Sisters, Associates Gather for Opening of Chapter
The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati General Chapter opened in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday, April 16, 2023, with 103 Sister-delegates and about 75 collaborators of Sisters and Associates. In beautiful simplicity, the hour-long ritual was solemn and prayerful. S. Montiel Rosenthal and Associate Nancy Bick Clark provided the musical strains of “God’s Waltz,” Earth’s Blessing,” and a “Cherokee Prayer for Peace” on flute and harp. Sisters Montiel and Pat Wittberg sang “The Deer’s Cry,” a beautiful prayer celebrating our God who lives with his children, guiding them, sheltering them, strengthening them; a God who is with us and in us through all creation.
Periods of contemplative silence helped those present to write, and then share with two others, the way we wanted to be with one another in our Chapter conversations. S. Marge Kloos, in beautiful voice, sang “Holy Spirit, Fill this Place.” With that hymn still in our hearts, S. Pat Hayden, Sisters of Charity president, declared the opening of Chapter.
Sisters Annie Klapheke and Barbara Hagedorn, co-chairs of the Chapter Planning Committee, gave a brief overview of the week and introduced the facilitators of the Chapter, Debbie Asberry and Lisa Negstad.
With the beautiful voices of the choir, led by S. Terry Thorman, proclaiming “You Have Called Us,” the Chapter roll call followed and was led by S. Marty Dermody. Each Sister-delegate came forward to place her name in the earthen bowl to be taken to the Chapter room for the week of meetings. We then prayed our Chapter Prayer together in a unified, strong and committed voice.
S. Pat Hayden invited the gathered Community to sing the blessing ,“Spirit of the Living God,” first over the Chapter delegates and then over the entire Community of Charity gathered in the chapel and those who were viewing virtually through livestreaming in Mother Margaret Hall and the Motherhouse.
While making our way to the Dining Room for dinner, these comments from Sisters and Associates were heard:
“I think we feel freer and ready to begin new work because we have already done some letting go.”
“I feel a newness among us, a shift for the good.”
“It was awesome.”
“I love it when we all come together to pray.”
“There was so much power in the way we prayed our Chapter Prayer together!”
“When we ended singing ‘Ubi Caritas’ I felt so strongly connected to our long past, our great history.”