministry, but without vows. Our community has associate members, single and married persons who share in the meetings, committees, social gatherings and prayer of A New Genesis.
Grounded in apostolic spirituality, members of A New Genesis live among the people with whom they minister. Recognizing the gifts given by the Spirit, each member is encouraged to strengthen her life in Christ through prayer and ministry to the Church and the world.
Members of a New Genesis walk with each other on the faith journey. They share life and prayer, with the hope that all will be led to a deeper relationship with Christ.
The start of A New Genesis dates back to 1978 when eight women, who had left their original communities, met to share prayer and search for options of community living and church ministries. Most were grounded in Franciscan spirituality, but some had also studied and embraced Ignatian spirituality. The name "A New Genesis" was chosen because this would indeed be a new beginning for them. With the counsel, approval and support of Bp. Aloysius Wycislo, A New Genesis was established. The first eight members publicly renewed their vows on Feb. 18, 1983. In the ensuing 19 years, membership has increased to 29, including two married associates and one married inquirer.
When God called Isaiah to ministry, Isaiah answered, "Here I am Lord, send me." God called each member of A New Genesis to various ministries and they responded, using their individual gifts and talents. As a result, ministry has taken a variety of forms for our members, but the focus is always on reaching out in loving service.
That service has been extended to parishes and communities as teachers and administrators in schools, religious education directors, parish administrators, a nursing home director, and a teacher in a correctional facility. Members also include a registered nurse in a correctional facility, an accountant, the president of a Native American college, a director of music and worship, a human relations director, a diocesan director for parish ministers and the chancellor of the Green Bay Diocese.
Not only are the ministries all across the board, but there is diversity in the publics served: children, adults, the ill, the imprisoned, white, black and Native American. Members of A New Genesis serve in Washington, D. C., Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and throughout Wisconsin.
With the church, members of A New Genesis encounter Christ through celebrations of the sacraments and praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Other forms of prayer include spiritual reading, reflection on nature, varied retreat experiences and other devotional practices. Continual dialogue with each other about spirituality, ministry and the diverse needs of the world inspires and directs the members of A New Genesis to renew their commitments daily and never officially retire from the ministry to the people of God.