Our 196th Anniversary and Proposed Changes in Our Life Today
2021 Congregational Assembly of Contemplative Sisters (CACS):
November 11, the actual 196th anniversary of the foundation of our Contemplative Sisters, was one of the final two days of the Assembly. Honoring the day began with a prayerful tribute that recalled the history of our Contemplatives beginning with early pictures of the Magdalen Sisters as they were first known, then moving on to being the Sisters of the Cross, then to being the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd, to their current, rightful name, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd! In some communities, there are sisters who have lived through the four name changes as well as the changes in the Church since Vatican II. The closing prayer period included a reflection by Sister Mary Pius, who has been in the Congregation for 66 years, and Sister Shirley, who recently made final vows. Not only did the day include this historical pictural presentation, but the Assembly topic of the day also focused on a proposed new governmental structure. Clearly, changes continue!!
Yesterday, the final day of the 2021 Assembly, included a review of the Direction Statement, a favorable response to the governmental restructuring proposal, meeting in province groups to determine how participants will share the Assembly experience with both the apostolic and contemplative sisters at home, a very moving closing ritual and Sister Susana Franco's official closing statement. In it, she commented:
We are living in a moment of opportunity and truth. Let us look to the future with hope and unity. We seek to live a consecrated life that is more evangelical and more prophetic, and we want to do so through creative, respectful and courageous actions for the good of all humanity.
The harder work of the Assembly has only begun as participants will continue reflecting on their experience and spending time reflecting on what the Holy One has called them to see and what God has broken open in each person and in the group as a whole as they now prepare for the second phase of the Congregational Chapter that begins on November 18.
November 12, 2021