Jesus Christ at the heart of our history!
He is our light, our strength, our ALL!

COUNCIL OF CONGREGATION
24 May - 11 June 2021

 

The Council of Congregation is the enlarged council of the Superior General. It allows her and her Council to have better information on the spiritual and apostolic needs of the Congregation, favors mutual acquaintance and a spirit of unity. It evaluates what has been lived in the Congregation since the last General Chapter. Its power is consultative.

First Week

24 May

OPENING CELEBRATION
WORD OF WELCOME

Some quotes from the Words of Welcome

Gathered together by the Holy Spirit through faith in the Risen Christ (C80) We are together to pray, to reflect, to share, rooted in the reality of our Consecrated life as Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Together, we want to listen to the signs of the times, to hear the voice of God in events in the light of the Gospel, to seek what the Holy Spirit wants for us today.

Mother Rivier accompanies us and prays for us: “I wish you the fullness of the Holy Spirit, with all his gifts and his lights”.

We must be attentive to the voice from above, open to new possibilities, discovering what our priorities are according to the beauty and the exigencies of the Gospel, wherever we are.

We are together to seek what is best, to let ourselves be fascinated by the face of Christ. May our life be a Mystery! When people see us living, may they say: God is there, hope exists! We must ask ourselves: what witness does our consecrated life give to our brothers and sisters?

Consecrated life is waiting for something new, a quality of life in everyday living.

What signs of hope do I see today in society, in the Church, in our Congregation, in my personal life?

Let us ask for the GIFT of Wisdom for one another and let us move forward in hope towards a future that is already known in God’s heart!

– Mother Maria dos Anjos, pm-

SPIRITUALITY AND CHARISM
Sr. Maguy Lascazes, pm

 

 

Sister Maguy Lascazes made her first profession of Vows in 1971. Let us note in passing that she is celebrating 50 years of religious life this year!  After her profession, she waited for 3 years to realize her lifelong dream of becoming a missionary. The year 1974 marked the beginning of a new adventure with Christ. She went to Senegal and served for 11 years as a missionary.

She was a provincial councilor for many years and for the last 4 years she has been the provincial assistant. For the past 6 years, she has been at the Mother House in a totally different service: accompanying elderly and sick sisters. It is a demanding but enriching mission. She says: I love being in contact with them! I have had happiness in my life!

Her long years as the person in charge of International Renewal gave her the opportunity to develop her sense of discernment and accompaniment. Throughout these years, she deepened the spirituality and charism of our Congregation.

The Charism: a gushing source, to be constantly discovered and explored

Charism cannot be confined in words, because “you do not know where the Spirit comes from or where it is going…”.

In the Rule of Life, there are laws, canonical norms, they are needed, but they are at the service of life. It is a Rule of Life.

Christianity is not the religion of a law, but of a person. Jesus himself, living in us by his Spirit, is our Rule of Life. His love is our law. Obedience to this law conforms us to his person. It is a law that calls, that invites.

The charism is an ever flowing spring. Marie Rivier herself drank abundantly from this source, and in every way she sought to make it a source of life for everyone. She spared no effort in the service of the spiritual animation of her Congregation.

26 May
FROM INTERNATIONALITY TO INTERCULTURALITY

Tim Norton SVD is a member of the Society of the Divine Word originally from Sydney, Australia.
We thank Fr. Tim for being with us and sharing his wealth of experience to help us move into a new deepening of our internationality toward interculturality at this time in our history. The practical knowledge that he shares with us is not merely a tool of function but a means of conversion, self-knowledge, and greater knowledge and encounter with God. In this way, he does not merely offer us a workshop, but a means to grow in our own holiness and the holiness of our life together. 

28 May
Rereading of our experience with Fr. Tim Norton, svd
News on our Family Home in Bourg St. Andéol

Sharing of the lived experiences and challenges
Presenters: Province of the United States, S. Helen Côte; Province of France, S Jane Wilkinson and Province of the Philippines, S. Samuelita Enriquez

We began our session by a rereading of the theme: From Internationality to Interculturality which was presented to us Wednesday by F. Tim Norton SVD.  Three questions guided our sharing and helped us to deepen this theme.

