Love, the Heart of the Universe
Led by Sr. Ellen Kelly carrying a lighted lantern, accompanied by Sr. Zelna on the drum, the participants processed from the garden to the meeting room, full of hope and expectancy, the strains of the gathering song “God Delights in You” (Monica Brown) echoing in their ears.
The session had officially begun.
The meeting room was colorfully decorated with a large heart at the centre, where each sister was invited to place a smaller heart expressing her blessings for the session. Participants come from 20 Units, more than 27 counties in all
In her address to the group, Sr. Ellen recalled that all are members of an international congregation and hoped they would develop friendships across borders that would last a lifetime. She emphasized that the lifelong commitment expressed by Perpetual Profession calls for very deep and honest discernment. “Pay attention to your heart,” she said, “for where your heart is there is your treasure also.” She invited the Sisters into a deeper communion with God, the created world, the universe, with each other and with those who accompany them. Love is about relationships, she continued and it must be lived in our everyday life. Sr. Ellen will return again in September at the end of the session.
This formation session is the fruit of two years preparation, organized by the Congregational Leadership Team supported by a committee. Here in Angers the Motherhouse community and staff are alert and ever attentive to the needs of all. Participants are also aware of the support and encouragement of the entire Congregation. Messages from several have been gratefully received.
This week is introductory and is being led at a gentle pace by our skilled facilitators, Srs. Brigid Lawlor and Angela Fahy who will be with us throughout the session. Community building exercises sessions have helped sisters get to know each other, participants have been introduced to the Contemplative Dialogue Method for sharing around the table groups, reflection on the guided tours of the Motherhouse , daily Lexio Divina sharing, journaling, use of art room where there is a great selection of art and craft materials and weekly mentoring groups .
They articulat hopes and desires for the session
Among the longings and desires expressed were:
- Greater inner freedom
- Deepening in the spirituality of the Congregation
- Transformation from within outwards
- Have an attitude of wonder before the beauty of creation
- Developing new relationships with others, with new realities, with the cosmos
- Deep commitment to the mission of the congregation
- More confident on one’s place in the evolving story of the congregation
- Missionary outreach
Daily Eucharist from Monday to Thursday is led by Fr. Jim Conlon who gathers and integrates the proceedings of each day. The local community joins us on these days. Friday is a Day of integration and the group has a special Eucharist on this day.
At weekends the Sisters choose the Church they wish to attend and can celebrate with the local people.
Next week we look forward to our presenters, Monica Brown and Hilary Musgrave who together with Sr. Brigid and Sr. Angela will creatively lead us through reflections on the theme ‘Love, the Heart of the Universe’.
Angers 13 July 2018