January 18 – 21

 

As the discernment process deepened, the Chapter dynamic took on a different rhythm. Thus, the last four days have been days of much prayer and discernment, as well as a lot of work in the base and consensus groups.

With the guidance of the facilitators, Sisters Katherine O’Flynn and Mariana Camezzana, the Chapter’s processes are flowing with great clarity and agility. On the part of the capitulars, the action of the Holy Spirit is perceived in an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace. Many capitulars experience a great convergence among the proposals presented, which gives more confidence and enthusiasm.

On Tuesday the 18th, the capitulars worked intensely in the base and consensus groups to bring up proposals for the Congregational Directions. In the evening the editing commission worked on the text to present it the following morning.

In the chapter hall they continued voting on the proposals sent by the provinces. Most of them were about practical issues that aim to facilitate the work and make the mission more dynamic.

On the 19th the expectations of all were directed to the Writing Commission, which gathered the suggestions of the groups and presented to the Chapter the first draft for the Congregational Directions. The text was received with joy and a round of applause. As the Chapter progresses, the text will be revised, deepened and supplemented until it is approved as Congregational Directions.

What leadership do we need?

Sr. Katherine invited the members of the chapter to reflect on the reality of the Congregation and the directions that are being set, and what kind of leadership the Congregation needs at this time in its history. She then reflected with the sisters on the main qualities that are expected of a congregational leader.

After drawing up an extensive list of qualities, the facilitator explained that some of them can be developed during the exercise of the function, but that there are some that are indispensable for a congregational leader: to be a person of prayer and one who loves the Congregation. She also stated that no one has all the necessary qualities, but that it is important that the Leadership Team complement each other with the various gifts and talents of each one.

To encourage the Chapter members to be open to the possibility of taking on this responsibility, the current Congregational Leadership Team was invited to share their experiences. They openly shared the challenges they have faced, the richness of living together and supporting each other, and how much they have learned during their visits and meetings with sisters in different parts of the world.

Inner freedom to discern

Thus, the Chapter members were led into the discernment process for the elections by asking for the grace of a free heart, able to go beyond the interests of their own province or region, but open to what is best for the whole. In silence and prayer, they opened up to listen inwardly for the names of sisters who will be able to lead the Congregation toward the desired future.

Integrity and transparency

On Thursday the 20th, the sisters were already prepared to take the next step of nominating possible candidates for congregational leadership. Sister Katherine reminded them of the procedures for nominations to take place in an atmosphere of respect, integrity and transparency. All discussion should be done openly in the group where everyone has access to the same information. Only what has been previously discussed with a sister who is not present can be shared. In this process there is no room for secret talks, nor for talking about another person behind his or her back.

On Friday the 21st, the process continued with much prayer, listening, questions and reflection in the groups in preparation for the election of the Congregational Leader. This is a very important moment of the Chapter and for this we invoke the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide the hearts and minds of each Chapter member for the good of the Congregation and its mission.