Reflection: Between chapters and assemblies

on 11 Sep, 2023
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Caracas (Venezuela), 09/11/2023, Sr. Nícida Díaz Leal.- This year and next year, we will celebrate Chapters and Assemblies, events which mark a before and an after in our Congregation. In this reflection, I want to do like the scribe who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom of God, and who draws from his ark the old and the new (Cf. Mt 13:52); reflect aloud on these events which offer a synodal outlet for each sister of our Congregation who, with her limits, her gifts and her possibilities, contributes to the common good (Cf. C4).

This was the wish of Marie Poussepin, the participation of all the sisters, in the preparation or realization, through elections, consultations, studies and evaluations (Cf. C 96 and MPC 25) and we do it with a feeling of belonging to a project that God placed in the hands of Marie Poussepin and she, in turn, entrusted it to us, her daughters, for its perpetuity.

Drawing inspiration from the old and the new…

I want to shed light on this subject with the contribution of Cardinal Eduardo Pironio, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for religious and secular institutes in 1976.[1]. A contribution that enriches us for its wisdom. When he speaks of the General Chapters, he says that they are a salutary event, an ecclesiastical event and a family event. We can apply the same to the Provincial Chapters and the Chapter Assembly, which among us are closest to the celebration. “If the chapter was well celebrated, in an attitude of poverty, prayer and fraternal charity, it is always a recreation for the Institute which allows its spiritual wealth to overflow on the Church and the world.” [2]

As a saving event, the Word, the Spirit and conversion cannot be lacking. The Word which tells us what God wants at this moment in ecclesial history and the Congregation – the Spirit who illuminates us and helps us to discover the path of God, to discern and decide the new path that we must follow in these times so much of God and therefore of the world. With the Word and the Spirit we enter into the process of conversion as a fundamental attitude that transforms our intelligence and our heart to make our availability available to everything that promotes our consecration, our community life and our mission among the people of God.

Because it is a saving event, it must be written “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on tables of flesh, in the hearts” (2Cor 3:3)…

It is an ecclesial event, because it takes into account the concrete reality of the Church, and even more so at this moment when Pope Francis calls us to synodality; We can only keep in mind in our affairs everything that affects it as an Institution and as a people of God on the move, in order to be able to give reason to the hope that animates us in season and out of season, and also, to give answers according to the reality we experience; to what God wants from us in this moment of the Church; and what our sisters and brothers expect in a world that lives enveloped between lights and shadows, between joys, struggles and sufferings... In this ecclesial event, the Spirit "will make us discover the place which corresponds today to consecrated life and concretely, how to live the Charism, so that it is a new, readable and understandable announcement for the men and women of today.[3].

A family event therefore, we are the daughters of Marie Poussepin, we are sisters of each other, who together seek the common good, "this is why we need to listen to each other, to encourage participation, to enrich ourselves with the contribution of all, and let us discern together what the Lord hopes of us”[4]  In this family event, prayer, poverty and fraternal charity cannot be missing. We know that prayer is a vital necessity for us (Cfr. C12), and the seriousness, balance and effectiveness of the Chapter and the Chapter Assembly depend on its depth – poverty is a family trait and the first condition of the capitulars; Poverty makes us listeners of God and women of dialogue, simple and free to contribute and receive - fraternal charity leads us to cordiality, affability, care for one another and deference to one another towards others (Cfr. R I). She sustains us to be one heart and one soul in the search for the common good, where the center will always be Jesus who calls us to sit down and celebrate together the clearest sign of charity, the Eucharist.

In short, the Chapters and Assemblies will be a theological place where the prayer of Jesus: May all be one as you and I are one for our sisters, the Church and the world to believe, will be felt and lived not only by those present, but for the whole Congregation called to live in unity and to walk in a synodality where everyone has something to learn.

Availability will allow our heart to respond with joy, simplicity and hope in this moment which belongs to God and to us.

[1] Published in Osservatore Tomano on August 29, 1976.

[2] Ibid. Pg. 5

[3] XXI EGA 2023. Pg. 6.

[4] XXI EGA 2023. Pg. 4.