Quad Cities’ Christian-Muslim women’s dialogue expands

ROCK ISLAND — As the desire for peace and understanding grows, so does an annual dialogue among the women of the Quad Cities.

For six years Catholic and Muslim women have been coming together each fall to talk about faith and how it is lived out in each tradition. Joining them around the table this year as they explore “The Power of Forgiveness” will be Jewish women.

The dialogue sessions will be held on two Mondays, Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, and hosted by St. Mary’s Monastery, 2200 88th Avenue West. Each will begin at 7 p.m. and end by 8:30 p.m.

The inclusion of the Jewish women is something the planning committee had wanted to make happen for a long time, said Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB.

“Two years ago Jewish women started coming” to the dialogues, she told The Catholic Post. “This year we said, ‘OK. We’re going to do that from now on.’ It was their desire.”

She said that all three religions look to Abraham as a spiritual father, which gives them a common relationship.

Each of those traditions is featured in a DVD, “The Power of Forgiveness,” that will form the foundation for this year’s discussions, Sister Catherine said. Included in the presentation are instances of violence, such as “the troubles” in Northern Ireland, the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust, and how an Amish community in Pennsylvania coped with a school shooting that left five children dead, and the role forgiveness plays.

Sister Catherine said the DVD also explores what it means to say “I forgive you” — not just emotionally and physically, but psychologically.
She said she hopes that each person can learn some skills and be impressed with the need to forgive.

“God is a God of forgiveness and a God of mercy,” Sister Catherine said. “That’s the God we all believe in.”

One of the real benefits of this type of dialogue is listening to one another, face to face, and which ubilds trust, she explained.

“There’s a deeper conversion that happens as each woman hears of another’s grief or sadness or lack of forgiveness,” Sister Catherine said. “We can begin to look into our own hearts and be strengthened by that and forgive more readily.”

Registration is requested so appropriate hospitality can be arranged. Call Sister Jackie Walsh, OSB, at (309) 283-2108 or send an e-mail to retreats@smmsisters.org.

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