The General Chapter of the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph opened on June 11th in Little Hulton with a reflective prayer service during which each sister expressed her hope and prayer for the chapter.
Sr Joan Kerley fmsj reports:
“This was put in a small box on the focal point and will remain there as a symbol of our desire to be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to remember all the sisters of the Congrega
The next day Fr. John McCluskey mhm led us in a reflection of Pope Francis’ challenges in Evangelii Gaudium and our ideals written in our charism.
Sr. Joan O’Gorman led us in a beautiful Memorial Service. We reflected on the lives of our deceased Sisters, Associates and some former members and the gifts they had been to us both personally and as a Congregation. Blessed be God, how wonderful are His ways!
Two major reports were given as we began the business of the chapter in earnest on June 13th .Congregational leader Sister Maureen Murphy gave the Congregation Leader’s report and Sister Anne Moore gave the Congregational Bursar’s report.
In her comprehensive report Sister Maureen expressed thanks to the sisters for all their support and a
lso praised them for all the various ministries they do. There were several areas of concern that had also been raised in the Prechapter discussions that will continue to be explored as the Chapter continues.
Retired Bishop of Salford, Terence Brain, celebrated the liturgy and reflected on the charism of St. Francis and on the challenges offered by Pope Francis. We were all particularly struck by his stress on the importance and value of every human person simply because they are human beings. He challenged us to continue to reflect on our commitment to serving all human beings with dignity as we deliberate in the chapter.
The afternoon began with a fruitful time of discussion on the morning reports and a sharing in the larger group.
l Kelly did a comprehensive report on justice and peace and integrity of creation. She gave a very detailed account of the horrors of human trafficking and the consequences on the lives of the people involved.
She ended, however, with the question: are there other areas that we should be equally passionate about as a Congregation? Once again there was time for table discussion.
The liturgies were carefully and beautifully led by the Kenyan sisters.
On June 14th we heard reports from the Af
rica, Ecuador and Irish Regions as well as from our junior sisters, represented so well by Sister Christabel. We were all impressed
with the huge number of ministries done by such a small number of FMSJs over such a wide area of our world.
Certainly, there are concerns to be addressed as the chapter continues, e.g. sustainability, how to structure ourselves most effectively for the future.
But today was a day of celebrating the wonderful work that is being done. Sister Noel also shared about her work with a multi-faith Environmental group in Rochdale. This great work is also a testimony to the collaborative efforts between the Muslim and Christian communities there. Sr. Noel has won two awards recently, both well deserved.
Fr. Jan Klaver mhm celebrated the Liturgy for us and spoke about mission in our changing world. The morning and evening prayer serv
ices, prepared by the UK sisters reminded that we are on a journey, planting seeds that will grow.