January 14, 2022
The day began with all the sisters gathered in the chapter hall for prayer. After invoking the Holy Spirit, reading the Gospel and a time of silence, the sisters went to their groups to share how they are living the Gospel at this particular time in their lives.
We also joyfully celebrated the birthdays of Sr. Maria Theresia Hornemann, the current leader of the Congregation, and of Sr. Magdalena Eichinger from the Austrian Province.
In the first section of the General Chapter Sr. Katherine O’Flynn presented the theme of communal discernment with some criteria to follow during the election and decision-making process.
The rest of the day was dedicated to sharing the life and mission of the Congregation since the last General Chapter in 2014 with the presentation of the reports of the Congregational Leadership Team (CLT), the General Treasurer and the Secretary of Mission. Here we present some very summarized points to have an overview.
Report from the Congregational Leadership Team
Sr. Maria Theresia introduced the report explaining the meaning of the word Koinonia as a sign and fruit of communion. The symbol choosen by the CLT was a table where one can share food, but also conviviality. Koinonia expresses the commitment of sharing and communion assumed by CLT during these almost eight years of service.
The CLT sisters contextualized the world situation with its trends and challenges, as well as that of the Church. Then, based on the Congregational Directions of the 14th General Chapter, they described the main actions developed and the path taken by the Congregation, highlighting the following themes:
Around Nature’s Abundant Table (Communion with Creation)
Table of the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame (Communion with the Marginalized and Excluded)
There is Room for More (Communion with Others)
SSpS Community Table (Communion within the Congregation)
Around God’s Table of Plenty (Communion with God)
The CLT also shared their experience as a team and the challenges they faced, especially during the pandemic period. In closing the report they expressed gratitude for all the support and help received and concluded, “As we, as a chapter body, look back at the past seven and half years, and look forward to the next six years, we can be happy and grateful that there is continuity, enthusiasm and communion.”
Mission Secretary’s Report
Sr. Gretta Fernandes, the Mission Secretary, in her report spoke about the Congregation’s involvement with the great challenges facing humanity and stated: “Amid the polarization and rapid changes in a wounded world and Church, we are called to be a MISSION.”
Among the issues that affect life, she pointed that “as intercultural and intergenerational communities, we are to be a sign and witness and be on the frontlines addressing issues ranging from climate action to gender equality, social justice, and human rights.” She also talked about migrration, human trafficking, climate change, global warming, crime, violence, extreme poverty and the suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the report she brought the different actions that the sisters around the world are carrying out, such as JPIC, Vivat International, Communion with Creation, care for the poor and marginalized, and many others. Sr. Gretta also spoke about the challenges and the need to better prepare the sisters to be able to network with other organizations in these challenging ministries.
Congregational Treasurer’s Report
The General Treasurer Sr. Regina George gave an overview of the financial situation of the Congregation around the world, the difficulties that the small provinces and regions face to maintain themselves and the sharing of the provinces in better conditions, especially for the formation of the young sisters and to promote the mission in the poorest and neediest places.
Although the congregation has a certain economic stability, the world situation today is very insecure and it is necessary to manage very responsibly the goods to ensure the continuity of the mission.