Sr Jane invited us to live a virtual pilgrimage of our Mother House in Bourg St Andéol. We were able to see for ourselves the ways in which our sisters are working to make a visit there an encounter with Marie Rivier and the heritage she has left us.

We also began the presentations prepared by our Provinces/Regions and Missions.  They presented their joys and challenges for today and their hopes and dreams for the future.  As we listened we were able to touch the spirit of Marie Rivier alive in her daughters.

Second week

01 June
Continuation of Sharing lived experiences
Presenters: Province of Spain, S Soledad Saez; Province of Mozambique, S. Teresa Carolina de Carvalho; Province of Portugal, S Fernanda pereira; Mission of Brazil, S. Isabel Grachane and Region of Peru, S Enith Elena Ferreira

The presentations prepared by our Provinces/Regions and Missions continued.  Each one presented their joys and challenges for today and their hopes and dreams for the future.  As we listened we were able to touch the spirit of Marie Rivier alive in her daughters and the creative fidelity to her Charism/charism in responding to the particular needs of their countries.

At the end of the day, the different Commissions in the General Administration have also shared some plans and echoes of their area of responsibility. The Commissions are the following: Formation, Youth and Vocation Ministry, Lay Consecrated, and the Marie Rivier Associates.

The lived experience of S Sam during the Council of Congregation 2021 first video conference via Zoom.

The reaction of Sr. Lise to the first video conference of the 2021 Council of Congregation.

3 June
Introduction of the Moderator for our General Chapter, Sr. Marian Murcia
Sharing of the lived experiences and challenges of our Provinces, Regions, Missions
Presentations: Province of Prince Albert, Sr. Lise Paquette; Province of Quebec , Sr. Angèle Dion ; Province of Senegal, Sr. Louise Dion

Sr. Marian Murcia, HFB

Sr. Marian, HFB (Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeau) will be the moderator for our General Chapter in 2023. Today she was with us and shared her reflections on: The Impact of VUCA in the context of the post pandemic times. The acronym VUCA describes what we are living today because of the Covid 19 Pandemic. V for Volatility, U for Uncertainty, C for Complexity and A for Ambiguity. She reflected on and identified with us the challenges that leaders in religious life are facing today and will face in the future.

 

Sr. Louise, our General Secretary, presented to the group a proposal about the number of delegates to be elected to the General Chapter 2023 from each Province, Region and Mission.

The presentations prepared by our Provinces/Regions and Missions continued.  Each one presented their joys and challenges for today and their hopes and dreams for the future.  As we listened we were able to touch the spirit of Marie Rivier alive in her daughters and the creative fidelity to her charism is evident in the varied contexts and needs of her daughters around the globe.

5 June
Sharing of lived experiences and challenges of our Provinces, Regions, Missions
presentations: Mission of Cameroon, S Josephine Tchea; The Gambia, S. Marie Solange Badji and Mission of Japan, S. Mie Nakanishi
Revisiting Representativity
Finances: Fond Pontanier and General House

On the sixth day of the Council of Congregation, we continued to share the joys and challenges of our P/R/M today. Sr Josephine Tchea presented the Mission of Cameroun, Sr. Marie Solange Badji the Region of the Gambia and Sr Mie Nakanishi the Mission of Japan.

Sr. Germaine Lapierre of the Province of Québec, spoke about the Fonds Pontanier, a fund based in Québec, that helps provide for the needs of the Sisters. Sr. Germaine updated the Superiors on some changes that the Administrative Council of the Fonds Pontanier has made since the 2017 General Chapter.  First, the Fonds Pontanier has allocated a certain % for the needs of the sisters and another % for the needs of our apostolates; second, she introduced to us her new collaborator in this service, Jocelyne Desloges.  Sr. Claudette also gave a report on the administration of the funds of the Generalate.

During the time for open questions, S Kelly explained number C34 of our Constitutions on Patrimonial Possessions as well as a project aimed at creating our Congregation’s policy on the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.  S Hortência then spoke about Ongoing Formation and the Missionary Elan of the Congregation. The participants shared their suggestions and observations on these subjects.

