Point of View ... Meet the delegates ... Read their point of view

Susan Donohue fcJ.Susan Donohue fcJ, General Assistant

The chorus in the hymn for morning prayer on 3rd October 2008 set the tone for the presentations on Province Perspectives. To be in your presence is all I desire; To be in your presence and feel your fire of love burning in my heart; Love that ignites, spreading hope on a hurting world. (Kathy Sherman CSJ)

My heart was filled with gratitude to God for the rich sharing by each of the provinces and the European Network on their life, mission and context. There was a sense of honesty in claiming the strengths and a realism in facing the limitations and challenges. The energy in the chapter room was palpable. I marvelled at the creativity shown in both the presentations themselves and in the responses from table groups. Marlette had invited us to use a song, poem, bumper sticker or make a noise to express how we felt at the end of each presentation. The day flew by and I could only marvel at the wonders that God has worked through our Society. God's fidelity and our sisters' deep desire to be united in mind and heart as we strive to offer compassionate love to our thirsting world give me great hope.

 

Christine Anderson fcJChristine Anderson fcJ, British Province

Amazement, graced, delighted, humbled……….just some of the words I would use today as we looked at the province reports of this energetic group of apostolic women. It is a privilege to be here at this Chapter and to get a sense of the whole FCJ Society. This is the last day of gathering data as we continue to discern the directions we need to take for the next five years. 

 

Madeleine Gregg fcJ.Madeleine Gregg fcJ, Province of the Americas

In this day, as I watched wonderfully creative and deeply thoughtful Province presentations, I remembered how Sr. Camilla Burns, SND de N, began her talk, "I've hear that the FCJs are a small group, but they have a huge impact wherever they minister." The presentation and responses to them put flesh aon the bare bones of the statement for me. I was moved to tears more than once and can only echo Mary's Magnificat:

"God who is mighty has done great things in us, with us and for us. Holy is God's name."

 

Rita McLoughlin fcJRita McLoughlin fcJ, Continental Province

The General Chapter is a time when we 'enter in a special way into the Paschal Mystery'. Over the past nine days, however, I have been more conscious of the moments of resurrection and of Chapter as 'the celebration of the life of the Society'. I have been inspired by the FCJ women with whom I have been working, reflecting and sharing these days. They seem to me to be so alive, so committed and so wholeheartedly trying to to see where God is beckoning us.

But I have also known a few of those darker moments of the Paschal Mystery when we were struggling to come to a common understanding or wanted conclusion NOW!

A peak moment of these days for me was the presentation of Sr. Katherine Mary's report. It was wonderfully creative, comprehensive, realistic and definitely challenging. I have been impressed by the complementarity of gifts among us, the variety in the process and the impact of the visual images, displays, powerpoint presentations, liturgical movement which have lifeted my spirits and clarified my thinking.

For all these experiences I say a heartfelt thank you to God and my companions.

 

Lorenza fcJ.Lorenza Magagnin fcJ, Continental Province

Prime impressioni sul Capitolo Generale 2008:

Partecipare ad un Capitolo Generale è sempre un’esperienza nuova – non ha importanza il numero di Capitoli ai quali si è già partecipato - e la si può vivere a diversi livelli. Sono arrivata ad Angers animata da sentimenti contrastanti; da una parte gioia causata dalla possibilità d’incontrare persone conosciute, desiderio di fare nuove conoscenze e tessere nuovi legami, dall’altra apprensione e un po’ di paura, poichè la responsabilità è grande.

La direzione che la Società prenderà nei prossimi cinque anni dipende dal discernimento che come gruppo faremo, dunque non è cosa da prendere alla leggera. La preparazione fatta antecedentemente ci aiuta a restare nel concreto, le nostre sorelle che portano avanti la Missione della Società mentre noi riflettiamo sul suo futuro, sono presenti tramite la riflessione fatta nel corso del Capitolo provinciale ed altri incontri.

I diversi interventi sono stati molto belli e ricchi d’ispirazione. Momenti di preghiera e di riflessione personale alternano le discussioni (che si svolgono in piccoli gruppi o nel grande gruppo secondo l’argomento). Rispetto ed ascolto le une delle altre sono caratteristiche di questi scambi. Delle belle liturgie ci accompagnano.

Da due giorni siamo entrate nel Capitolo vero e proprio e i diversi resoconti ci fanno toccare con mano le meraviglie che il Signore fa nel nostro mondo tramite la Società. Sono soprafatta dall’emozione quando sento quanto bene le nostre sorelle fanno, quanto dolore alleviano, quanta speranza seminano. È certo, un Capitolo Generale è un posto privilegiato per mettersi in contatto con la realtà (positiva e negativa) della nostra Società, con le sue speranze, le sue preoccupazioni, i suoi sogni.

Che sarà il nostro avvenire? Per il momento non lo sappiamo. Esso ci sarà svelato poco a poco con il procedere del Capitolo. Lo Spirito è certamente all’opera ed ognuna presente è uno strumento nelle sue mani, come Marie Madeleine e tante delle nostre sorelle che ci hanno preceduto, lo sono stato.

« Le Bon Dieu a tout conduit lui-même » diceva Marie Madeleine e sono certa che continuerà a farlo. Dobbiamo avere coraggio e fiducia, ma soprattutto una grande fiducia.

 

Bonnie Moser, fcJBonnie Moser fcJ, Province of the Americas

The General Superior’s Report presented a wonderful, visual overview of the very diverse realities we are living as FCJs across the world.  Katherine Mary’s report is keeping alive the question:  ‘What is God asking of us now?

