On Saturday, the 1st of July, the #nunsof twitter (and one #bruvoftwitter) held a conference in London. The theme was “Discovering Treasure: Exploring the Impact of Social Media on Religious Life”. The conference was a response to a desire of the group, which meets monthly on Zoom, to explore the topic of the ‘treasure of social media’. Various different communities were represented on the day including members of the Daughters of Charity who hosted the day at their Provincial House in Mill Hill, as well as Assumptionists, Benedictines, Carmelites, Cistercian, Sacred Heart congregations etc., and a member of an Anglican monastic community at Mucknell Abbey. Several others also attended on Zoom from across Northern Ireland and England.
Sr. Therese Tighe of the Daughters of Charity opened the day by welcoming us to Provincial House and Sr. Judith, a Benedictine from Turvey Abbey, led the introductions. Sr. Michaela, a Bernardine Cistercian from Hyning in Lancashire led the prayer session and introduced the speaker for the morning session. This was led by Sr Therese Wilkinson OCD, of the Carmelites of Thicket Priory in Yorkshire. The theme of her talk was “Tweeting the Treasure: Sharing Religious Charism through Twitter”. This was followed by breakout Groups, questions, and feedback. The excellent presentation helped us to understand how to use Twitter more effectively to evangelise online and how to engage with others. Her account has over 20,000 followers and makes the Carmelite presence visible on the social platform.
This was followed by lunch and time together before the afternoon session. This session looked at “Mission and Making a Difference, one tweet at a time”, led by Sr Silvana Dallanegra, RSCJ and was followed by a two-way question time / discussion between members of the group in the room and those online. Sr. Silvana explained the way she uses social media with her work for Caritas Westminster and how to use social media, Twitter in particular, to communicate effectively in today’s Church and world.
The plenary session was led by Sr. Maria Robb, DC, and involved feedback from the day, ideas for next year and possible venues. The day was greatly appreciated by members of the group who enjoyed sharing and engagement on various levels. We appreciated the hospitality of the Daughters of Charity and their generous contributions towards the day. We also enjoyed sharing each other’s culinary gifts including cakes baked in North Lancashire and chocolate hearts made in Turvey Abbey in Bedfordshire. We were also grateful for all the organisation and technical expertise of Sr. Maureen and Sr. Rita of the Daughters of Charity. It was also, a joy for some of us to meet in real time after meetings online on Zoom only.
The day was a real discovery of the ‘treasure’ of social media but also of the great joy of the discovery of the ‘treasure’ of religious life alive in each sister and brother. As Pope Francis has said on many occasions, social media can “help us to better connect, rediscover, and assist one another”. This is certainly the case with the #nuns and #bruvs of twitter.