Third Week

7 June
Initial formation - International Novitiate
Message of the 2017 General chapter
Rereading - Pathways for the Future

Today was a very interactive day… serious ‘road work’ on the way!

The Superiors discussed the regrouping of the Novitiates, a subject being studied since 2014. During the Formation Session in 2019, sisters involved in initial formation endorsed different regroupings of PM novitiates with some important notes that there would be a well-formed, well-prepared intercultural formation team. The Superiors continued the reflective study during this session. This was facilitated by S. Claudette Casavant.

Hortencia Ubisse and S. Kelly Connors recalled the Final Message of the 2017 General Chapter and through the participants’ discussion, we were able to look at what elements we can emphasize for the next two years and identify the areas that will give focus for the upcoming 2023 General Chapter.

At the final part of the session, S Claudette launched the group into rereading and discerning the priorities and new areas of evangelization based on the presentations of each participant over the past two weeks. The small group sharing opened some horizons and helped us be attentive to the realities lived in the Congregation.   

We closed the session thanking each one for a lively discussion and with much love that we carry into the work that is asked of each one.

9 June
Pathways for the future, Sharing/Discernment
Celebration of our 225 years of Foundation Gestures for the future
Evaluations - Orientations

The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8

More serious hours of work!

Today, we were launched into two moments of group sharing. With the time given, we dove into subjects that matter most in our life as a Congregation taking into consideration our realities and those around us. The two moments were well-spent exploring the signs of the times that the world is showing us and the pathways that we may take to be able to respond to these calls of the Spirit. Openness, conversion to the Gospel, creativity, risk-taking, leaving our comfort zones, solidarity, simplicity, welcoming challenges and differences are just some of the attitudes and values mentioned that may accompany us as we face the future.

The last moment was Mother Maria dos Anjos’s presentation. She emphasized that our Year of Thanksgiving must be accompanied by concrete gestures.  The year we are celebrating is also a year in which the world is still plagued by COVID 19 which has impacted everyone’s life in some way. Together, we are bracing ourselves to face this unsettled year and, in God’s mercy, we are finding the rays of light and of hope towards a new future!

Our Superior General has inspired us to pursue creative responses to the needs of On-Going Formation and in revitalizing our Vocation Ministry. The Spirit continues to create newness around us and through us!

‘HOPE is like a sail of the boat that gathers the force of the winds and
pushes the boat to the deep or to the shore…’ - Pope Francis -

11 june
Interprovincial gathering by language groups – October, November and December 2021
Suggestions for a theme for the General Chapter 2023, Thank You, Final Message and Closing prayer

 

Today is the final day of the 3-week Council of Congregation Video conference meeting, the first in our PM History.

The first part began with the presentation of the dates for the Inter-provincial Council Meetings which will be organized by language groups. We also revisited the presentation of the concrete gestures for the 225th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation. This project will be realized in the near future — a shimmering light in a suffering world.

Already, Mother Maria dos Anjos introduced the reflection for a theme of the General Chapter of 2023. It is her desire that as many people as possible be involved in this reflection and eventual formulation of the theme. These suggestions will be presented at the Interprovincial Council Meetings.

We continued to share on the celebration of the 39th Anniversary of the Beatification of Blessed Marie Rivier and then it was time to say “Thank You!” … to Mother Maria dos Anjos and her Council, to the Participants, and to our translator of the day. 

Finally, Mother Maria dos Anjos delivered her final message of the first video conference, Council of Congregation 2021.

What we have experienced together calls us to a new beginning in order to make Jesus Christ known and loved wherever we are sent. Our family spirit, the simplicity of our relationships and the unconditional welcome of the other energize us to continue our journey with serenity and joy, to live with zeal our vocation and mission as Sisters of the Presentation of Mary: to follow Jesus Christ and to act according to his spirit C2       –  an excerpt, Mo. Maria dos Anjos Alves-

Though it was our final chorus, it ended on a high note! Sr. Ginette led us through a final prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

As the meeting is concluded, let us walk with Mary, Mother of Holy Hope. She is close to her children and will always bring us farther on…

THANK YOU, EVERYONE!

The videos (prayers and greetings) shown during the Council of Congregation are available on the website in the RESOURCE section of the main menu!