The 24th regular General Chapter of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis, took place at the Manoir d’Youville, Chateauguay, from July 30 to August 14, 2018.
At the opening ceremony, the outgoing General Superior, Sister Josephine Goggin, evoked the Chapter theme: Called by an emerging future, “let’s go and see’”(Luke 2 :15), and said: “Our responsibility at this Chapter is to acknowledge that: We are called – drawn – towards/into the future – an evolving, emerging future; God is the future – always ahead – inviting – transforming – changing – creating – ever new. We are moving – journeying – on pilgrimage – and required to take note of the landscape – the environment – the people on our path – the emerging possibilities and opportunities. We stay focused on the Still Point – Christ, the Cosmic Christ is that Still Point – that has to be our Focus.”
The 2018 General Chapter was preceded by a long-term preparation entrusted to an International Committee whose mandate included involving the whole Congregation in the restructuring process. Before the Chapter, the Congregation “held its breath” it still believed that a restructuring scenario could be chosen.
However, it soon became obvious that there was still too much work to be done before closing down a province or a region and creating news ones as 10 countries and hundreds of sisters are involved. These entities are either in the North where aging is a factor or in the South where sisters tend to be much younger and still have novices. Therefore, the Chapter adopted a mindful listening attitude asking: “What is God’s call to the congregation today?”
Spirituality – Mission
Living the Paschal Mystery genuinely, in a spirit of letting go, of detachment and, in spite of our vulnerabilities, daring to risk for the sake of the mission, particularly with “persons in difficult situations.”
– Constitutions and Norms, no 35 # 3
Interdependance – Solidarity
With creation: to recognize that “the earth is a common heritage whose fruits should benefit all” (Laudato si’, 93), leads to an ecological conversion and opens our hearts to the cry of a wounded humanity.
As a Congregation: living out our interdependence concretely and developing innovative features of solidarity while taking into account the different vulnerabilities in all our sectors.
Committing ourselves to open and broad dialogue and exchanges on new paths of internationality so that our limits are turned into new possibilities for action.
Being open to different forms of partnership within and outside of our Congregation for our mission to remain life-giving, and to arrange for its regular assessment.
To intensify the formation movement started in the Congregation in order to progress towards a greater sense of mutual responsibility for leadership, administration, mentoring, and for initial and ongoing formation.
Creating simple structures adapted in ways that allow our energies to be invested in promoting life and a fruitful SCSL mission.
Relying on God’s call to the Congregation, on our charism and our mission, and in light of our current reality, we wish to have: a participative and unifying governance at all levels, based on discernment and communication.
Reorganization of the entities
We recommend that the general superior and the general council proceed gradually – over a period of time – with the re-grouping of the sectors and the revision of the status of the entities, in close consultation with the sisters concerned, and providing a period of experimentation.
We recommend that the general superior and her council convene the Council of Congregation more frequently, including representatives from all the sectors when appropriate, to facilitate the process of restructuring.”
Therefore, as the newly elected General Superior, Sister Alberte PICHÉ, put it in her presentation of the Acts of the General Chapter: «These hours of listening and sharing could only encourage us to look at the new realities head on, to accept them as they are and see what the Gospel calls us to.
New General Governement
On the picture, from left to right:
- Sister Madeleine RIOPEL, General Councillor, Shawinigan, Québec
- Sister Nynon DESJARDINS, Councillor and General Assistant, Haïti
- Sister Alberte PICHÉ, General Superior, Cap-Santé Québec
- Sister Eily McALLISTER, Councillor and General Treasurer, Western Canada Province
- Sister Marie Anna RALALAHARIMANANA, General Councillor, Madagascar
Photo: Lise Labonté
Website of the congregation : www.soeursdelacharitestlouis.org/en/