“Community Immersed in the Spirit Connected with the World.”
Seventy-eight participants, including delegates and auditors, from 13 countries, in different time zones came together on the Zoom platform as part of our journey of General Chapter 2021. The goal of today’s opening session was to introduce everyone, give them a chance in small groups to begin getting to know one another, and to set an atmosphere of discernment which is the mode of this entire Chapter.
The prayer service organized by the general team based on the theme ‘Joy,’ encapsulated both this call from Pope Francis and the feeling of each one as we gathered together. “Where there are religious, there is joy forever. It is joy, joy… The joy of bringing God’s consolation to everyone.” The powerful images of the people from our global society, used in the presentation, helped the group to recall the reality of life we face today in the world.
Sister Sally Marie Hodgdon, the General Superior of the Congregation, in her opening address recalled the past 5 years where “we committed ourselves as leaders to live the graces of encounter by incarnating love with joy. And now, all of us are invited to welcome and embrace the necessary graces to continue to nurture our ability to be women and communities immersed in the Spirit connected with our world.” Sister Sally further reinforced the fact that we “have grown in our ability to be reconcilers and healers, to be women of respectful and loving encounters, to be more candid with ourselves about our own need for forgiveness and to grow in our ability to forgive others, to be less judgmental and more gracious in welcoming the “stranger” into our beloved communities. She reminded us that we responded to our changing reality in ways we could not have imagined five years ago, as we lived these past sixteen months of the ongoing global pandemic.”
Sister Marian Ambrosio, one of the two facilitators of the Chapter delved deeply into the meaning of the Chapter theme, “Community Immersed in the Spirit Connected with the World,” with the example of a Pinheiro, Pine tree. “The depth of its taproot is exactly the same as the visible part. Its roots are immersed in the depth of the earth. This feature allows the tree to connect with the world through fruits that serve as food.” This pine tree is a beautiful image for our theme life rooted in the spirit and connected to the world through everything that is visible to others in our life and ministry.
“Come, come join in the immersion of the Spirit, come dive into a pool of refreshing water, experience a new Baptism, inviting each of us to be freed from all that will hold us back from entering fully into this next journey, a global journey of light and hope, a journey we are embarking on together with our sacred but needy world”. This is the invitation Sister Sally gave all the participants as we begin this special part of our General Chapter journey following the movement of the spirit.
Navya Neelamvilail Province of Pachmarhi - India