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Visitation Province Assembly - Monday evening - July 6, 2015

The Province Assembly communication team

The Assembly opened Monday night with Ann Broderick’s welcome to all of us: 9 associates and 80 sisters. She also noted the presence in spirit and prayer of all of you at home, sisters and associates.  She underlined the purpose of the Assembly as the deepening of our Province Direction Statement.

Becky McKenna introduced Nancy Sylvester, IHM, our facilitator, a woman with a deep commitment to facilitate dialogue, a contemplative way of speaking and listening to one another, a way that makes a difference in how we are with one another, in a way that makes a difference in our world.

Nancy Sylvester invited us into a reflection process on our Direction Statement. We pondered the question:

  • What excites you as you live out your chapter direction?
  • What challenges you?
  • What concerns you?

We wrote our responses and shared them in dyads at the table and then posted them on the wall around the hall.

The evening closed with a social, a time to welcome one another.

July 7/15

Our day opened with the song: “How Then Shall We Live?” accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation on some key events in our world. The parable of the wheat and the weeds helped us reflect on the question:  How do I feel about entering a world of peril or promise?  We shared our responses in dyads.

Nancy Sylvester noted that the purpose of this day was to set the larger context for this time of chaos in which we live.  Our present reality calls for a shift in consciousness.  This emerging consciousness is already reflected in our Direction Statement.  Pope Francis invites us to this shift in consciousness, into contemplation as a way of listening and acting differently, from our heart space.

“If Not Now … Then When?” was the theme for Nancy’s presentation setting the context for our times.  In broad historical strokes, she outlined why we are where we are and where we have come from.  Some points:

  • We live in a time of chaos, where we either move toward breakdown or breakthrough.
  • It is a time requiring a new consciousness, a new world view.
  • The spiral is an image of this consciousness that both includes as well as transcends the past.
  • This consciousness is communal, global, ecological and cosmic.
  • This consciousness is very old – it was embodied in Jesus, in his awareness and intimacy with Abba.

How can we see with Jesus’ eyes?  How can we love with Jesus’ heart? 

We are called to become mystics.  Contemplation is a way of developing this way of seeing, listening, hearing, speaking, acting….

We were then led into 20-minutes of contemplation together.  Responses from the group indicated how rich and empowering t his experience was for us.

What would it mean to live out of this contemplative stance?  What would it mean for us to listen with a contemplative heart?  How can we allow our hearts to be soft, spacious and welcoming of others?  Of those who ‘drive us crazy’?  Can we be curious about someone who offers a different perspective? Listening with a contemplative heart requires certain dispositions, attitudes and behaviours of openness, of hospitality….

Nancy then invited us into a creative exercise with 2 questions:

  • What feels right about NOT speaking and listening with a contemplative heart?
  • What feels right about speaking and listening with a contemplative heart?

In dyads, we asked one another each of these two questions three times!  The group shared powerful and moving experiences of deepening awareness.

Governance Committee Presentation

Members of this committee reviewed the genesis of their mandate and the process they have engaged in with us and where we are at this point.  They left us with questions for overnight reflection:

  • What is your understanding of organic governance suitable to our needs at this time?
  • What excites you?
  • What are the challenges?
  • What are your concerns as we move forward?

This very enriching day closed with a Market Place Hall of displays, all very informative, creative and delightful.

Please know that your presence with us is real and felt especially as we too pray our Assembly Prayer.

A lovely bouquet of marguerites adorns our gathering place, a gift from Winnie Odo.  Thank you, Winnie.


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