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News of the week

01/10/2021

1. Some members of the Generalate participated in the Requiem Mass for nineteen Sisters of the Dutch-speaking Province who died during the last two years (2020 and 2021). Due to the pandemic situation, it was not possible to celebrate funeral masses for our Sisters. The celebration took place on 11/09/2021 in Mother House chapel, Ghent. It was very moving. May the Lord, in his mercy, welcome them into his Kingdom and may he grant deep faith in the dead and risen Christ to all the Sisters of the Province.

2. Sister Anne Nama Ngueji, of the Province of St. Vincent de Paul, made her perpetual vows on 26/09/2021 in Mbujimayi. We offer her our warm and sincere congratulations and welcome her into the great family of the SCJM. May the Lord strengthen her steps in following him.

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3. The General Councillors made the transmission of the EGC 2021 to the members of the Generalate community, the international community (INC), the International Asian Novitiate (IAN) and the community in Legaspi, Philippines, from 24th to 27th September 2021. For the Generalate community, the transmission was done at the Generalate, and for the Sisters of the IAN, Legaspi and INC, the transmission was done online. The Sisters were happy with this sharing which brought them much light on the life of the Congregation.

4. On 29th September 2021, the celebration of the jubilees of 50, 60, 70 and 75 years of profession of our Sisters in the Provinces and Region of Europe for the two years (2020 and 2021) took place. As you know, last year there was no celebration of the jubilees as usual in Ghent because of the restriction measures. Bishop Lode Van Hecke of Ghent presided over the thanksgiving Eucharist in the large chapel of the Mother House in Terhaegen. Out of 29 jubilarians, 16 jubilarians were present at the celebration. Several sisters were present at this celebration. Unfortunately, our sisters from the Anglo-Irish Region were not able to join us, due to restrictions. After the mass, a fraternal meal was shared in joy. It was a great opportunity to meet all the sisters from the two Belgian Provinces who were able to travel to Ghent. The meeting brought much joy and happiness and strengthened our bonds of solidarity and communion among SCJM. 

Please click here to view the photos of the celebration

5. Situation of the pandemic in Belgium

As of 1st October, it will no longer be compulsory to wear a face mask during religious celebrations, except in Brussels and Wallonia (South of Belgium). The social distancing had already been lifted earlier. Disinfection of hands at the entrance and the prohibition of any physical contact during the celebrations remain in force. Caution and common sense are still required in all circumstances. The virus is still not entirely defeated. The Bishops call once again for people to be vaccinated in the interest of their own health and that of their fellow human beings.

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Final profession in Lubumbashi

On 31st July 2021, Sisters Béatrice-Landrine KASONGO KIBANDA and Mélanie NSANGO KALUNGA consecrated themselves to the Lord for life as Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary in the Province of Saint Vincent de Paul, in the D.R. Congo.
We join them in joy and thanksgiving for their commitment and assure them of our prayers.

From left to right: Sisters Béatrice-Landrine Kasongo, Isabelle Ilunga and Mélanie Nsango

 



Recent news

Entry to the postulancy

On August 6, 2021, the Province of Ranchi was happy to welcome nine new postulants. They are Gloria Bilung, Alka Surin, Nikita Lakra, Anastasia Hunni Purty, Sunita Laguri, Sandhya Kerketta, Beli Kujur, Niketa Tirkey and Anusha Hasda. We pray that the Holy Spirit may accompany and guide them in their formative journey. May they discover the joy of following Christ and grow in the virtues of the Gospel and in the charism of the Congregation!

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From left to right: Gloria Bilung, Alka Surin, Nikita Lakra, Anastasia Hunni Purty, Sunita Laguri, Sandhya Kerketta,Beli Kujur, Niketa Tirkey and Anusha Hasda.

