A Missioning Rite That Calls For Living in the Present To Create Space For The Future

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The provincial gathering of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary of Quebec was held on Friday, October 6, the feast day of their foundress, Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher. Approximately 100 people gathered in the chapel of Maison Jésus-Marie (MJM), while dozens of Sisters followed the proceedings on closed circuit TV, to launch a new year in mission.

From the outset, Sr. Denise Riel, provincial animator, highlighted the legacy of the Sisters who had preceded them: “Women who paved the way with creativity, audacity and were transformed by this passion for Jesus…” Recalling that this year 2023-2024 marks 180 years of existence for the SNJM Congregation, Sr. Denise made no secret of the great challenges facing all religious communities and the Church, called “to transform and renew ourselves”. 

She linked her message with this year’s theme by concluding with the words, “This year, under the breath of the Spirit, let us create space within ourselves to prepare for the future, let us create an openness of heart and mind in the present for the future.”

Envisioning the future by assuming the present

Focusing on “Creating Space For The Future”, Sr. Lorna Cooney shared her reflections entitled, “The Different Ways In Which We Envision The Future And How It Relates To The Present.”  In doing so, she dwelt on the nature and quality of presence and the need to be aware of the present. “… it’s all we have.” To drive this point home, she quoted Margaret Wheatley: “The future comes from where we are. It comes from the actions, values and beliefs we practice now. We create the future every day by what we choose to do. If we want a different future, we have to take responsibility for what we do in the present.”

She ended her sharing with a call to hope as many today feel their lives are less dynamic than in another era. “We must not be discouraged. There is a daily death and self-giving that makes us, in our own unique way, a living stone, animated by our charism, supporting the Church’s mission by giving it vitality and cementing it by the holiness of our lives, day after day.”

A discussion period followed. Those present gathered in threes to share the elements that had touched them most in these presentations and on the theme of the year. This was followed by an open discussion in which a number of Suns expressed their openness to transformation and concrete action in the near future.

A meaningful Rite of Missioning

Following the break, the three members of the Provincial Leadership Team took turns presenting more factual information regarding current projects. Sr. Denise Riel spoke about the future of MJM, while Sr. Claudette Bastien provided some details about the Justice Committee partners project, the joint renewal of commitment of the Anglophone and Francophone Associates, and the launch of the Eulalie-Rose Foundation and its website.

For her part, Sr. Lisette Boulé extended an invitation to visit the refurbished Marie-Rose chapel in the co-cathedral, and announced the dates of certain events for the coming year.

This moment of gathering was interspersed several times with the song “Que tes œuvres sont belles”. (Your works are so beautiful). The gathering ended with the celebration and missioning rite, with the presentation of a bookmark. All were invited for refreshments in the cafeteria.