08 August 2023

Dear Sisters,

Thinking of you and looking forward to meeting you all soon…

Time and tide wait for no one. So it doesn’t wait for us SCJMs either. We have reached a stage where we struggled to put which word, where! All our creative writing skills were exercised, as we tried to formulate our orientations for the coming six years. We feverishly put words up and down and across our laptops, while endeavouring to articulate our dreams as a congregation at this point of our history.

This process helped us to know each one at a deeper level and to expand our vocabulary besides developing artistic expressions of what we were trying to convey through images. These final drafts were submitted to the skilled hands of the editing committee for the final ‘cooked’ version in the vocabulary of Br. Emili Turu, our facilitator.

Time was also allocated for another conversation to deepen our understanding and broaden our prospective on International communities. There was a rich exchange of ideas throwing light on the current reality and how we may move forward into the future in order to keep the flame of our charism alive. Deus Caritas Est!

Guidelines were given to assist us in the transmission of the essence of GC 23 to the Provinces/Regions and also to plan for the second session of Provincial Chapter.

We had a welcome break on Sunday which culminated in a social evening. It was marked by a visual and colourful expression of the richness and variety of the costumes and culture of each group. It was a most enjoyable evening with lots of fun and frolic, and also incorporated an aesthetic expression of the theme of the chapter through songs, dances and sketches.

The seventh of August brought us to the completion of the chapter work, leading to the approval of the documents and the Minutes of the whole Chapter. During her closing address, Sr. Lucy Jacob thanked the outgoing team for their generous contribution for the last six years and wished them well for their future mission. She acknowledged the presence and commitment of the facilitators and all our support personnel and thanked them on behalf of the entire group. She recalled that the process we embarked on in a contemplative way urged us to grow together and to walk the path of synodality. We return home with a heightened and renewed spirit which would be expressed in concrete actions that can enable us to hand over the flame of our charism burning ever brighter to the next generation.

On behalf of the delegates, Sr. Elizabeth Roche expressed our gratitude and appreciation to Sr. Lucy Jacob and the council members for giving themselves wholeheartedly to the mission that was entrusted to them in a spirit of Servant leadership.

Sr. Lucy Jacob, the president then declared the chapter officially closed. Sr. Kim Chi, the chapter secretary, gave an informative overview of the Chapter Procedure in which she captured the significant points.

Our final Eucharistic celebration took place on 08.08.2023 and Bishop Lode Van Hecke, the Bishop of Ghent, was the chief celebrant. We were delighted that many Sisters from neighbouring Communities could join us on this special occasion. The Bishop then in his homily expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to celebrate this Eucharist with us SCJMs.

In his homily, the Bishop drew our attention to the fact that there are two interpretations of the Good Samaritans: one element is what he termed as the “Samaritan syndrome” which speaks of the people who do very good work for the victims of the society, but do so to enhance their own good name/profile. The second is the Good Samaritan in the gospel sense and he/she acts out of compassion for the people in the peripheries without expectations.

Following the homily, the formal installation of the new General Team took place, during which the Bishop anointed the hands of the new leadership team, Sisters Lucy Jacob, Angelique Dikete, Beatrice Tshilemba, Suman Anima Toppo and Mary Joseph Valiyankal with oil. They confirmed their (Fiat) YES to the decision of the Chapter.
Sr. Elizabeth, the senior-most member of the Chapter, then presented them with the symbol which reminds us all of our call to live in the spirit of the Cor Unum. When the Eucharistic celebration was over we proceeded to the dining room dancing to the sounds of the drum and singing, where we enjoyed a celebratory meal. Now we are preparing to go home, renewed in spirit.

With God’s blessings and best wishes
From the Capitulants

Please click here to view the photos of the Chapter.

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