First profession

On August 14, 2021, the two novices Anna Tran Thi Kim Thanh and Maria Nguyen Que Tram, from the Region of "Our Lady of La Vang" in Vietnam, made their first profession at the Interprovincial Novitiate in the Philippines. They could not return to Vietnam because of the pandemic situation, but the sisters of the Region, their families and friends were able to attend the celebration which was broadcast live on Facebook.

With joy and gratitude, we congratulate them wholeheartedly, wish them the best and assure them of our prayers.

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From left to right: Sr. Maria Nguyen Que Tram and Sr. Anna Tran Thi Kim Thanh

Video of the profession :



Communication to the Congregation: EGC 2021 / N° 04

16/08/2021

We are happy to inform you about the further development of our EGC. After a break, we continued our journey with Phase II.

On 12th August, Sr. Lucy Jacob welcomed all the participants back and told them that Phase II would focus on information from the General Government’s perspective, to see where there has been progress, where there is a need to improve, and to respond to the desire to move forward.

She then introduced to the participants the new simultaneous translators: Sr. Martine Krichel and Mr. Pierre Hernalsteen.

The day started with the opening prayer. After that, Sr. Lucy invited the participants to reflect on how the transmission of the EGC would be done in the Provinces, Vice-Province and Regions. She asked each unit to propose a programme for the transmission, taking into account the following elements: content, methodology and time. This transmission should take place within the next two months. After the group work, we shared our reflections in the plenary session. It was a mutual enrichment for us.

The second session was based on financial management in the Congregation, presented by Sr. Rosily Mathew. She began her presentation with a quote on the "social role of property" (Fratelli Tutti 118-119). She shared her personal experience and observations in this function. She also showed the impact of Covid-19 on the financial situation of the Congregation. 

August 13: The day was dedicated to sharing on the Congregational retreat, with the theme "Living our vows in the three dimensions of our Charism", and on the concern for our Common Home.

Some Provinces were able to make this retreat. In other Provinces, not all the Sisters have made it, because of the pandemic situation. All the participants appreciated this initiative taken by the General Government. The impact of this retreat in the Provinces are: the deepening of our Charism, transformation at personal and community level, understanding and living of our vows in the light of our Charism.

The sharing on the celebration of the Season of Creation and Laudato Sí week showed that it was a beneficial time for all, thanks to the different experiences lived by each one. All the Sisters made every effort to live the calls of Laudato Sí, and they committed themselves to protecting our Common Home, wishing to continue to have this experience of Laudato Sí.

At the end of the sharing, Sr. Lucy proposed to the participants the theme for the 2022 Congregational Retreat: "Ecological Conversion". All the participants appreciated the proposal.

August 14: During the opening prayer, we were in communion with our sisters in Pakistan and the Pakistani people who were celebrating the 73rd anniversary of their independence. We also prayed for our two young Sisters Anna Thanh and Maria Tram from Vietnam who took their first vows in the Philippines.

Afterwards, various topics were discussed:

- Project of the book on the history of the Congregation

- SCJM literature (published documents about SCJM)

- Evaluation of “Integrated Life Style”

- Means of communication: Websites

- International Community

The texts of the presentations were then sent to the participants online. They were given time to read and study them personally. A sharing of reflections, comments and clarifications followed in the afternoon. The participants appreciated the work done by the General Government.

The day of 15th August began with the opening prayer prepared in honour of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and for the intentions of the 73rd anniversary of India’s independence. After the prayer, we followed the presentations of the day.

These were the heritage property of the SCJM, and the Constitutions and Statutes (modifications and structural changes). The texts of the presentation were then sent to the participants for personal reading and study. A sharing of reflections, comments and clarifications followed in the afternoon.

Sr. Lucy gave a concluding address and Sr. Roshni expressed a vote of thanks. Finally, we concluded the EGC with a prayer of thanksgiving which ended with the Magnificat.

The General Government would like to thank all the SCJMs for accompanying the participants by their prayer during this EGC 2021.

