BY SISTER DIANE BRENNEN
Sisters gather at the Western Fall Gathering in late September.
From the opening words of General Superior Sister Sandra Shannon to the final group hug, the Western Fall Gathering was a time for all of the Sisters to unpack the new directional statements of the Chapter held last April. Reminiscing of the prechapter, the chapter itself and now the movement forward with our two statements showed us how much we have grown as a group. This brought hope for the future.
During the September 29th to October 1st gathering, we were also brought up to date on other key events including plans for renovations at Providence Motherhouse in Kingston, an update on negotiations with regard to Rosary Hall and Covenant Health, and an update on any Sisters in the east who had been ill.
Unfortunately the Associates who planned to attend the Fall Gathering were unable to show up for supper and the opening on Thursday evening.
Realizing that the number of Sisters in the West are now down to a little more than a handful, it was decided by the group that this would be the last Western Fall Gathering. It just makes more sense for the Sisters here to go East.
Participants at Eastern Fall Gathering.
Sr. Sandra Shannon, General Superior, offered the opening address at the Eastern Fall Gathering. An excerpt appears here.
“Traditionally there is some reflection given at the opening of the Fall Gathering. I struggled with “What will I share.” Well the word LOVE kept popping up here and there.
Last Sunday the readings – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, etc.; You shall love your neighbor, etc. Monday’s Prayer after Communion – “May the new life you give us increase our love and keep us in the joy of your kingdom.” Tuesday – Father Gazeley’s homily about doing little things for one another in love. Directional Statement I says “being educated in love by prayer (St. Vincent).”
So I thought I would go with the theme of LOVE. St. John, apparently, every time he was asked to address the early church, would stand up and say “Love one another” and sit down. Now if I were St. John, I’d stop now but since I’m not, I’ll say a little more.
Like St. John, I say “Love one another.” About a month ago while attending the unveiling of the statue of a sister and while at the Mass celebrating the Legacy of the Sisters in Alberta, I reflected not only about our present Sisters and Associates and what you are doing to bring about the reign of God in our time but also about those who have gone before us, our ancestors. Those Sisters who have left us the beautiful legacy we have – our congregation, the Associate Program and most importantly our Mission – the reason we exist and the reason for which we continue to strive to exist.
Walking into the light we continue to love the Gospel and bring its message into our reality. Thus the importance of our Directional Statements. They are the road maps which tell us with whom and in what direction we are to place our love and how we are to live out our love.