United States Conference of Secular institutes

2020 Fall USCSI Newsletter

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Secular Institutes

Dear Friends,
Outside my window a frisky squirrel is
gathering nuts to put away in his secret hiding place to
prepare for leaner times. This afternoon it will be out
to the garden to bring in the last squash, peppers, and
tomatoes before the frost predicted for this week. It
seems to be a season of preparation, doesn’t it?
I just finished reading a novel called “The
Hope Chest.” A dying woman brings out memories
piece by piece from her cedar chest, with gratitude for
every blessing and promise the items symbolize. It
occurred to me that at this time of the COVID we
could all use a spiritual hope chest that turns our
attention to the many gifts God has given us.
We could not have our annual meeting this
year, but if we had, the theme would have been
“Re-imagining: little things make a big difference.”

What are the little things of the past summer that made a
difference in your life? Or what small service lighted up
the darkness of another person? And I do mean really
small gestures.
One of my favorite sayings is, “If a butterfly flaps
its wings in Japan, it changes the weather in the U.S.”
There are many variations of the Butterfly Effect, but
wouldn’t it be great if the secular institutes started a
tsunami of hope in our world so full of despair, violence
and hatred? The smallest things done with great love can
truly change the world. That was Mother Teresa’s motto
too: love one person at a time and we see today what an
impact she has had on world history.
It takes one snowflake to begin an avalanche and
one drop of rain to begin a flood. Could my next action be
the one that makes a difference in someone’s world and
therefore, in the world at large? All that we do as
members of the Body of Christ either help or hinder the
Church and world. So how about filling that hope chest
and leaving the lid open for everyone to enjoy?
While we did not hold our annual meeting this
September, the executive committee met virtually that
weekend. Among our other business we cast the
ceremonial ballot to elect Jessica Swedzinski as secretary
and Deacon Paul Lang as our treasurer. Both candidates
were unopposed. Hopefully, next year’s annual meeting
will take place at Marytown, Libertyville, Illinois,
September 24-26, 2021. Mark your calendars and pray
that we will be able to travel.
God bless you all,
Marcia Vinje


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