2014 GENERAL CHAPTER MEETING
New Congregation Leadership Team 2014
(From right )Sr. Jane Quinlan General Assistant from US province,
Sr. Nirmala Kujur General Assistant from Gumla province, Sr. Bimla Minj Congregation leader;
Sr. Bernadette Mwavitta General Assistant from DR Congo vice- province.
Congratulations to each of them
May God Bless each of you and give you much courage and wisdom.
Sr. Bimla Minj accepts tho responsibility of Congregation leader from outgoing leader Sr. Margaret O'Brien.
GRATITUDE TO SISTERS MARGARET, BERNADETTE, BIMLA
AND GEMMA ROSE
Our sincere thanks are extended to you for having successfully completed
six years as the General Leadership Team.
During this time, you have seen many changes that required important decisions for the Congregation. Your focus was always to develop unity amidst diversity.
In a consistent manner you have exemplified a faith filled approach to challenges
and brought us forward through the use of technology,
through visits to our places of ministry, and by offering opportunities for studies
in personal development, and in fields that help the vulnerable people in society.
By fostering leadership skills, and training in spiritual
direction for our Sisters, you have carefully prepared them for present
and future needs of the Congregation and the Church believing that
the mission is God’s.
You have celebrated in joy during the many milestones marked in our
You deserve a resounding round of applause for leading us forward
to face the challenges of our times and for being in the forefront of change.
As we, the new leadership team continues on the wonderful path
you have prepared,
we remain always grateful for the initiative you have shown leading up to the 2014
Chapter and for developing the theme
“Live Contemplative Spirituality for Mission Today.”
Thank you seems inadequate for all you have done.
We are truly grateful for your presence, love and support.
We count on your continued prayers and wish you God's blessing
in your future endeavors.
"Our mission is to make God known and loved
by responding to the needs of the local
church wherever we are.”(Art. 13)
Sister Jane Quinlan,osu
With deep gratitude we announce that
Sr. Leela Muthu has completed her term as General Secretary,
a task which she efficiently carried out.
Sr. Leela started this ministry in February 2007 and
completed her term of six years in 2012.
Toward the completion of her task, she was asked by the Congregation Leader
to extend her stay in the Generalate until the General Chapter 2014.
We are grateful to the Tezpur Province Leadership for their generosity
in enabling Sr. Leela to be free for the service of the Congregation.
We are grateful to the Tezpur Province Leadership for their generosity
to make Sr. Leela free for the service of the Congregation.
Sr. Leela, we are very grateful to you for your generous,
committed and devoted service to the Congregation as General Secretary.
We deeply appreciate your giftedness.
You have touched the lives of all those whom you have met,
especially the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk
through Congregational communications – E-News, Reflect
and the Congregational website.
Thank you for your generous availability and whole-hearted dedication
to the Generalate.
As you begin the next phase of your life’s journey,
Sr. Leela, we thank our God not only for all you are and have been for us;
but we thank God also for whatever future now lies open before you.
May you continue to remain open to whatever God wants for you and asks of you.
The return of Sr. Leela to India has necessitated for
a replacement in the ministry of our secretariat.
The members of the Extended Council have been asked for
a suitable person to fulfill the role of the General Secretary.
We are very grateful to the Leadership team of Gumla Province
for their generosity in allowing Sr. Jyoti Kiro to replace Sr. Leela.
Sr. Jyoti helped Sr. Leela prepare for the General Chapter for three weeks
preceding the meetings.
She also assisted Sr. Leela in Pune during the General Chapter.
She is now in Belgium learning the work under the direction of Sr. Leela.
It has been a big sacrifice for the Gumla Province
since there was another plan for Sr. Jyoti.
Sr. Jyoti, we are very grateful to you for your generosity
in accepting the call of God in serving the Congregation
as General Secretary in the Generalate.
You have accepted this ministry with faith, trusting in God who called you,
and having confidence in your gifts and skills
and talents which God has gratuitously graced you with.
As you assume this responsibility with the new Congregation Leadership Team,
we assure you of our prayer and support.
Thank you Sr. Leela! Welcome Sr. Jyoti!
Reflection by By Sister Helen Chasse,OSU
Reading – Jeremiah 29:10-14, Mark 1:35-39
In the reading from Jeremiah we hear: “for surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, “Plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
What a wonderful and encouraging message for us as we begin this General Chapter. God says we have a future-one that contains hope. God is watching out for our welfare – we are not to worry.
