Spotlight on Associates

Embracing “Holy Silence”
By Pearl Barros, IHM Associate

PearlI fell in love with the IHMs when I was 19 and came across some of Sandra Schneiders’ and Margaret Brennan’s theological writings. Moved by the clarity of their thought and the passion that inspired them, I decided to learn more about these IHMs of Monroe, Mich. Initially, I discerned vowed religious life with the community. But the Holy Spirit had other plans for me (as She often does) and so I declined the candidacy, pursued doctoral studies in theology, married and now have an amazing daughter (in my unbiased opinion, of course).

Why am I telling you any of this? Because in the midst of discerning and walking down these varied paths, the IHM Sisters remained my friends, supporting me through their prayer, wise counsel and showing me how to embrace what I call a “holy silence.” They always left me completely free – and freedom, as you might already know, is one of the great gifts that God gives us. I, too, wanted to support them with my prayer, attempts at wisdom, and “holy silence,” so I became an associate.

Yet, being an associate is not limited to my interactions with IHM Sisters and Associates. It is an ongoing call to give witness to the “liberating mission of Jesus” in my everyday life. As a professor, I try to accompany my students as the IHMs accompanied me, giving them the freedom to follow the call of the Spirit in their own lives by encouraging their questions. As a life partner and parent, I try to recognize God’s presence in my husband’s and daughter’s lives, seeing LOVE as the unfolding grace it always is and ever will be.