Panel Discussion at Assembly of the Whole

We may not see this moment or place in time again, and if not now, tell me when?

After the opening prayer led by Sister Regina Bechtel, SC (New York), the morning session opened with “Vignettes of Unstoppable Charity,” a compilation of photos and videos contributed by communicators of the 14 Sisters of Charity Federation congregations. The compelling ministry photos and inspiring videos evoked laughter and tears, and gave a glimpse of the generosity and compassion extended by the 2,650 members of the Sisters of Charity Federation.

Sister Pat Kozak, CSJ, facilitator, recited the poem “Thirst” by Mary Oliver. She then challenged those assembled to search their hearts through quiet prayer and ask the question, “What are our own thirsts?” These thoughts were shared quietly with a tablemate.

Sister Pat called for members at each table to collectively to explore the question, “What did you discover about yourselves through the images of charity seen in the vignettes?” A resounding word surfaced at many tables: presence. Through the sisters’ presence, persons on the periphery find dignity, joy, respect, comfort, safety, learning, change, confidence, and ultimately peace.

Shared reflection on the vignettes helped us ask, “How are we going out to meet Christ today?” We are keeping our emerging ministries strong through collaboration. The faces of charity are not all alike, but we are building deep oneness through our interculturality.

Sister Judy Warmbold, DC, coordinator of the DePaul USA Chicago DAX Program, shared avideo about the reality of student homelessness at DePaul University in Chicago. She said “homelessness has no place.” The DAX Program mission is to end homelessness and change the lives of those affected by homelessness. Donations are being collected at the back of the room on Sunday morning.

Sister Teresa Kotturan, SCN, federation NGO Representative at the UN, and Debbie Weber, director of Peace, Justice and Care for Creation and NGO liaison for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, talked about the great work being done at the UN about ending homelessness. Homelessness is a global problem and a complex issue. Debbie concluded with the affirmation of the SC Federation which includes acknowledging the critical need of ending homelessness. Sister Pat Kozak , CSJ, asked for affirmation and an amen from the attendees.

The afternoon continued with panelists Sisters Romina Sapinoso, SC (Cincinnati); Hélène Allain, NDSC; Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN, and Joan Dawber, SC (Halifax) who responded to the question, “What is the next generation of unstoppable charity?” The responses included being better together, the joy of charity, embracing diversity, beautiful encountering and the amazing mystery God is speaking to and leading us to.

Through the use of technology, reflector Sister Sujita Kallupurakkathu gave a further reflection on what charity means. We finished the afternoon in table conversation attempting to envision the federation into the next generation.

The day concluded with a banquet dinner and a beautiful performance by Harmony, Hope & Healing.

Visit the Assembly of the Whole page on the federation web site for links to livestream recordings, videos, and photos from the assembly

Compiled by SC Federation Communicators