Joigny 2017: New Provincials..... Nouvelles Provinciales..... Nuevas Provinciales.....

Regular updates from the New Provincials Meeting in Joigny
will initially be posted in the original language in which they are written.
Translation will follow soon.
Les mises à jour régulières de la Réunion des Nouvelles Provinciales à Joigny
seront affichées provisoirement dans la langue dans laquelle elles sont écrites.
La traduction suivra bientôt.
Las actualizaciones regulares del Encuentro de Nuevas Provinciales en Joigny
serán publicados inicialmente en el idioma original en que se escriben.
La traducción seguirá pronto.
Day 10  -  27 September
Bernadette Porter rscj
We began today with a beautiful prayer, arranged by Maruja from Colombia. In this we heard the Pope's words to the Colombian people, telling them to go out to the streets and marketplaces as Jesus did, to share God's love and healing with the people they meet. In this spirit we set forth for our final day together as this particular community at this moment, our Rebecca moment.

Bodo took us through the Central Team's current process of action in relation to the calls of Chapter 2016, leading to the Chapter of 2024. This was presented using the U theory schema, as can be seen in this photo.  It puts the informal visits, begun in this past year, in the context of the journey to the next Chapter. Discernment in the Provinces and the regions will help us to see what we need to let go of, how we arrive at deep common intentions and towards a sense of 'new horizons' in the light of the calls of Chapter 2016. We welcomed the Central Team's presentation in its integrative style, and we dialogued about many of the implications for us all. 

In our summing up of learnings, we all commented on how much we had learnt from each other these ten days. We have shared the challenges that each of us faces, the joys of hopeful renewal and the awareness of new life ready to unfold. We had been helped by Phil's input of aspects of Sophie's life, Lynn Levo's insights into ways of relating, the beautiful and varied prayer time each day, the well spaced programme that gave time for personal reflection. The arrangement of the programme has been appreciated and the openness of the Central Team gave us a freedom as communty.
We all found that the language barriers were not as great as we had imagined, and we so grateful to our three translators: Margaret, Toya, and Gabriela. Cuca has been with us throughout, keeping clear notes and making precise summaries, as well as capturing our journey in photos.
We have all been deeply aware of the helpful ambience at Joigny, the sense of walking with Sophie in the place she knew and loved so much, and of the unfailing hospitality of the local community: Pati, Rachel, Roselyn, Véronique, and Pauline.  For all this we are deeply grateful.
Day 9  -  26 September
Brigitte Combier rscj
We are beginning our final days at Provincial School. As we have done each morning the day has begun with prayer. This morning we were invited to pray with an object that we know well. Imagine ! Le téléphone, el telefono, the phone !!

We have entered into a new stage of our formation : how to organise ourselves for the future. This was a very good time of sharing and getting to know each other better. Two very interesting Power Points allowed us to find out more about :
  • The organisation of our General Secretariat with Anne Corry, Canonical Secretary, and Cuca Maset, Executive Secretary. We got to know  the faces of Stephane and Francesca, in photos : they are the  members of the Secretariat team who have been working with us from Rome during this fortnight.

  • The importance of the Archives, presented by Margaret Phelan, Archivist General. We got a pleasant surprise as we were able to have a virtual tour of her domain, getting to  know her team and being able to look at the Archives Museum.

In the afternoon, we had a very interesting conversation about communication among ourselves : how to renew our way of communicating between provinces, the challenges and opportunities of all the forms of new technology.

We  finished the day with Eucharist in the Church of St Thibault,  celebrated by Mgr Hervé Giraud, Archbishop of Sens- Auxerre with the participation of the  two priests responsible for Joigny Parish, and several parishioners ; this was  followed by a most enjoyable meal.
Day 8  -  25 September
Laura Moosbrugger rscj
After a wonderful Sunday in Paris, where we visited some places, listened to the stories of the early beginning of the Society, and joined the liturgy at the church of Francis Xavier, with the presence of Madeleine Sophie in her shrine, to meet the Community of Lowendal was another wonderful possibility to touch something of the reality of our Society in France. 
Today, we immersed ourselves again into the experience of listening to the lives of each other.
One of the objectives of this new provincials meeting 2017 is to dialogue on the ways we live leadership and discernment:
• As Provincial
• With the provincial team/council
• Within the Region we belong to (Africa, ASIANZ, Philippine Duchesne, and Europe)
• As one body
Questions and reflections helped to understand and get a broader vision about the richness in the Society, to learn from each other, and to sense what the General Chapter 2016 document says:
“The Society is as a body moved from its center by Love. Within this body, life flows, weaving different kinds of connections, bringing energy and flexibility to each part. What affects one of these parts affects the whole body. Likewise, this body belongs to a large ecosystem that is in transformation and it needs to live processes of change: opening its senses, firmly planting its bare feet on the earth, breathing in rhythm with the heartbeat of Life.”
Day 7  -  24 September
Lourdes Velazquez rscj
Our outing in Paris was an experience of walking “together in community,” a day-long re-reading of history and discovering the energy/dynamism within it.  It was a gift that left a lasting and positive impression on each one.

Celebrating life with the parish of Saint Francis Xavier this Sunday was an experience of feeling at home.  At the beginning of the celebration, the church community welcomed us by naming each country present and extending an invitation to pray for strength and courage that we might live out our mission.

Afterwards, we had a get-together around the table with the Lowendal community.  It was an opportunity to come to know and appreciate the apostolic works of our sisters.

In joy and with deep affection for our history, we walked the gardens of the Hotel Biron (now the Rodin museum).

