The origin of communities of religious men and women lies in today’s First Reading. We read that the community of believers was of “one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” Not claiming anything as one’s own provides the factual basis of the vow of poverty. Whatever a religious sister or brother earns belongs to the whole community. Paychecks, for example, are direct deposit. (Of course, there are deeply spiritual aspects of the vow of poverty, but that would be another blog.) Holding everything in common is one path, among many, to be of one heart and mind.
Becoming one national province instead of four geographical provinces took several years in the making. Material things like buildings and technology were in the mix, but the emphasis was on the immaterial. How could we be one in heart, mind, mission, charism, prayer, service, and community bonds? Ask any Sister of Notre Dame, and I think we’ll all agree that we’re all in this together, one heart and mind.