 

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Communication to the Congregation: EGC 2021 / N°3

11/08/2021

As you know from our last communication that we have been working on “envisaging and engendering an open world” and focusing on “building bridges to a new story” (cf. Fratelli Tutti / FT). By now, we are also quite comfortable and at home in the virtual world, using applications like the Padlet and other facilities of the Zoom. 

August 7th started with the sharing of overnight reflections which gave us a clear indication that the Spirit of the Lord is with us, guiding and animating us. There were signs of struggle and strong feelings of hopefulness.

As we continued reflecting on and listening to the message of FT, the common feeling was that the Holy Father is calling us to a radical response and, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we felt ready and willing to face the challenge.

An awareness meditation and a reflection on the labyrinth at the end of the session energized us and clarified for us our work as members of EGC. We have doubts and fears too but as we walk together, we feel strengthened to commit ourselves to build bridges to a new story as new horizons open up before us - a new SCJM story!

On the following day, 8th August, the focus was on the theme ‘heart open to the world’. The overnight reflections revealed that FT is throwing hard challenges to us. The day was organized between plenaries and group works. Through the interpretations of personally chosen symbols, we began to see an emerging direction towards GC 2023. There was much convergence and the feeling was that we are being invited to a radical conversion, greater communion, solidarity within our wounded world, sharing of our resources, and building a new world.

The opening prayer of 9th August put us immediately in focus – mediating the birth of something new, a new world order. The imagery of the midwife powerfully communicated this message. With this mind-set, the members of the EGC continued their work on gaining greater clarity on the focus for the GC 2023. An on-line voting clarified the issue further. Today, the EGC also spent some valuable time to finalize the procedure of the General Chapter and other related documents.

At the end of the day Sr. Lucy thanked Ms. Ilaria Nuti, our simultaneous translator, who would leave us today. She was thanked for her outstanding skills at translation and for the quality of her virtual presence with us. She would be replaced by Ms. Claudia for the remainder of the first phase of the EGC. 

 On 10th, the last day of the first phase of our EGC, we were directed to look back on this ten-day journey and to feel “what touched us most and how we are being called forth at this moment of our journey”; also where we felt resistant. A very rich sharing followed.

The ‘Icon of Mercy’ has been the one major force that touched and influenced everyone as we heard loudly and clearly Jesus’ invitation, “go and do likewise!”

The group entrusted with the task of gathering ‘pearls’ from the entire experience and to present them in the form of a message for the Congregation presented the text they had prepared. It was well appreciated and got the approval of all participants.

Of course, you will hear more of all this from your representatives through the transmission of EGC in your respective province/region.

An on-line evaluation and a vote of thanks saw the conclusion of this day. On behalf of the General Government, Sr. Deepthika Silva thanked the facilitators and the translators. The facilitators in turn expressed their satisfaction of working with SCJM, thanked and congratulated all for their simplicity, dedication and whole hearted participation.



Communication to the Congregation: EGC 2021 / N°2

06/08/2021

The third day of EGC continued with its focus on the theme “a stranger on the road”. The day started with the sharing of some reflections, dreams and thoughts related to the previous day, followed by a reflective prayer on the theme of the day.

A considerable length of this day was spent on highlighting issues, concerns, insights and challenges that emerged from the reports of the provinces and regions. What emerges as a clear indication for the Congregation is the invitation to “come down from the donkey” in response to the needs of the poor and the vulnerable in our midst.

Continued reflection and sharing in small groups on how to be a Good Samaritan further clarified the direction we are called to take. Deeply grounded in the Word of God, we are invited to see reality from the perspective of the vulnerable and to develop a spirituality that can stimulate and empower us to greater openness, flexibility and creativity in meeting the needs to the “stranger” on the roads of our life situations.

On day four, we began looking at “envisaging and engendering an open world”. That the EGC would spend four days on this theme signifies the importance of this orientation. The participants of the EGC are clearly listening to the teachings of Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti in an attempt to find ways of responding to his call in appropriate ways.

