Sr Doreen Victoor, from Canada, shares with us how, through a difficult journey, she discovered unsuspected creativity in her, that she can now use to enliven the experience of Corps-Congregation.
Seeking to enliven the experience of Corps-Congregation as a Daughter of Jesus during this time of pandemic can be challenging, exciting, and surprising. The ‘Stay Home’ order means not even being able to connect with the DJs living down the street! How do you live communion, solidarity, Corps-Congregation when limited to Zoom and other technology? In my seeking and searching, I stumbled upon a creative mission in my retirement years. To deepen my experience of Corps- Congregation I am using my gift of creativity to create birthday cards. These cards are sent in the name of the Maple Tree Community. To whom? To those with a mission of leadership. I recently received this affirmation and words of gratitude: ‘Through your card, the Corps-Congregation expresses itself fully’. Thank you, Patricia! The story of this creative mission in my retirement years touches upon a birthing, an awakening, a gestation period of creativity, a creative mission seeking to enliven an experience of Corps-Congregation.
This creativity was born in darkness, in the black hole of depression. I liken this birthing of creativity to the emergence of a bear from its long winter hibernation. It emerges slowly, hungry, and on the hunt. That is not unlike the emergence or birthing of creativity in my life; it emerged slowly, hungry, and forever on the hunt. On the hunt for creative ways to deepen my sense of belonging, ways to enliven my experience of Corps- Congregation, ways of fostering communion and solidarity. An awakening was necessary.
Creativity was awakened in my life in the late seventies. For eight consecutive years, a snapshot of my life looked like this: teaching for 10 months, University classes for 6 weeks, 1 week of retreat, 1 week left for vacation. Result? Burnout, darkness, the black hole of depression. There followed 6 months of rest and therapy to recover my soul. The therapist introduced me to a Canon SLR 25mm camera with a wide-angle and telephoto lens, a channel for creativity. The art of photography was unknown to me. Focusing, perspective, the art of seeing. These three keywords encapsulated the gestation period that followed.
A gestation period
Here began a long gestation period, life-long learning. Learning the meaning of focus, perspective, the art of seeing, not just for photography but especially for the spiritual journey, for faith. At first, all my photos were black and white, a true reflection of what I was living at the time. Eventually, springtime arrived. From black and white, I changed to a colored film. Color, focus, perspective, hope! Life sprang into being! After a long period of gestation, creativity was emerging, tapping into the very creativity of our Creator God!
Restored, I left teaching, trained for spiritual accompaniment and retreat ministry where my gift of creativity flourished. My creativity and the connection between faith and photography was affirmed when I was asked to display, at an Art Show, my photos accompanied by my faith statement:
“ ‘Seeing into the soul’ of all created things:
this is the art of photography.
‘Seeing the soul’ of all created things ‘in Christ’:
this is the gift of faith.”
Reviving the experience of corps-congregation
This is how my photos have become the centerpiece of the birthday cards I create as my mission to enliven the experience of Corps-Congregation. It is a cherished mission in my retirement years and during this time of pandemic. These birthday cards are also designed for our Associates, our Employees and my DJ companions in Edmonton, always seeking Communion, solidarity and Corps-Congregation!
And you? Who will challenge you in a moment of darkness
to explore the creativity that lies in wait,
seeking to enliven your experience of Corps Congregation?
Sr Doreen Victoor, dj
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada