There’s a strength to be found in this circle of friends
who bear the name of Jesus deep in their hearts.
It’s the strength of our convictions, the energy we share
as being together, praying together.
We walk together in faith.
With these words and music by Deirdre Browne, we began our reunion of the IBVM Artists Gathering. On 15 May 2020 – one year after our initial gathering in Canada – over 15 participants from around the world, including two from the Generalate in Rome, gathered online to reconnect and celebrate the IBVM Arts Ministry. While we are restricted by social distancing from gathering in-person in our daily lives, gathering online afforded us the freedom to be together, to share and pray together, and to explore our creativity across the boundaries that currently separate us.
The Zoom gathering was facilitated by Sarah Rudolph, mercifully, without too many technical glitches. Jen Bromham led the opening prayer, allowing space for quiet and reflection. Clotilde de Maroussem invited us, many times, to raise our glasses in toast to one another. Deirdre Browne and Susan Daily presented The Open Circle video (below), a beautiful and inspiring reflection on the role of the arts during the coronavirus pandemic. Drawing on the inspiration of Mary Ward during times of plague in Europe, the video invited us to contemplate the role of artists during the coronavirus pandemic. We uncovered a need to engage the world through creative expression. Arlene Ashack gave an update on our collective achievements, in particular, the successful launch of the IBVM Arts Ministry and the showcasing of IBVM artists on the Anawim Arts website. The way forward continues to unfold as we look for ways to encourage the participation of more artists within our Institute and our networks.
Our gathering concluded with a communal creative activity – an art project developed by Annie Bromham and facilitated by Jen Bromham – that let us explore how we are personally moving through this pandemic time. We ended, as we begun, with prayer and contemplation on how we are one ‘circle of friends’ across boundaries; we are always ‘Together.’