From the 21st MFIC General Chapter
Larne, Northern Ireland
“I am the Vine… Prune for Fruitfulness.”
By the Communications Circle
9th - 10th July. Twenty-five delegates from seven countries arrived at Drumalis Retreat Centre, Larne, in Northern Island, for the 21st General Chapter of the Institute. The support staff for the Chapter includes Sisters who have generously agreed to serve as the liturgy and hospitality co-ordinators, the Chapter facilitator, the retreat director, and three lay interpreters.
10th - 11 July. On Sunday evening a simple welcome gathering marked the beginning of our time together. Monday morning, a beautiful opening ritual based on the Chapter theme “I am the Vine...Prune for fruitfulness” was celebrated, accompanied by the central symbols of grapes, the Word of God, our Institute Cross and a simple gesture opening us to God's Spirit. The ritual began outside and then moved in procession to the Chapter Hall.
After readings from the Word of God, the Opening Address by Sr. Jeanette (the first communication sent from the Chapter), and asking prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit, the roll call was taken to which delegates and support staff committed themselves to enter fully into the Chapter process with the words "Yes, I am willing!"
11th - 13th July. On Monday afternoon a two-day retreat, on the theme of Threshold, led by Sr. Eileen Plunkett osf, invited the Chapter members to enter the images and themes of Take up your Sleeping Mats, Waiting and Letting Go, the Mirror of the Cross, and transformation in the Paschal Mystery. The retreat which included silence outside sessions and time for prayer, reflection and sharing, concluded with a liturgy of praise. This retreat was a wonderful opportunity to prepare prayerfully for the journey of the Chapter.
13th -16th July. After the retreat the facilitator Sr. Brigid Ehlert SSL led us through some procedural and administrative tasks. We elected the Chapter Secretary and tellers, the co-ordination, liturgy, minutes, and editing circles, and signed up on a voluntary basis on the circles for social events, liturgy and communication.
The next phase of the Chapter is focussed on our current reality. The report of the Generalate Team was reflected upon and the responses of the Circles was shared. This was followed by the Personnel Report.
The reports of each of the Governance Circles were reflected upon and updates given. The final report to the Chapter was the Finance Report which was given by the accounting firm Brenner, McDonagh & Tortolani Inc. and reflected upon in the Chapter groups.
17th July. An outing to the Giant's Causeway is the first free day of the Chapter. We hope to share an enjoyable day together at this outing.