A bright, chilly December morning dawned early on December 7th, as the community gathered for Congregation Vow/Commitment Renewal Day. The day included prayer and process that would take the Congregation through an evaluation of three sections in the Constitution/Directory: Membership, Life in Community, and Vowed Life.
Sister Donna Dodge opened the meeting, saying, “I hope that you find this morning’s session inspirational, challenging, and refreshing. Before we begin our formal prayer, let us continue our custom of remembering those wonderful women who have gone to God since our last Congregation meeting on October 12th: Sister Edith Belmonte, Sister Ann Rose Connell, Sister Helen Fleming, and Sister Joan Anderson.”
An introduction of committee members was followed by the question, “Do these sections both reflect our lived experience as it has evolved over the past thirty-five years (since the 1984 revised Constitution), and do they inspire us to keep growing toward a deeper ideal?”
Beginning with Membership, the Congregation listened to the words of Saint Louise de Marillac, which was followed by the singing “The Summons.” The proposed changes were followed by prayer, reflection, and dialogue.
The same process continued with Life in Community and then Vowed Life. For Life in Community, the words of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton were shared before reflecting on proposed changes. Inspirational words from Sister Barbara Fiand, SNDdeN, preceded discussions surrounding Vowed Life.
After considering the presentation by constitution committee members, the Congregation reflected on the questions, “What is your current experience of living your vows/commitments? How would you express your vows/ commitments in your own words?” Table discussion and individual written responses concluded that part of the day.
The proposed changes will be further examined and voted on when the Congregation gathers again in January 2020.
Following the meeting, Father Joseph Tierney, President of Cardinal Hayes High School, presided at the Celebration of Eucharist, which included the Sisters’ Renewal of Vows as well as the Associates’ and Companions’ Renewal of Commitment.
Sister Claire E. Regan offered a reflection in which she said:
Jesus claims this message as his own when He names himself “I AM THE WAY.” Let us faithfully follow our Teacher. Let us be empowered by the INTIMACY of our vows. May our lives as consecrated religious in the Church serve as a prophetic beacon brighter than the light of seven suns. May we walk the WAY COMMISSIONED by Jesus, who IS THE WAY. May we live Charity Rising as we follow Jesus as He is revealed in the events of our daily and congregate lives. May our charism of Charity, light the way to our OMEGA POINT, the CHRIST in the FULLNESS OF HIS GLORY. May we wait in joyful hope as we do so.
For the first time as president, Sister Donna invited Sisters to respond to the renewal of vows, and Associates and Companions to the renewal of commitments. Father Tierney expressed his own gratitude at being asked to preside and exclaimed, “What have you done with the chapel? It is indeed beautiful!”
Dazzling noontime sunshine lit up the chapel, and indeed, everyone felt they were once again home!
A delicious celebratory luncheon awaited all to complete a happy, joyful day!