The day began with a meaningful prayer and reflection on the faith of the Canaanite woman (Mt. 15:21-28). Then it was time to get to know each other through personal stories – opening up to each other’s personal world as lived out in one’s natural family and in the SCJM family. These sacred moments of sharing were very enriching and it strengthened our bonding as members of the Congregation. It brought about a sense of gratitude, solidarity, trust, understanding, listening, and openness among us. We felt the presence of the divine in all of our experience and could see how God has been leading us all along in our life. The day ended with a thanksgiving hymn; “Every person is a sacred story”. How beautiful and great are the works of the Lord!

Day five began with the reflection on the universal experience of vulnerability, based on Mt 16: 21-23 and the story of Job. Human life is fragile & we all have experienced it especially during the pandemic. Blessed are the fragile, the vulnerable, the poor in spirit - they belong to the kingdom of God. Through this morning reflection, we were being invited to embrace our own vulnerability, experiences in diverse ways.

The shared activities of today focused on moving from a closed world to an open world. For reflection we were directed to listen to our own experience of being members of an international congregation. We recalled and shared with each other and with the whole group experiences of times we felt energised and estranged as an individual member and as a province / region in the congregation. It was a time when we felt being trusted, encouraged and supported and a sacred moment to recognize and accept our own vulnerability, individually and as a congregation.

Another significant work of this day was to identify those factors that prevent us from noticing the strangers in our midst and to consider what choices we have to make in order to “come down” from the donkey. Our answers were recorded and displayed using an interactive presentation software (Mentimeter). The day ended with sharing of our feelings of gratitude, communion and support to one another.

Today, the 6th day of our virtual EGC, we have been focusing on “building bridges to a new story” as we continue our journey through Fratelli Tutti.

Our morning prayer, led by Frances, was centred on the icon of transfiguration of the Lord and reflection on Mk. 9:2-10. The icon is a manifestation of the presence of God. It draws and brings us into this presence so that we can experience God in our soul. In this way we become a living icon of God.

We were invited to go up the mountain to the place of meeting, the place of listening. We asked for the grace to open our eyes to see Jesus leading us out to ministry and to the people.

After prayer, Br. Emili introduced the work of the day. The question for reflection was: What important choice, in real and practical ways, could we now make to create the first chapter of a new story that opens us more to each other and to the world? The group responses were presented on the padlet for the assembly for further reflection and response.

At the moment, we continue with the same theme that we started on Day Four. More of it, in the next letter!

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Communication to the Congregation: EGC 2021 / N°1

02/08/2021

As you already know, this important online event of the Congregation started beforehand on 31/07/2021 with a test session to get used to the new technology.

On the first day, after the introduction of all the participants, the facilitators reminded us of the purpose of the EGC, which is to promote communion within the Congregation, and of the essential points of EGC/19, namely knowing each other, the Congregation and the local Church, and listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor (LS 49).

After this reminder, we reflected on two questions:

- What are your concerns as we start EGC/21?

- What are you feeling inside yourself at this moment?

What emerges from the questions discussed in the small groups is the concern to take responsibility during this time of pandemic as well as the concern to use the new technology in an appropriate way.

As for feelings, we are all happy, motivated and willing to live this new virtual experience. Yet, the worry about the technology is still holding us back. However, we hope to dispel it.

Sr. Lucy Jacob addressed warm words of welcome to everyone and introduced the facilitators, Fr. Emili Turú and Ms. Frances Heery, the secretaries and translators. This was followed by a time of prayer and reflection on the icon of Mercy (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 70).

The second session focused on the objectives and planning of the GCE/21 and contemplative leadership. These two themes were discussed in groups: the secretary of each group presented her report to the plenary assembly.

On the second day, the session started with a sharing of some dreams and thoughts related to the previous day. This was followed by the announcement of the theme.

