Explaining The Care-ism
I was recently in a meeting with a woman who is using our community garden as an example in her dissertation for graduate school. She interviewed me about Bethany Hill Place and my knowledge of our garden. She is also currently meeting with our resident gardeners and getting their perspectives on the garden.
During the meeting, she read through a printed list of questions, mostly about the history of the garden and why I thought it was important to our community. I figured everyone received the same set of questions. She flipped the page and surprised me with, “Can you tell me about the care-ism and how it connects to the garden?” For a second I didn’t understand the question. I asked her what she meant by care-ism. She reminded me that she and I talked about a year ago, when she was just getting to know Bethany Hill Place. In that conversation, I explained to her that the garden spoke directly to the care-ism of caring for the earth. She said she had thought about this comment since we first met and she wanted to know more about care-isms. I must admit, I giggled when I realized the confusion between care-sim and charism. Once I realized that she was asking me about charism, I explained the CSJ charism as a spiritual gift meant to guide the sisters’ work and care for others. I talked through these meaningful principles and how they affect all our work, including the garden. I also spelled out charism.
While it made sense to clarify the spelling of the word, I also felt there was little need. The charism is the care-ism. What is the charism if not the set of ideals we care most about? While I will spell and say “charism” I will hear “care-ism” from now on.
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