Sisters in Scripture
Vicarious Joy
11/18/2020  Kathleen MacInnis Kichline

Vicarious joy can be surprisingly satisfying! My friend had just shared that she would get to see a co-worker's newborn daughter today. Enough time and mutual isolation had passed that it was deemed safe. She was looking forward to it--not surprising. But what did surprise me is how excited I was for her! I fairly skipped when she told me. What a wonderful thing to have happen in her day! What a wonderful thing to have happen at all!

Vicarious Joy!--the very real phenomenon that is, I suspect, a consequence of the isolation we have known during Covid-19. These days, someone else's good news goes way beyond, "I'm happy for you." Someone else's small pleasures are occasion for our own celebration.

This summer my teen/young adult grandchildren bought a jaunty little jeep ice cream truck and spent a Covid-safe summer delivering frozen fun to the neighborhood. Not only were the children made happy but most everyone who heard the story delighted with them!

Just last week a friend told me of being at a park and watching the children at play. A five-year-old girl was struggling to master the monkey bars with her mother's hands at the ready to catch her if she slipped. He watched as she swung back and forth and then pitched her tiny frame forward, reached out, and grabbed the bar ahead. She did this repeatedly, brow wrinkled in concentration, pink tongue pressed between her lips. Each attempt required more exertion than the one before, but each catch of the bar became more steady with practice. When she finally achieved that final bar, my friend leapt to his feet and applauded. His delight was nearly as great as that of the parent and child.

It was the kind of thing that normally he'd have smiled at and enjoyed, but this time, he was all in! Her victory was somehow his as well. He did not even feel sheepish in his exuberant display. He walked home with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.

You know how being hungry makes food taste so good? Some of it is that. But the vicarious nature of this joy has less to do with being without things and more to do with being connected. Apparently, there's nothing like a global pandemic to make us realize we are all in this thing called life together!


What is Sisters in Scripture? 
Sisters in Scripture began as a bible study for women and while it still is that today, the ministry has grown into much more.  Bible Studies were followed by workshops and presentations which evolved into a full line of retreat offerings—some as short as a partial day, others over several days, on a rich variety of topics. 
Recently, online retreats have been added to in-person retreats
Spiritual Direction with Kathleen is also available via phone/Skype or in person at either of two locations: Lynnwood, WA (occasionally) and Bella Vista, AR (regularly).

Assisi Follow-up: More Good News

MAGDALA is the online journal born of the Assisi Colloquy that could not convene due to Covid-19. The website for that is now up and running and can be accessed here:  MAGDALA. There is much more still to be added--including the first journal edition in November. That edition on the Holy Spirit will include my article on Teresa of Avila and Her Poetry. I'll let you know once that appears. Meanwhile, MAGDALA has provided a link to my website--nice. The journal comes out of Italy and will be offered in three languages: English, Italian and French. Guess we've now gone international! 

 Bible Studies

Sisters in Scripture offers a variety of studies available for purchase from this site.  Each study seeks to prayerfully engage the scriptures to arrive at meaning for today and in our everyday lives.  To do so, we enter the story through the lens of various biblical characters using both biblical scholarship and our own creative imagination. 
Each chapter includes Background, Prayer, Reflection Questions, and a Closer Look at the Text.  To see the full line of studies, go to  the Bible Studies page or the Purchase Books page on this site.

 Spiritual Direction

A more apt name might be "spiritual companioning.”  I often think of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus when doing Spiritual Direction.  On life's road, Christ draws alongside, unseen but ever present, though we are often only partially aware.  Spiritual Direction is intentional attentiveness to that Presence in the company of an other who walks that same journey.  To read more about this gentle disciple, go to the Spiritual Direction page on this website.

It has been my great joy over many years to partner with Betsey Beckman in leading this Advent Retreat.  This year we will be presenting it online at the invitation of St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA.

 Which means. . . ALL can come, no matter where you live!!

 In addition to her artistry in dance, Betsey is a video producer and will bring her talent to creating this lively, prayerful, reflective time. To give you a sense of how this will work over Friday night and two Saturday sessions, pictures and descriptions are available on the Advent page.

This year the Advent retreat will be online!

with Betsey Beckman

Mark your calendar for Friday evening, December 11 and Saturday December 12.For more information or to register, go to the St. Placid Priory website: NAZARETH 

 $75.00 - Partial Scholarships Available

Retreats and Presentations

As with the interactive focus in my studies, the retreats are also designed to help participants enter into and experience the theme through a variety of modalities: prayer, silence, presentation, discussion, music, art, poetry, etc. 
In addition to leading retreats, for the past four years, I have been co-teaching a course on Spiritual Retreats in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, a sacred task that allows retreat ministry to expand through the future ministries of those I teach.
To View Photos of last year's Retreat, Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth, click on the link.  
A comment from Julie Joslund, Pastor of Edmonds Lutheran Church:
Kathleen and Betsey’s Advent Retreat Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth is fabulous! The story and the inspiration of young Mary becoming the mother of our Lord - with all the incumbent questions, joys and fears - comes to life with the images, colors, words, songs and dances from long ago Nazareth…. right up to today. Participants are involved and included in the retreat experience. It is hands on and fulfilling. Everyone goes away with a full heart, ready to engage the season of Advent and the coming once again of Christ into our days. 

Available Retreats

A partial list of retreat offerings would include:
  • Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth,
  • The Women Who Follow Jesus
  • The First Supper
  • Witnesses on the Way: an Interactive Stations of the Cross
  • Encounters with the Risen Lord
  • God’s Gift of Abundant Time
  • Grandmother God: Loving as God Loves
  • An Evening with Esther, and
  • Wisdom from Tobit 

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