An intense prayer from the icon of Mercy introduced us to the theme and challenged us with a fundamental question: Who is my neighbour?

Afterwards, Bro. Emili projected several pictures, allowing us to deepen our contemplation of the icon of Mercy in our own context and in the global context.

Then Ms Frances Heery explained the acronym VUCA: V, Volatile; U, Uncertainty; C, Complexity; A, Ambiguity.

This acronym describes the world we live in today: a changing, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

During the afternoon, the groups met in two stages, by continent. Each secretary wrote the group’s answers on their padlet (a note on an online virtual board where one can write and share thoughts, ideas, reflections) and read them out to the plenary. Ms. Frances Heery made some comments after each group’s sharing.

Dear Sisters, as we journey together through this important event of our Congregation, we will be happy to gradually share with you the progress of our daily activities. We continue to count on your prayers.

May the Spirit of the Lord continue to guide us in our reflection and discernment during this EGC/21.

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Recent news

30/07/2021

Flood in Gurgaon, India

Three days of non-stop rain plunged the novitiate building in Gurgaon (Delhi province) into deep waters. The water level rose up from the basement to the ground floor, forcing Sisters, Novices and Postulants to the first floor. Fortunately, the water level started to recede from the second day, much to the relief of all of us. To restore the house to a liveable condition is a herculean task.

 

Entry to the Novitiate

28th July was a joyful occasion when four postulants started their novitiate in Ranchi province. They are Anjuliya Pradhan, Alice Kerketta, Anupa Kujur and Beronica Bada. We wish them every blessing in their journey of formation. May they grow in the virtues of the Gospel and in the charism of the congregation!

Beronica Bada, Alice Kerketta, Anupa Kullu, Anjuliya Pradhan

 

EGC 2021

As the opening of the EGC/21 is at our door, the General team is busy with the final phase of its preparatory work. Since virtual meetings are quite new for all of us, the EGC participants are following test sessions, facilitated by Sr. Kim Chi. Today’s session was kind of an ice breaker and most of the participants seem to have conquered their initial fears and anxieties! Those bigger challenges of the virtual world are waiting to be conquered!

 



Latest news

17/07/2021

Professions

  • The junior sisters of the Provinces of Ranchi and Delhi have their gathering in Dalhousie (Delhi Province) to begin their tertianship, under the guidance of Sr. Moly Augustine Vavukatt, in preparation for their final profession this year. There are fourteen of them: ten juniors from Ranchi and four from Delhi. May they have a very enriching time together!
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  • Our heartfelt congratulations to our four novices from the Delhi Province who made their first vows today: Tamanna Bhatti, Jobita Tirkey, Mary Grace Xaxa and Promila Ekka. We welcome them into the Lord’s vineyard and entrust their religious consecration to the divine protection and to the Virgin Mary, our Mother.

 

Video of the profession:

 

Pakistan (sent by Sr Maria Shaukat)

Reception ceremony (hair cutting ceremony)

In June, the heat is on its peak, but during the 3rd week of the month we didn’t feel it so much, as we were anxiously busy in the preparation for the reception and the first profession of our novices Anum Saleem, Anita Nasir, Soha Shaukat and Roma Kanwal.

On the eve of 22nd June 2021, the first symbolic ceremony of cutting of hair took place. Cutting of hair is symbol of sacrificing the female beauty. The novices had set their hair in beautiful decorated hair ornament called “Paranda”. They were then given red veils and led to the chapel, the palace of their King Jesus accompanied by the formation community, singing Ps. 45.

The Provincial team and the sisters of Lahore Community received them joyfully at the entrance of the chapel and together they went in the chapel for the evening program.