 

Afra Primadiana fcJAfra Primadiana fcJ, Province of Asia-Australia

I was very touched by the honesty of the report. It shows our light and darkness, our joy, sorrow and hope as the Society, Faithful Companions of Jesus. We are in the footsteps of, and walk with, Jesus and Marie Madeleine and those before us through this Pascal mystery of life, death and resurrection.

 

Beatrice Molyneux fcJ.Beatrice Molyneux fcJ, Irish Province

On October 1st we experienced the General Superior’s report.  During the opening ritual, which began in the garden, I was asked to carry the Chapter Candle leading the capitulars across the threshold, through the open door and into the Chapter Room.  What was to follow proved to be a most beautiful and thorough account of the five years since our last Chapter in Calgary in 2003.  It evoked in me a deeper appreciation of our living FCJ charism.  I was profoundly moved by the music and images of the power point presentation and in particular by the photographs of our beloved sisters and old friends who have died most recently.  May they rest in peace.  The pictures of our newer members filled me with hope for the future and inspired me to resolve to pray and work more earnestly, by all means in my power, to further the continued growth of our little Society.

Sr Katherine Mary’s strong and gentle leadership became increasingly evident as the morning proceeded.  So much has been achieved in Jesus’ name.  With the help of her three General Assistants: Srs Frances Kennedy, Claire Sykes and Susan Donohue and also through the symbolic visit of Marie Madeleine (Sr Kathryn Lennon) and Mother Josephine Petit (Sr Denise Mulcahy) Katherine Mary varied delightfully the pace and content of her presentation.  It was a most excellent account of the stewardship of Central Government and of Katherine Mary’s own mandate as our tenth General Superior. 

My prayers of deep gratitude and affection are with and for Katherine Mary as she moves into the next five years of her mandate as General Superior.

“Le Bon Dieu a tout conduit lui – meme.” (Marie Madeleine)

 

Marion Dooley fcJ.Marion Dooley fcJ, Province of Asia-Australia

I found our FCJ pilgrimage to Sainte Anne d’ Auray particularly moving. Prior to Our Lady’s apparition in Lourdes, Sainte Anne d’Auray, in Brittany was the most popular place of pilgrimage in France honouring St. Anne, mother of Mary. It was here, in 1825 that Marie Madeleine, foundress of the Faithful Companions of Jesus began a small community. What touched me so much was the fact that this property was home to numerous FCJ’s for over a 100 years. Having suffered religious persecution the house eventually closed in 1929. Very little is known of these women who lived lives of hidden fidelity here. I could sense their presence, their struggles and their joys. I felt connected to them. Perfection and the achievement of good works was not their legacy to me on this beautiful Autumn day of September 28th 2008. Rather, I was moved by their faithfulness and the hidden manner in which they lived out the commitment of their lives to God. As individuals, they are largely forgotten, but as a group of faithful women their presence was palpable and their legacy lives on. I felt the power of the following words:
                   I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me.
                   I am stronger for their courage. I am wiser for their words.
                   I am lifted by their longing for a fair and brighter future.
                   I am grateful for their vision, for their toiling on this earth.

I wondered what legacy I / we would leave the next generation of FCJ’s?  I can only hope and pray that we too will create strong bonds of faithfulness, love and compassion and that future generations will be nourished by the choices we make.

 

Mary Campion McCarren, fcJMary Campion McCarren fcJ, British Province

My Impressions of Ste Anne d’Auray?

Light and beauty, warmth and welcome; smiles and prayers; people and trees… joy, sadness and consolation … a place of homecoming, a place of memory, with a great welcome from the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and a sense too of FCJ spirits hovering in the garden, in the Chapel, on the old wooden staircase and above all in the cemetery.

It was Ferdinand Jeantier who named the three little bridges over the now dried-up stream, Louise Legrand who planned and planted the first Park…  it was here that Josephine Petit courageously finalised plans to send Sisters to Australia and Canada; … it was from here, under political pressure, that Magdalen Harding organised the removal to the Channel Islands, a voyage very different in cause and emotion from those to new missionary foundations …  and here, for hundreds of novices, the Vow Bell  rang… and we rang it again  for Vows recently made, for Vows being celebrated… and hopefully for Vows yet to be made…

How many had walked here before us with their hopes and dreams, their pain and disappointments, their bafflements and tears! The Paschal Mystery… We were encountering discernment lived out, one step at a time, and seeing that if that step didn’t  work– we try another…

It was a wonderful way for FCJ capitulars to spend their last preparation day – touching into the past, into history and pondering the mystery

 

Ann McGill fcJAnn McGill fcJ, Province of the Americas

I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit Ste. Anne d'Auray, not only because it is a special place of pilgrimage in honor of Ste. Anne, my patron, but also because of its significance in our early FCJ history.  A most helpful guide/prayer booklet had been prepared for each of us which added greatly to the benefit we derived from our visit.

It was most moving and inspiring to learn more about the experiences, both joyful and painful, of our early FCJ Sisters.  We were most warmly welcomed by the Holy Spirit Sisters who now own what was once our property.  In small groups we visited in turn the chapel, the garden, the cemetery, and the vow bell.  The latter was rung apparently each time a group of novices professed their vows, and our history tells us that some time they had two or three groups in a year.   Our group renewed our vows around the bell and rang one peal of the bell in celebration of all who had professed their vows at Ste. Anne d'Auray and in celebration of our own vocation.

Since I had just recently moved from St. Philomena Convent, Portsmouth, I remembered especially in prayer before the statue of St. Philomena in the garden, all associated with St.Philomena convent and School.  Deo Gratias.

Le Bon Dieu a tout conduit lui-même ... Marie Madeleine