These days were spent listening to and reflecting on the input received from the chairs of different Institute Committees and Networks. They provided insight into the richness of our shared works and the ways we are journeying together. Below is a very brief summary of the reports, in response to our 2019 General Chapter Priorities.
Reports from the Heritage & Spirituality Group and Formation Commission
Sisters Marie France Correau and Isabel Grangeon joined the EILC via zoom. Marie France addressed the work of the Heritage and Spirituality Group and Isabel the work of the Institute Formation Commission. Marie France spoke of the very positive response the Heritage and Spirituality Group received for the series they prepared on Women in Leadership. She shared that the response from the monthly letters to Fr. Gailhac has not received the kind of engagement desired for a number of reasons. Recognizing the complexity of their endeavors, the Group has appreciated the collaboration and support of others. The Heritage and Spirituality Group was also closely involved in the work of the transition of the Mother House and in planning the Year of Jean Gailhac.
Isabel spoke of the work of the Institute Formation Commission. She too acknowledged, with appreciation, collaboration with others in supporting the work of the IFC. This collaboration is reflected in specific initiatives, with inter-congregational groups, among Institute committees and with laity. Isabel gave an overview of the approach and programs addressed, from initial to life-long formation. Both Marie France and Isabel suggested that we consider ways to share our Institute Sources among ourselves
Report from the Novitiate
Sr. Rosemary Mwagarezano, Novitiate directress, introduced the new novices to the EILC. She gave the members an overview of the programs for both 1st and 2nd-year novices. Rosemary shared with the EILC, the circumstances that prompted moving the Novitiate from Brazil to Zambia and all that was entailed in making the decision. Rosemary expressed her gratitude to Sr. Cristina Caetano and the ILT for their accompaniment during the discernment in making this decision and their support and assistance in making a move.
Report from the RSHM Global Network of Schools
Susan Kumnick spoke with great enthusiasm about the Global Network of RSHM Schools. She expressed her gratitude to Sisters Rosamond Blanchet, Margaret Fielding and Mary Jo Martin for their leadership and support of the Network. Sue spoke of the Network’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and the Synodal ideals, especially walking together. Sue gave an overview of the structure and composition of the Global Network, and shared their goals for the coming year, and their hopes for the future. Evident in all of Sue’s sharing was the vibrancy of the RSHM charism and commitment to our RSHM mission. The next Conference of the Global Network of RSHM Schools will be held in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Report from JPIC
Sister Virginia Dorgan, Institute JPIC Coordinator, shared with the members of the EILC a little of her experience of attending the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. In presenting the JPIC Network Plan for 2022-23, Virginia emphasized the focus would be on meeting the goals of Laudato Si’ as we approach the 3rd year of a seven-year commitment. Submitting entries into the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, continuing to develop an ecological spirituality, being attentive to and involved in anti-human trafficking initiatives and incorporating justice issues as we celebrate the Year of Jean Gailhac and the WAA’s centenary year are included in the Institute JPIC plan.
Report from the Constitutions Committee
We were pleased to have the members of the Constitutions committee with us. On their behalf, Sr. Catherine Patten updated the EILC on their work. The committee members are (from left): Cristina Caetano, (B), (via zoom), Coltrida Mooya (Z), Maria Teresa Nogueira (P), and Catherine Patten, (EAA)Chair.
Report from the RSHM NGO
Collaboration and advocacy were the central themes in Sr. Veronica Brand’s NGO report to the EILC. Noting that the “United Nations is a privileged place to listen to the heartbeat of Jesus in the world,” and do our work for justice, Veronica reflected on the different dimensions of collaboration that lead to our actions and advocacy for a more just and humane world. We collaborate with other NGOs in some of the following ways: engagement with Interfaith NGOs, participation in UN committees (Climate, Migrants, Mining, Human Trafficking), consultation and reporting on issues, and sharing information. Our membership in the Justice Coalition of Religious, work with the Pan Amazonian Ecclesial Network, Committee on the Status of Women, and COP 26 are concrete examples of our commitment to collaboration and advocacy. Veronica will be involved in conversations related to the Triple Planetary Crisis and will attend the UN Biodiversity (COP 15) conference in December.
Sr. Sipiwe Phiri reminded the EILC of our obligation to adhere to our Safeguarding policy in relation to our commitment to the dignity of the human person and juridical practice. She noted changes that have been made in Canon Law which will require updating our RSHM Safeguarding policy. Working with Sipiwe on the Safeguarding Committee are Sr. Manuela Queirós and Ms. Monica Terra.
Report from the Institute Communications Committee
Representing the Institute Communications Committee, Sr. Mary Genino briefly reviewed and evaluated the 3-year plan developed by the ICC. She also shared the experience and learnings of the committee who have come to know one another and found a way to work together through zoom. The most significant learning is the need to establish a Communications office, name a full-time Communications Director for the Institute, and develop a strategic plan. Branding and messaging will take on new importance as we move toward becoming one unit of governance. We want to be the ones who tell our story and craft our message. The ICC is fortunate to have professionals on the Committee and among the Area Liaisons. We count on their expertise and the collaboration of so many others in meeting the demands of social media and communication for today’s world.
The reports gave a broad overview of our journey since the 2019 General Chapter. They highlight accomplishments and the steps that we have taken on our journey thus far. They were not without challenges though. After receiving the reports by the Chairs of Institute Committees, the members of the EILC took time to reflect on what they heard and to engage in dialogue and discernment.