The first profession of Sr. Anum, Sr. Anita, Sr. Soha and Sr. Roma (23rd June 2021)

It was a blissful day for our Congregation and especially for the Province of Pakistan when our four novices committed themselves to the Lord. His excellency Rev. Bishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and about twelve priests presided over the Holy Mass. Many sisters of other Congregations and Brothers of Charity also witnessed the ceremony. The Mass started at 5:30 pm. The parents of the four elected novices accompanied their daughters to the altar as an offertory to the Lord. It was a very touching moment. The choir, under the guidance of Sr. Maggie Yaqub, sang beautiful hymns based on the theme " Come, Follow Me ". Rev. Bishop shared an inspirational, supportive and encouraging homily to help us to continue following Christ by bearing witness to the Gospel values.

All the sisters of our Congregation joyfully accepted the newly professed Sisters by garlanding them, according to our culture. When the Holy Mass ended, a newly professed, Sr. Anum Saleem, on behalf of her companions, Sisters Anita, Soha and Roma, presented a vote of thanks and invited everyone present to enjoy the delicious dinner in the convent garden.

After the celebration, the newly professed Sisters went home with their families for two weeks.

 

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Sr. Soha, Sr. Anum, Sr. Roma and Sr. Anita

International Community

The long wait for the arrival of members from Africa for the formation of the International Community was partially fulfilled this week with the arrival of Sr. Charitine Impuhwe from the Vice-Province of Rwanda on 15th July. The Generalate Community has given her a warm welcome. Now we are looking forward to welcoming the fourth member in the coming days.

 

Floods

  • Belgium has been hit by deadly floods in Wallonia, Limburg and other places following record rainfall during the last days. At least thirty-one persons died and many people are still missing. Some areas are more affected, especially the provinces of Liège, Namur and Luxembourg. A large part of Wallonia is now on alert. We entrust all these victims to the Lord.
  • This situation is not unique to Belgium. Our neighbouring countries are also in the same situation, especially Germany. In Asia, the monsoon rains are taking their toll on India and Sri Lanka.

Coronavirus crisis

The virus does not seem to be in any hurry to leave us! The number of infections is said to be on the rise here in Belgium as well as in other countries where the SCJM are present; especially Vietnam, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, India...



Some news of the week

10/07/2021

Final Profession: On 3rd July, the province of St. Bernard, Congo had the joy of having three of their junior sisters making their final vows in the Congregation: Sr. Arlette Babakanga Baka, Sr. Yvonne Kundji Bala and Sr. Julienne Piki Asska. While we join our Sisters in the province in joy and gratitude, we also congratulate the three young religious for their faithful commitment to the Lord and wish them well and assure them of our prayers.

 

A New Leadership Team in the Region of Mali: The installation of a new leadership team took place on 7th July: Sr. Rose Meta Kabambi as the Regional Superior, Sr. Joséphine Mavanga and Sr. Marie-Véronique Kapinga Bunkayebe as Council Members. All the sisters of the region and the novices of NIA (Noviciat International d’Afrique) were present for the occasion on site. Srs. Régine Ndaye and Julienne Tumone, who are in Congo, Sr. Suzy Spaenhoven, who is on vacation in Belgium, Sr Birgit Goslain, and the Community of the Generalate joined them virtually. The appointment of the new team was also made on line by the Superior General, Sr. Lucy Jacob. The prayer service prepared for the occasion was a highly symbolic one, emphasising the values of the Gospel as embedded in the SCJM charism.

 

Corona visits Vietnam again! As the cases are on the rise, the country is witnessing another lockdown. Our sisters are not able to hold or attend classes. However, they are creatively using their time by manually sorting out tea leaves and thus being in solidarity with the people. This activity also brings in some income for the region.

 

A break in the routine! It was a welcome ‘interruption’ for the community of the Generalate to welcome some guests into the house, something that Corona had forbidden us to do! A priest relative of Sr. Valsam Jose, Fr. Reji MSFS along with a couple of his friends spent a few hours with us on 8th July. They came from Austria and Germany to visit some places in Belgium which included a visit to the Generalate as well. We were happy to have them with us, even though it was a very short one.



News Update

News of the week

Final profession in Lubumbashi


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