Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle held its biannual meeting in Ottawa on 19 and 20 October 2018. The meeting included a guided retreat session, whereby members discussed, reflected and prayed on the mission, identity and purpose of the Circle. The members reiterated and reconfirmed the Mission Statement and the core purposes of the Circle, agreeing to give priority to creating spaces of dialogue between Catholic and Indigenous spiritualties, educating and providing formation for its own members on Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices in Canada, and serving as a catalyst for encounter and dialogue within the Catholic Church and in Canadian society at large on Indigenous questions.
Formalized in December 2016 and initially made up of four organizations including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Religious Conference, the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, (now called the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council) and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle was created to engage in renewing and fostering relationships with the Indigenous peoples in Canada.
The four founding members collectively responded to Calls to Actions #48 and #49 with respect to support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and responding to questions around the legal concepts known as “the Doctrine of Discovery” and terra nullius. The Circle continues to give special attention to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the members’ own Eight Commitments made in March of 2016.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle now comprises seven national Catholic organizations which, in addition to the four founding members mentioned above, include the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, and the Knights of Columbus. Likewise, the Circle has representation from four Catholic religious orders: the Jesuits of Canada, Sisters of Charity of Halifax, Sisters of Providence of Western Canada, and Lacombe Province, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Member at large positions have also been constituted specifically to provide for additional Catholic Indigenous representation. The Circle is making a significant effort to ensure a balance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices, united by their common baptism and faith as Catholics.
The Circle will meet again in March 2019.