“When a congregation comes from its heart-space, there is a power that is shaped by the charism and its contemplative imagination meets the needs of the times.”
(Religious Life for our World) This was the thrust of 14th day prayer.
At the Crossroads…
These three days (13-15) were very precious, leading the Chapter forward to allow the future to emerge. This unique Chapter journey required the willingness to drop everything that is not essential. The process of letting-go and letting-come established a deeper connection to the Delegates’ commitment for the life of the whole.
Working in small groups centered on different themes, the Capitulants committed to a shared purpose by listening and speaking generatively; this created the energy necessary to make them agents of change. A great deal of hard work was needed to ensure that the proposals adopted would be truly transformative for the institute and the whole Body.
At times a certain resistance could also be felt … in ways of thinking, mixed emotions, and unwillingness to risk a leap into the unknown and unfamiliar.
The Facilitator's challenging interventions surprised and shook the Delegates at times. They were made aware of the tendency to continue using the same repetitive patterns, while still expecting something new to emerge. As a result of this positive shock, they were able to face their reality as a group.
Celebrate the light:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (from the Last day’s prayer)
This particular Chapter journey required a lot of commitment; different time zones necessarily limited the number of meeting-hours and imposed time-limits; constant screen-use could also be quite tiring. However, these 56 Holy Family women faced the challenges, remaining faithful to their roles and commitments, and were eventually able to see the light shining through a shadowy path, giving them strength and courage to move forward.
There was a strong sense that although the Chapter-Sessions have all but ended, the work of the Chapter is not finished – the proposals with the strongest potential to bring about change, to help us continue to live our purpose, have been chosen – but the path forward can only be made by walking together towards a common goal – God’s mission. In each Unit then, as well in the Whole, there is much to shape and grow, to welcome the new, and to find ways to take new initiatives.
As the final day came to a close, trusting God's ways to guide them the Capitulants once more expressed gratitude, joy and hope for the Holy Family in its 3rd Century.
“We plant the seeds that one day will grow; we water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.” (Bishop Oscar Romero)