GC 2016, 17-23 July

3d Communication from the 21st MFIC General Chapter

Larne, Northern Ireland – 23/07/2016

“I am the Vine… Prune for Fruitfulness.”

  By the Communications Circle

17 July The trip to the Giant's Causeway was a welcome outing after the first week of the Chapter.  We set off by bus, following the coastal road to the Causeway and returned by an inland route. We were blessed with fine, warm weather.

18 – 22 July During this past week the delegates have deepened their understanding of the current reality of the Institute in order to hear God's call to us for the future. There was further reflection on the reports from the Circles as well as three presentations by the Generalate Team about specific areas of our Institute, and a letter sent to the Chapter by an individual Sister regarding vocation promotion.

The delegates began the week by reflecting individually for an extended time on all of this material. They processed their reflections in small groups before separating to share the wisdom of each group with another group (the interchange group), so that each Sister was able to hear the wisdom and insights of all five groups. The key points of this reflection were collected and further refined by the Editing Circle to draft the Mandate. Further refinement of this Mandate will continue into the third week.

We celebrated reflective liturgies of the Word with Communion except on Monday the 18th, when we had Mass in the chapel of Drumalis. On Tuesday, the LA sisters led the service and Sr. Clorinda dramatized the first reading beautifully.  The PNG sisters gave a cultural touch in harmonizing the hymns on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Australian Sisters brought a Cosmic Spirituality into the liturgy by inviting us to bless the four directions of the world. The 22nd was the feast of Mary Magdalene and the Canadian Sisters led the service. Sr. Danielle gave a reflection on Mary Magdalene being the first person, and more so a woman, to have seen the risen Lord and announced his Resurrection to the apostles who then spread the message around the world.

A highlight of the week was the presence of a number of Sisters and former members who joined us for lunch and part of the afternoon on Wednesday July 20th.  We were happy to welcome Srs Veronice Frawley, Barbara Molloy, and Jo Slevin, and former members Lida Bulf, Ann Walker, Margaret Gallagher, and Margaret Mahon. Unfortunately, Sr. Philomena Conroy from Dublin, Josephine Murray and Peggy Quinlan were not able to attend.

Sisters of the Institute remain present with us in many ways. Sr. Veronica prepared a comprehensive history of our years of ministry in Egypt, with many photos of the Sisters who lived and served there. We also have displayed on boards or tables all the artistic material that the Sisters sent to us from our various Circles: reflexions, photo collages and “adult colouring”. Finally, the Sisters who went to God during this five-year term are remembered in the Chapter Room where their photos are displayed.

On the evening of July 22nd we had a joyful celebration in gratitude to the outgoing team. We shared a homemade cake at the end of supper and continued the celebration in Smiley Lounge. Many Sisters participated through dances, stories, and expressions to Danielle, Terentia, Jeanette and Veronica of how much they appreciated their service to the Institute during the past 5 years.

23 July The delegates enjoyed a free day on Saturday.  While some planned to stay in or around Larne, many headed to Belfast to see some of the landmarks and enjoy a day of fun.