We are a small Congregation, but very spread out,
with a great plurality of cultures, all animated by the same spirit,
"the spirit of Mary".
It is this spirit that impels us to live the reality of our smallness...
as a possible revelation of God.
It is a way of of opening ourselves to interprovincial solidarity,
of uniting our strengths in the common mission,
of growing in the sense of being Marianist Family in the Church.
Women of Hope, 22
Document of the Marianist Sisters' 29th General Chapter
Rome, August 2002
As you may already know, on Wednesday July 13 I will leave Dayton for my first trip to Europe. On Saturday July 17, 23 temporary professed Marianist Sisters from 13 countries will gather in Rome at our Generalate. We are from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Italy, Ivory Coast, India, Japan, Korea, Togo and the US. We will meet for 1 week in Rome... and then we will travel to France to important places in our history - to Agen (the birth place of our foundress), Bordeaux (the birth place of the Marianist family) and other important cities there. Then it will be back to Rome for a few days of closing sessions and back to our respective countries on August 1.
Now, you may wonder, why are we doing this? What's this all about?
The above quote comes from one of our General Chapter documents. Every 5 years delegates from each province (or region/unit) gather in Rome to make decisions concerning the Congregation. At the last Chapter, 2007, the General Administration was given the mission of "animating the relationships and exchanges that enhance communion"(To the Ends of the Earth, 20) within our Congregation. We are one year away from our next General Chapter. It seems that the gathering to which I am going is not only an opportunity to increase a sense of communion among us, but also, perhaps, to give us an opportunity to contribute something to the General Chapter (we cannot be delegates because we are temporary professed).
While I was in Fremont at the leadership workshop, I received an e-mail from our General Administration asking for my assistance as part of the coordinating team for our gathering. Of course, those of you who know me well know that I simply could not say no to such an invitation. :) So, I've been working with our General Assistant for Religious Life, Sr. Susanna Kim (from Korea) via e-mail on our schedule for our time in Rome, discussion points, processes etc. It's exciting... but it's also a little daunting. Not that I haven't lead conversations or programs before, but never something so important or broad as this. Not only that, but there will be several different languages!
And so, I've also been working my tail-end off on getting some essential Spanish! El proceso es muy lento, pero poco a poco soy aprendo. (Who knows if that verb is in the right tense??) Our 2007 Chapter document, To the Ends of the Earth, states: "The Chapter was captivated by the spirit already expressed in 2002, of progress in communion through learning languages, exchanging news, and encounters between different Units." You see, each sister in the Congregation is encouraged to learn another of our official languages - English, French, Spanish. Although many of our founding documents are in French, I opted for Spanish. It seems more practical for life in the North American Church.
Please keep our gathering in Rome/France in your prayers. I will keep you posted on the goings on!
Many blessings to all who read this,