We also had the opportunity to visit places of personal interest.

Lastly, we visited the church of Saint Medard which, in its day, was the parish church of the community from which Madeleine Sophie sent Philippine to new frontiers. 

Day 6  -  23 September
Marta Nuñez rscj
Today we continued working with Lynn Levo, reflecting on our leadership, pondering these questions: What does it mean to be a leader today? Who are we leading? These surfaced our mental models and made us aware of why we do what we do.   
We looked at behaviors that are not helpful in accompanying communities and the province. 
We talked about the importance of generating relationships of trust and acknowledged that communication is crucial.  This has to be direct, clear, concise, and assertive, so as to focus on the essential; and thus be able to take decisions.
Day 5  -  22 September
Sheila Hammond rscj
Lynn Levo CSJ, PhD., a psychologist from the United States, joined us today for a day of reflection on Global Reality and its impact on the healthy living of religious life, as a congregation and as individuals.
Among the ideas we discussed were:
  • Look at time in the vertical moment in which we live, paying attention to and being aware of the present moment.  Lyn contrasted this with the horizontal continuum, and suggested that we take a deep breath and connect with NOW.  (Breathing is a vertical action!)

  • Name the reality of today honestly. It is a time of disruption and rapid change. Several questions emerge -- What needs to die? What is coming to birth?

  • Practice the art of paying attention to the opportunities of the moment, and develop a sense for the future that is emerging.

  • On a personal level, consider: Who am I called to be? Who have I learned to be that I must let go of?

The day was a mixture of presentation, conversation, and skill building. No doubt tomorrow will be equally helpful and informative and “all will be well!”
Day 4  -  21 September
Lynette Toohey rscj
Today was a rich and varied day. We began with Bernadette Porter, General Treasurer, inviting us to look at “Community of Goods” as expressed in our Constitutions. I was reassured that it is Jesus himself who “teaches us to be detached” (Const 54) as it is from this place of freedom that we can choose  to live “Jesus’ attitude of voluntary deprivation” (Const 57). We shared the realities and contexts of poverty in our countries. This was linked to the Congregation Study of where financial resources are, and in the spirit of being One Body establishing a “Sustainability Fund” to allocate finances where they need to be. 

Later in the day, we were joined by Skype by Sheila Smith in New York, who shared her work at the United Nations. Sheila spoke of our consultative status to the Economic and Social Council, and highlighted that the objectives of the Society and the UN parallel one another. We engaged in lively dialogue.

Anne Corry, the International Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation explained the JPIC logo and spoke of the call from the 2016 General Chapter for a Society gathering on this topic. An international meeting on JPIC will be held in the Philippines in November 2018. I was struck by Anne’s comment that “JPIC is not the Society, but a vital expression of the Society’s charism and mission....It is a question of how and why. A significant ‘why’ is JPIC and the ‘how’ is community of goods.” Anne also spoke of the significant work of establishing the database for Society JPIC work throughout the world.

Each provincial shared the reality of her context and how JPIC is lived. This was deeply moving, and the  overall impression I have been left with is how JPIC, UN involvement, and Community of Goods can all come together as means of discovering and making known the heart of our God in the heart of our world.

We were blessed to conclude our day with Mass celebrated by Fr Antoine Paumard SJ, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service in France who had travelled from Paris to be with us.
Day 3  -  20 September
Maruja Hernandez rscj
A day of contrasts…..  We were united in the suffering of our Sisters and the people of Mexico, who are shaken by the earthquake, and of the Antilles, who are battered by the force of Hurricane “Maria.”  To them go our solidarity and prayer.
We have moved forward in our reflection about the “End and Mission” of our leadership as provincials, addressing three issues:
  • Following our Constitutions, we delved into the challenges, concerns, and hopes that accompany our service.

  • With the help of visual presentations that we had prepared beforehand, we shared our experiences in relation to our work with our leadership team, province, region, and the Society.

  • Finally, desiring to learn together how to work as a team and to take decisions, we engaged in a reflection about discernment.



A day of much creativity, depth, and sisterhood, that offered us
valuable insights for our journey in our respective provinces.
Day 2   -  19 September
Fernanda Vacas rscj
Today we continued with Phil who offered us a day of ANIMATION, COORDINATION, and LEADERSHIP inspired by the "tender and strong" personality of Sophie.  
With her, we learned from Jacques Barat the wise and attentive rhythm of nature: -          
- the time of sowing
- the time of waiting
- the time to harvest
- the time to discern together the moment of pruning
Then from Adele Cahier, we understood the value of history, of each one’s history. Thank you, Adele and so many sisters in the Society, for your dedication to the archives, for caring for our Life.
We looked into different moments, attitudes, and strategies of leadership in the early years of the Society:  What does Sophie say to us from her experience? What do we say to her from ours?
Day 1   -  18 September
Anne Corry rscj
Joigny – where it all started! There was a strong sense that we were standing on holy ground when the new provincials’ gathering opened yesterday evening. Claire Castaing, Provincial of BFN, welcomed everyone to this place. Barbara Dawson noted in her opening remarks, "The life of our provinces and the collective view of the Society is a focus for these days together." As hopes and fears were expressed during the opening prayer, the joy of coming together for this workshop was very tangible.

Today, Phil Kilroy talked of Sophie Barat’s leadership, especially in the part of her life from 1850. By this stage, Phil said, Sophie had an assurance that came from hard experience after her long years as Superior General. Sophie uses common sense, humour and a deep conviction about the Society’s mission to make known the love of God in the pierced Heart of Calvary.

*** Photos by Cuca Maset