Sisters gather in Rome


The Sisters always enjoy meeting those who come from other parts of the world, so there is always much laughter and excitement as the gatherings commence. The atmosphere for the meeting was very conducive to a style of work which contributed greatly to keeping a focus on the heart and mind of the whole Institute in preparation for the General Chapter. Each day started with Morning Prayer which centered on the liturgical readings of the day and their connection with the banner on display at the front of the meeting room. This banner, in the form of a circle on a dark background, was re-purposed from the shawl which was used in rituals at the last General Chapter. The meetings ended each day with the celebration of the Eucharist in the main chapel. There were many activities of sharing used in order to come to consensus. Our working dynamic reflected the cosmic principles of communion, diversity and interiority. These enabled the group to consider the various symbols of the hopes and dreams for the General Chapter brought by each participant. Most of these centered on growth, cycles of life, freedom from hindrances, our reality, collaboration and a faith grounding in Christ and Franciscan values. After much sharing and discernment on the implications of both the act of pruning and the meaning of fruitfulness, a consensus was reached on a theme for the Chapter – “I am the vine … pruning for fruitfulness”. Discussion on recommendations for distribution of delegates as well as guidelines for these elections based on the reality of the Institute were prepared and a rough proposal given to the General Leadership Team for refinement. A process of preparation for the General Chapter was also drawn up. The 2016 General Chapter will be held in Belfast.