21st General Chapter Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland, 20 – 28 July 2017

For nine days we have met as a community holding accountability for our life in Mercy for the past four years and imagining the unfolding of our life in Mercy over the next four years. Contemplation has been the thread weaving the texture and the colour through our days together. Our profoundly centering logo has drawn us time and again into deeper contemplation as we endeavoured to explore the depths of our motto “Mercying into the future. .  . Misericordiando hacia el futuro. . .”

Two images, one from the logo and one from the motto, now invite us into the living out of our Chapter Statement.  In the logo, the simple panes of the side panels (not the ornate decoration of the earlier drafts) remind us of a time in Catherine’s life when she was uncertain, seemingly out of her depth and without the security of her faith tradition.  We are told that, denied the right to have access to any Catholic symbols or rituals, in her ingenuity she found the Cross in the window panes and door panels and the intersecting branches of trees on the lawn. I see six such crosses in the side panels of our logo – how many do you see?  In a postmodern world, in what familiar yet unexpected places will we find the Creating One, the Risen One and the Spirit of peace and justice?

The time has also come to look at the three dots embedded in our motto.  These three dots, a punctuation mark known in English as an ellipsis, are at the end of the quotation in English and in Spanish and are the link between the two phrases.  There is an invitation to graceful movement inherent in this punctuation mark – it suggests the unfinished thought, the slight pause, the intentional silence, the echoing voice.  In these coming four years, let us attend to those unfinished thoughts, let us respect the slight pauses, let us become calm in the intentional silences, and let us delight in the echoing voices.

During our Chapter days, we heard the echoing voices of four profound phrases: Who we love transforms us ~ Where we live reshapes us ~ How we create remakes us ~ What we choose changes us.

-Reflections given by Elizabeth Davis, rsm on the closing of the 21st General Chapter of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland.

Cait Wims rsm, translator Chapter centerpiece

21st General Chapter: Announcement

On July 21, 2017 Sister Elizabeth Davis, Congregational Leader, will open the 21st General Chapter of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland.

The theme and logo of the Chapter have been drawn forth from the engagement of many sisters, associates, colleagues and friends in the Mercy International Reflection Process of the past year.  Our previous engagement in the Year of Consecrated Life and the Jubilee Year of Mercy have served to establish a solid foundation.   Our Chapter theme Mercying into the future . . .Misericordiando hacia el futuro resonates with  our desire to experience a renewed sense of mercying in this new time leading us into Mercy Global Presence.  The logo faces us with a lively Mercy Cross leaping out of the doors at Baggot Street!

Ms. Judith King, Ireland, has been working with coordinating committees for the past year in planning for the Chapter.  The first two days of Chapter will be experienced in a spirit of contemplative listening, dialogue and presence. The following day associates and colleagues will join us to continue in a mode of contemplative listening with a focus on “mercying” in the context of mission, charism, ministry and community living.  By the end of the day we hope that we would further in creative and energizing ways the initiative and leadership of the Mercy International Reflection Process towards Mercy Global Presence in its dual focus on degradation of earth and the displacement of persons.  We will explore with associates and colleagues to discover how the Sisters of Mercy, in collaboration with them and others, might further such initiative.  In the next days, the chapter delegates will continue to focus on our congregation’s current reality and how we are called in the great movement of mercying now and into the future. We will explore ministry and community living in collaboration and partnerships with others and the way we will live this out in the next four years.  By the end of the week on July 28 the Chapter will hopefully have set clear directions for the future.

Another important part of our Chapter is the election of a new leadership team.   Members of the congregation have been praying and engaged in a discernment process for leadership.  Four sisters will be elected to lead us during the next four years.

Complementing the contemplative aspect of the Chapter and important business there will be plenty of time for celebration, prayer, fun and food.  We have much to celebrate especially in this 175th year of our foundation in Newfoundland.  We have jubilarians celebrating 25, 50 and 60 years; we and relatives of our deceased sisters will remember our deceased members in a ritual in our cemetery; we have invited the general public to pray with us in a Eucharistic celebration followed by  refreshments and gathering; we will have a grand banquet where we express gratitude to the team members of the past four years. We will also have a “kitchen party” that is sure to be entertaining and light-hearted featuring the hidden talents of our members.  We will conclude our Chapter with a barbecue hosted at McAuley Convent in presence of our elderly and sick sisters..

We invite our Mercy friends and others around the world to join with us these days in prayer and support.  We are grateful for the energy and effort of so many with whom we share “Mercy”.

Messages to: Elizabeth Marrie rsm