December 11, 2016 -- the Third Sunday of Advent,
Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy --
was a special occasion for the Society of the Sacred Heart.
On this day, Kathleen Conan and her Council
passed on the service of leadership to
Barbara Dawson and her Council.
A number of Religious of the Sacred Heart, some members of the Sacred Heart Family, friends and guests came together for the Eucharistic Liturgy, presided by Douglas Marcouiller SJ, at the Villa Lante in Rome.
The ritual of the Change of the General Council, which took place before the Offertory, expresses the spirit of this moment:
Kathleen Conan brought from the altar of Madeleine Sophie the candle that has been lit at the moment of the election of the superior general since Madeleine Sophie’s death. She lit it and passed it on to Barbara Dawson, just as she passes on to her the responsibility for the leadership of the Society for the next eight years.
Barbara lit a candle from Sophie’s candle and shared it with her Council, as they take up their service together.
To Isabelle Lagneau, Catherine Lloyd gave the Bible -- a reminder to all of us that the spirituality and mission of the Congregation is rooted in the word of God.
To Daphne Sequeira, Hiroko Okui gave the Constitutions of the Congregation -- expressing symbolically that the role of the General Council is to foster the communion and unity of Society of the Sacred Heart.
To Marie-Jeanne Elonga, Kim Sook Hee gave the documents of the 2016 General Chapter, the fruit of our discernment of the emerging future -- signifying that the implementation of the Chapter is entrusted to the Council.
To Mónica Esquivel, María del Socorro Rubio gave a globe -- reminding us that the spirituality of the Society, rooted in the Heart of Christ, impels us to be contemplatives in action for the service of the world.
Before the Final Blessing, the new General Council blessed and sent off Kathy, Sook Hee, Soco, Cath, and Hiroko to their respective provinces and ministries.
With grateful hearts, we thank Hiroko, Soco, Sook Hee, Cath, and Kathy;
and with hope and trust, we welcome Barbara, Daphne, Isabelle, Marie-Jeanne, and Mónica!