Manila, December 7, 2018
Dear Sisters and Family of the Sacred Heart,
Greetings from Manila where the International JPIC Coordinating Committee met after the International JPIC Meeting held in Tagaytay. We thank you again for your participation in the JPIC Reflection Process in preparation for the meeting and for accompanying the participants with your interest, messages and prayers. A sincere thank you to the members of the Philippine District for their sisterly care and generosity as they hosted, supported, and accompanied the participants throughout the meeting.
General Chapter 2016 recommended that the Society hold a JPIC International meeting. As Daphne Sequeira rscj, our JPIC Link to the Central Team, noted in her closing remarks, “The JPIC journey is not new to the Society of Sacred Heart. It is at the very core of our spirituality and charism. JPIC is at the heart of our Constitutions and every General Chapter underlined it one way or another. Perhaps we name it differently, in different occasions and at different places.” [Click here to read Daphne's closing message.]
The International JPIC meeting in Tagaytay was one event along our JPIC journey as RSCJ and Family of the Sacred Heart. It flowed from and continued that which began with the JPIC Reflection Process in the Provinces. Some of the important elements of meeting included:
- A retreat that invited participants to enter, like Elijah, the silence of the “cave” within our experiences, our local realities, and ourselves. With the help of the parable of the Good Samaritan, we touched our personal and local vulnerabilities, before situating ourselves as a group in the vulnerabilities of the world.
- Input from two keynote speakers via video conference: Ambassador Thomas Gass, (Assistant Director General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) and Mr. Juan Luis Hernandez Avendaño, (Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), deepened our awareness of the global realities of JPIC, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, faith, and a theology of hope. These conferences can be accessed at:
- Input at different moments from the International Services (JPIC, UN-NGO, Treasurer General) and Commissions (Volunteers, Vocations, Ongoing Formation, Education).
- Interactive story-telling of the JPIC history of the Society in the context of the world, as we filled in the events by listening to the lived experience of the participants.
- Elaboration of some emerging JPIC themes in the Society that we identified together. These included the necessity to:
grow in a common vision that allows us to understand the complexity of political, economic, and social systems that confront us and in which we may be complicit
participate in the care of “our common home”
be in solidarity with the displaced and excluded
defend the victims of abuse of power
commit ourselves to the search for systemic changes, both in the local and global levels
link our educative efforts on the ground with the work of the UN-NGO
strengthen the collaboration with other groups that are committed to justice, peace, and integrity of creation
enliven the collaboration among ourselves and with the whole family of the Sacred Heart
undergo a critical self-reflection of our exercise of power, leadership and authority within the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Further important elements of the meeting included:
- Identification of objectives and lines of action as concrete means for addressing the themes above in our local realities
- Meeting in regions to discuss collaboration beyond Provincial actions
- Drafting by a synthesis group of a new articulation of JPIC as a statement of commitment of the whole congregation.
Our days were framed by morning and evening prayer thoughtfully prepared by the Liturgy Group, and were interspersed with much joy as we also celebrated several significant events – the Bicentennial year of St. Philippine Duchesne, the birthday of the Society, the birthdays of some sisters, and the USA Thanksgiving. Many evenings we gathered to hear stories from our sisters about the realities in various Provinces, especially in vulnerable areas of the world and the Church.
The Provinces and participants have done their work up to this point in the process and for this we are deeply grateful to each one. We now look to the future drawing from what we felt during the different moments of our meeting: an unwavering hope for our world and trust in the Spirit that guides us.
The participants at the meeting in Tagaytay supported the draft statement articulating the calls to JPIC. It will form part of our next communication to you. In the meantime, the participants from the different Provinces will find creative ways to share what they have experienced, lived, and committed themselves to in this deep event together in Tagaytay.
The International JPIC Coordinating Committee is preparing a proposal for the Central Team regarding the future JPIC structure in the Society. It will include some concrete recommendations from our experience as a Coordinating Committee and suggestions from the meeting about possible structures for a regional basis for JPIC.
We do hope that our reflections will help us all in our commitment to vibrant action in JPIC.
With gratitude, joy and hope from the International JPIC Coordination Committee,
Anne Corry, Rosario Sánchez, Joy Luz, Miren Lumbreras, Sheila Smith, Solome Najjuka