This year, we will live our interdependence
by means of a spirituality of “presence to the other”..
We will witness to this spirituality
by striving to be understanding and compassionate.
On October 5, 2013, as follow-up to the 33rd General Chapter, each Sister and Associate was missioned to live this spirituality throughout the year, each committed to a particular way of doing so.
More than 100 people were present in the multipurpose room at Maison Jésus-Marie, and others joined by means of closed circuit television. For the first time, the Sisters in the Convents of Ste-Émélie and Marie-Rose-Durocher were able to connect to those gathered through the medium of webcasting.
Sister Beverley Wattling reminded us during her introductory remarks that in 2012-2013, we studied and prayed with the theme “Culture of Call”. Each one of us is called to a unique mission, the spirituality of “presence to the other” which nourishes or inspires our way of living. The theme chosen is especially pertinent for us in Quebec, who are called to reflect and act upon the Quebec Charter of Values.
In fact, we read the following guidelines in the Chapter Acts:
As individuals we are called to a spirituality of presence to the other. This requires a willingness to be “stranger”’, that is, to choose opportunities and experiences that stretch us beyond the familiar and the comfortable. We are urged to understand more about each other’s geographical contexts so that we might develop harmonious relationship with those from other cultures and religious traditions. This also entails efforts to learn another language, when possible.
What does it mean when we speak of presence? Three aspects emerged and were illustrated in a concrete way through the lived experience of three witnesses: living fully aware with Beverly Redmond, presence through small gestures in our daily lives with Hélène Avon and presence to the stranger with Phyllis Douillard.
In an atmosphere of prayer during which the Taizé hymn “Stay here and keep watch with me, watch and pray, watch and pray”, was repeated like a mantra the participants, sitting in small groups, reflected on how she/he would personally concretize the proposed theme.
Each one wrote their commitment on a paper-shaped drop of water and brought it in procession to a large picture of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well where it was then placed, forming a multicolored rainbow, reminding everyone of the unique ways of being present as individuals and as community.
Our time together ended with a blessing and missioning by the members of the Province Leadership Team. We then, with one hand on the shoulder of the person to our right, said this prayer:
“May the Triune God, perfect model of community, be especially present to our community this year as we engage in living a spirituality of presence to those we meet.”
And so with new energy, drawn from encountering each other and the Other, let us set out to resume the path of our daily lives. May Jesus, Mary and Marie-Rose accompany us!)
Monique Thériault, S.N.J.M.
Photos of the event
Click on the first picture to see the slide show