Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy


On The Cusp Of A Paradigm Shift

In her article of October 18th 2020 Sr. Margaret Atkins OSA reflects on a world “on the cusp of a paradigm shift…” The author wonders how history will narrate our story at this moment of change.

Will it be a moment of collective wisdom, leading to careful, compassionate, creative, peaceful and far-sighted changes, or will it be an epoch of madness, leading to ever greater polarisation, to catastrophe and to unprecedented suffering?

Margaret Atkins suggests that if 2020 is remembered for anything, it will be as the year “when the human race was forced to take a collective breath, and, in the stillness, began to pay attention to what it was doing to itself.”  Margaret recalls the lessons of the past including the big business model which has left us with an “unsustainable and unadaptable infrastructure” that supports luxury for the few.

The author however sees in today’s world a movement “in the provinces and on the margins and from below.” She calls it a movement whose shoots have been growing “for thirty years and more” and Margaret Atkins believes that COVID-19 has brought it into the public eye. The new organic movement is characterized by creativity, democracy, networking… it is “rooted in the local but embracing the global.” Words like “ethical, ecological health, wisdom, justice and compassion” are the founding words of the new system and above all else, it looks sustainable.

For the realization of the dream of a world where no person is left behind Sr. Margaret Atkins’ suggestions include:

A Shared Vision with agreed goals
Flourishing Communities built on strong family –neighborhood connections
A Healthy Environment, where climate is protected and biodiversity is fostered.
Wise, humble, and imaginative leadership, “which enables, connects and supports rather than commanding and controlling; a leadership of service rather than ambition.”
We need to commit ourselves to act decisively, courageously, imaginatively and with self-sacrifice in order to tackle the multiple crises that face us.
We need honesty, truthfulness and trust as the basis for all of the above.

The author roots all our goals in the hand of Divine Providence without which guidance “there is no strong reason to think that our collective efforts will be successful.”

In concluding this article Margaret Atkins looks again at COVID and its critical lessons. She hears in the pandemic the question about what really matters in life and like all of us Margaret has sensed the change in the vein system of humanity . It certainly looks like a “paradigm shift.”

This complete article first appeared in the Independent Catholic News.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here

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