Chapter of Affairs Begins
Sisters and Associates completed their first full day of Chapter on Monday, April 17. Grounded by the Chapter Prayer, the day’s sessions focused on hopes and expectations as well as context setting. The day concluded with a light-hearted social and game night in the Motherhouse Dining Room.
Monday, April 17 – Morning Session
By S. Barbara Davis
“Inspire us with hope for what is possible. Free us from things that cloud our vision or confine us.”
Our opening prayer set the tone for the morning’s agenda by calling us to reflect on these words from our Chapter Prayer. That reflection was followed by the opportunity to share with those at our table the expectations and hopes that each of us had written during the opening ritual Sunday afternoon. Common threads emerged through that sharing: a commitment to deep listening, respectful conversations, discernment as we set direction and elect our Leadership Team.
Our facilitators, Debbie Asberry and Lisa Nagsted, reminded us that our lives and our world have moved from a landscape where predictability and stability were the norm to a time of greater uncertainty, unpredictability, even chaos. We listened twice to a prayerful proclamation of the gospel story of the woman at the well. This story tells us that Jesus moved beyond the norms of His day; the unnamed woman experienced “metanoia” – a change of heart.
Delegates identified many of the common issues/concerns that have emerged in our conversation circles and during the discernment retreat, noting that many of them are in the emergent landscape. That reality calls each of us to adapt and requires that we rely on each other. One delegate wisely noted that we are blessed by the fact that our charism, mission, and vision statements have always called us to move beyond the ordinary and predictable as we have assessed and responded to the needs of the times, “daring to risk a caring response.”
Monday, April 17 – Afternoon Session
By S. Mary Ellen Murphy
Monday afternoon found the delegates engaged in a series of intense conversations attempting to get at the “heart of the matter” of our Chapter material by addressing “context-setting” and delving into “meaning-making” through several rounds of small group sessions in a process called “World Café”. We used the raw data from the Leadership Council’s 4 Year Report, the January/February Conversation Circles, the Discernment Retreat and Nancy Conway’s presentation on “Decision-Making” to ask three key questions: what was most important to pay attention to; what shifts in assumptions, attitudes and mindsets were bubbling up; and what’s the next wise step. The energy was palpable in the room and the sharing was open and non-stop! We concluded the session with the approval of the 4 Year Report and the tired delegates were well ready for a tasty meal and relaxing evening.
While the delegates were meeting in the Cedars, the Associates and collaborators were gathered in the Rose Room and Halloran Room discussing the role Associates play in the Charity Family from a mission, communication and financial perspective. They too used the World Café process and found it to be an excellent tool for gathering broad input about future meetings and communication with the Leadership Council. It was energizing for them and seemed to generate a wealth of information about tools they could use to improve the Associate program for which they were grateful. It was a full day and they too looked forward to supper and a relaxing evening social.