Skip to content

Visitation in a new key…

by Catherine Vincie, RSHMCategory: Updates

As many of you know, the RSHM are an International Institute that at the present time has seven “Areas” (formerly Provinces/Regions). Each of these Areas (Brazil, Portugal, Eastern American, Western American, Mozambique, Northern European and Zambezi) has its own governance united under the Institute Leadership Team and Institute Leader, Sr. Margaret Fielding, RSHM. By 2025 we hope to have one unit of governance to take account of our changing demographics, sharing our resources of personnel and material possessions as we continue to carry out the mission of our Institute in a changing world. 

 L to R: Councilors Sipiwi Phiri, RSHM; Ana Luisa Pinto, RSHM; Maria Aparecida Moreira (Pare), RSHM; and Margaret Fielding, RSHM, Institute Leader 

It has been our tradition that the Institute Leadership Team, or members thereof, visit each one of the Areas to support the Area communities/ministries and to come to a better understanding of community circumstances in Church and society. The new Institute Team (as of the General Chapter of August 2019) planned to carry out this visitation, but then came COVID-19…. 

We found ourselves in solidarity with the whole world community as we tried to cope with the illness itself amongst some of our members, with the crisis in our healthcare systems, with the restrictions placed on travel, and with the various experiences of “lockdown.” Our Generalate visitation of necessity had to take on another shape. We, like so many others, became proficient with Zoom which allowed us to keep in touch with one another, with the people we serve and with the Institute Leadership Team. Rather than travel here to the United States, they arranged for Zoom visits with small groups of sisters throughout the Area. While at first it seemed to be a daunting task, in the end the entire Leadership Team got to know the local communities in a way we had not experienced before. 

In their report back to us at the end of the visitation, they reflected the impact we had experienced during this time of uncertainty, suffering and loss. Yet it was clear to them that we had also experienced these last two years as times of grace as well. We were at the giving and receiving end of offers of support, care, and meal-sharing in time of lockdown. In some cases, our ministries changed the nature of their service but continued to be God’s presence to those in need. The Leadership Team expressed their appreciation for the sisters’ deep faith in God, resilience, creativity and commitment to our mission. In spite of the limitations of the pandemic, we experienced ourselves within the web of the great human family, and

“together with our Collaborators, many congregations and other organizations, we continue to help to bring healing and wholeness to our human family and our planet.” 

Institute Leadership Team’s report, November 1, 2021

While we are all desperately hoping to “get back to normal,” we share with the rest of society the reality that we are in a “new normal.” We continue to struggle with the complexities and adaptability of this virus. New variants arrive on the scene and remind us of our fragility and the limits of our knowledge, care and concern for the global “other.” The gap between the rich and poor continues to be reflected in the ability to have access to vaccines, even while some of those who have access refuse the vaccines for a variety of reasons. 

We end by expressing our gratitude to all of you who reached out to us, and we hope you have experienced our support through our ministry of prayer and the outreach programs we are still able to provide. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *