News from the Extraordinary General Chapter

« Go with all your strength, Am I not sending you »
This sentence has been inspiring us our work so that our meeting is a dialogue of life. 
 
We now are at a new stage of our journey as a Congregation. We are ready to listen to the voice of the Lord with the ears of our heart and to “vote new constitutions for Animation and Government in order to be faithful to the mission that was offered to us for the Church and today’s world” (Sr. Marie-Françoise’s opening address).
 
Our meeting began with the celebration of the Eucharist, during which each Chapter member was called and she presented her letter of convocation.
We were reminded by the reading from Sirach, we “lend an ear to receive Wisdom and to walk in her footsteps”.
 
On the second day of the Chapter we were invited to walk “step by step” with our God. Father Michel Lachenaud OP, who has lived in Africa for 35 years and told us of his experience of walking through vast African plains, always walking in a group, at the same pace, finding the paths of the ones who once succeeded in crossing those plains, and at the same time admiring the landscape. He told us that on the journey we suffer, and we learn to move on despite the heat, despite the weight that hinders our progress, we must allow ourselves to meet and greet each other and to share news.
 
The joy of apostolic life reminds us that “there cannot be evangelization without friendship, without ’Visitation”.
Christian life is a journey during which we meet the other. “The other carries a truth that I need”, which when expressed can build a community. It takes time to change, to progress, to go ahead, to walk together towards peace and forgiveness. : “I need the other because I’m limited. The other is the part of me which I need”. 
 
The one who sets out on a journey must know that it will be demanding and that it invites us to live the experience of poverty and deprivation. All Christian reality is built on faith and on our human fragilities.
The traveller must never despair in spite of trials and difficulties. Christian life is a path where we find strength in being together on the same adventure. We are invited to live our exodus path, to love our real world, not the one we dream of, because evangelization invites us to marvel at our brothers and sisters, and at the world. The people who were walking towards the promised land, used to stop at each step along the way so that they might be able to go forward. 
 
Making new ways leads us to walk on paths where others have already been walking.
 
Walking requires a continuous conversion.
 
As we write this, the work of editing and approving the text of Doc.C is still in progress. 
The work is slow, but we are taking it step by step. We are like a group of people travelling through the bush. Sometimes we have to stop and wait until everyone is ready to move on. Sometimes we have to retrace our steps, and at times we have to let go of what is not so essential. Often-times we call on the expertise of Eliane de Montebello for guidance. All of this is in order that the final document - our revised Rule of Life, will reflect the missionary intention of the Congregation. Our desire is to put in place, structures which will take into account our changing demography and which will be in the spirit of participation, creativity, the growth of persons and in solidarity with all the cultures of our international apostolic body.
 
As at the last General Chapter in 2011, we work in small groups called "communities of life". It is there that everyone can have an opportunity to speak and where we can clarify our thoughts. We also get opportu-nities to speak and debate issues in the large assembly, where we are facilitated by Sr.Victoria G.Castijon RSCJ, (known to us as Toya), who was with us in 2011.
Each day begins as we gather around the tombs of our Founders for prayer. We conclude each day with the celebration of the Eucharist. 
 
We count on the prayers of all of you and look forward to sharing this historic moment in the life of the Congregation with you in the next few months. 
 
The communication team