Communal Discernment

Two major tasks of the general chapter are: to set the congregational direction for the next six years and to elect the next Congregational Leadership Team. For these, the chapter body needs to engage in a communal discernment. Sr. Rosemary Howarth SSND, the chapter facilitator, shared about this important process to the capitulars. They need patience as the chapter moves through the process. They need to take time. The chapter has to listen to the Spirit and move within the time that it has.

“As members of a discerning community, we must always seek a balance between what we need or want as individuals and what it needs to be a member of a group with a mission for the common good. It takes time to make decision together.”

In group discernment the members build from God’s movement; they build from the movement of the Spirit. Three particular moments in the daily schedule of the Chapter help each capitular to get in touch with these movements: faith sharing, communal prayer, and the Eucharist.

“In faith sharing we feel the spiritual connection with each other in the group, we are not just working groups. Private reflection and faith sharing are the works of God. Communal prayer gives spiritual acquaintance with each other. There is an awareness of the grace that’s needed by the group. We need to pray individually, but sometimes we are aware that the group needs a certain grace, and we pray together for that. Or we may simply be aware of the graces that are operating in the group and the movement of God’s Spirit within the Chapter body itself. And we draw our strength as a discerning body in our daily Eucharistic celebration.”



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