Submitted by Patricia Stortz, Associate
On Saturday morning, February 11, the Associates in Southern Ontario met on Zoom to talk about the General Chapter. Two former General Councilors, Sister Gloria Seifried (1977-1987) and Sister Maureen McGoey (2008-2018) shared some of their experiences.
Sister Gloria shared a memory from one of the chapters: “We had come to a moment when it was not very wise to continue. The air was very heavy and we were far from consensus. Sister Mary Margaret [Johanning], the general superior, had the facilitators stop the proceedings. She took the processional cross and led us into the chapel. The call to conversion rang in our hearts in that very pregnant silence. Later on, in the aula, we wrote into our general directory the words, ‘Our mode of deliberation is discerning, prayerful and dialogic. Authentic dialog presupposes prayerful reflection... It requires a readiness to be changed and a willingness to search corporately in faith and love, to speak sincerely and to listen in openness.’” (YAS GD 55)
Sister Maureen recalling her many experiences of General Chapters noted that she especially appreciates the internationality of the congregation. “Perhaps that is the reason why participating in a General Chapter is such a gift; it is a microcosm of the congregation with Representatives of each province and the 5 members of the General Council (ex officio).” She quoted, “The chapter is an occasion for conversion and renewal for the whole congregation.” (YAS GD 85) And then continued, “ I pray for continued conversion…. For our congregation ….for our church and world. I have great expectations for our upcoming 25th General Chapter.”
The Associates then looked at what is going on now in preparation for the 25th General Chapter this coming autumn. They watched the video recording of Sister Roxanne Schare’s opening of the Year of the Chapter and became familiar with the materials available on the congregational intranet including the schedule for the year, the logo for the Chapter, the prayer for the Chapter, and the BEYOND foldout..
The similarity between the process for the General Chapter and the Synod on Synodality was noted, especially the emphasis upon communion, participation and mission. As associates we are grateful that we have the SSND example of prayerful dialog and openness to conversion – an example of synodality lived out over many years.
We closed by praying the prayer for the chapter, a prayer that we will continue to pray during this Year of the Chapter.