The members of the EILC continue to delight in the beauty of God’s handiwork as reflected in Sag Harbor’s natural beauty. They seek the inspiration, wisdom, and guidance of the Spirit through prayer, dialogue, and reflection on the realities and calls of the Institute, the Church, and our world today.
We were privileged to have Bishop Walsh remain with us to celebrate Eucharist on Thursday morning. The Brazilian Area planned and led our liturgy, with the participation of Sisters from the EILC. Sr. Cristina Caetano presented the members of the EILC with a remembrance of Fr. Gailhac created by the students at the College in Brasilia.
Sr. Paré Moreira and David Nicholls, a consultant from Nicholls Associates, presented the second half of the Institute Leadership Team’s report. This part of their report focused on our RSHM human and financial resources. It included projections for the next 15 years, from 2022-2036.
The report from the ILT, which was comprehensive and transparent, presented a clear view of our corporate reality. In processing the information received, the members of the EILC acknowledged that challenges lie ahead. Also, the members of the EILC recognized that we are truly blessed. Our sisters are passionate about our RSHM life and mission. We have been graced with collaborators who embrace our charism and live our mission. We have the resources to share generously with those most in need of justice. Paré shared with the EILC that we have responded to global emergencies and ongoing crises, and provided financial support to agencies that address our commitment to justice.
Clearly heard in the reflection and conversation that followed the report from the Institute Leadership Team was the invitation to continue to deepen and strengthen relationships with one another, to seize and expand opportunities for collaboration, to risk the unknown, and to seek alternative ways to share resources among ourselves and others.
Sr. Brid Long kept the EILC focused, and posed challenging questions for their consideration and small group conversations. Before concluding the day, Brid asked the EILC to reflect on a word they would hold in their heart.
On behalf of the EILC, Sr. Kathleen Kelemen thanked the Institute for their report. In thanking them she noted that “you have brought us a little further on that long steep, winding road.”
To nudge us a little further on the steep and winding road and to enhance dialogue and communal discernment, the EILC viewed a video reflection from Sr. Anne Munley, IHM, on the learnings gleaned from regional conversations among leaders of Women’s Religious Congregations in the USA.
Acknowledging that the changes women religious are experiencing are part of the “evolutionary process of religious life,” these conversations were an invitation to discern the emerging future of religious life together. Sr. Anne named three shifts in religious life today that surface and were identified through the process:
A Shift in Identity and Understanding of Charism
A Shift Toward Re-Imagining Leadership
A Shift Toward Embracing the Potential for All to Live the Life Fully
In light of our Institute’s unique reality, and from an intercultural and intergenerational perspective, the members of the EILC engaged in thoughtful conversations around the implications of these shifts for our Institute. What struck Council members were the:
- emphasis on identity
- notion of transformational leadership
- prophetic role of women religious in the Church today
- necessity of lifelong formation and formation of the heart
- de-Westernization of religious life
- practical concerns raised
- growth and expansion of religious life as situated in historical experience.
Thank you to Sr. Joanne Safian who has provided technical support and assistance, making it possible for the EILC to view this video and manage the visuals used in reporting.