We need to keep returning to the Spirit, the One who reveals all things, and prayerfully request, “what is your plan?”
Thy will be done!
Our Mother, Angela, tells us that the voice of the Spirit can constantly be heard in our hearts if we but listen. If we are to be contemplative, we must listen to what is spoken in our own hearts and in the hearts of our sisters gathered here.
In Mark’s Gospel Jesus says, “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
Let us go on. Let us begin – that Jesus may proclaim His message here. There is something to be proclaimed here in Pune, India, neighbouring town to some, but new place to most of us.
Whatever is to happen here, it is Jesus’ message to proclaim. As with the disciples in today’s Gospel, He has graciously invited us to come along. We are not doing this alone. Jesus is with us, the other disciple –delegates are with us. This is a community of disciples, a community undertaking, with Jesus as the head.
What an awesome and exciting invitation! Perhaps it won’t always be easy.
Let me give the context of the first reading. These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to those in exile in Babylon. “Jeremiah 29.1”
As the letter begins, this is what God says: “Thus says the Lord… build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters… multiply there… seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. “Jer. 29:4-7
“Only when Babylon’s 70 years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise.”
All of these lines are surely a call to hope and a call to trust. But, when we are living through our exile moments we don’t always have felt a sense of God with us. Especially when we feel like we’re being “held captive” or oppressed by a situation (or person) we can lose sight of God.
The words exile and Jerusalem can be symbol of many things.
As we have been talking about contemplation, many sisters have described it as going deeper within – to that place inside of us where we encounter the God within and are at one with that indwelling presence. That is our ”house” our “Jerusalem” or holy place.
Exile can be anything that pulls us away from that place within. We talked yesterday about our worries, for example.
It is important to recognise that in this passage from Jeremiah God is not telling them to fight against the exiles. That is what the false prophets would have them do. God says befriend the exile. Bring it into the holy place within and let it be opportunity for communion, opportunity for growth.
This passage is also a reminder of why it is important to constantly listen to the voice of the Spirit for the given moment. There are times when God is inviting us to “do battle with” the “enemy” and other time when we are called to embrace/befriend.
God says, trust me. You may not always see what I am doing (many people hearing Jeremiah’s letter would not even be alive in 70 years). They were called to trust that God alone sees the larger picture for all. As we plan for the next six years we trust that God’s plan is going to happen in God’s time, not ours.
Can you believe and have hope for this Chapter?
Are you willing to trust that God does have a plan for the Ursuline Sisters of the Congregation of Tildonk?
We don’t have to know the plan, but we have to believe God has one --- and open ourselves to what that might be.
Meanwhile, we go about the business at hand and live our lives in the ‘now’ moment – we build and plant and pray for.
This passage is also a call into a relationship. It is a foretelling and promise of relationship, “you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I will be found by you.
Is this perhaps one way for us to understand what contemplative spirituality means? – to seek God with all our heart?
In everything we do, in everything that is happening to us, in whatever life situation we find ourselves, in whatever people we are surrounded by? We live in the present moment, we pray in the present moment-in hope, in love and in trust.
This is an invitation to each of us, as individuals and as a group. Every individual here is present as part of God’s long range plan. Each has a contribution to make. Trust God’s plan for you and for us. Call out to God in the things we are invited to think about, the choices we are called upon to make.
Remember the promise. Call out, seek. You will find me. I’ll listen.
How do we arrive, then, at the kind of hope and trust and whole heartedness this scripture passage calls us to?
How do we get to that kind of contemplative living?
Jesus models it for us in today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel.
We have all had busy days/weeks getting ready to come here. In the Gospel passage we heard this morning Jesus was about to begin a preaching tour in Galilee. He had very busy days leading up to that moment. He had been preaching, choosing his first disciples, casting out demons and healing the sick for every kind of disease. The evening before, at sundown, Mark says: the whole city was gathered around the door.
What an existing night!! On top of such busy days…… then here is the simple line that holds the answer to how Jesus managed it all.
In the morning while it was still very dark he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed (let me repeat that).
In the morning while it was still very dark he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
The secret to a contemplative spirituality lived for mission is taking personal time for prayer – quiet time, in solitude and communion: relational time.
Let me close on that thought and on this: in preparing this reflection I asked God if God had a letter for us too – for these Chapter days. I gave God the pen and this is what came;
My very dear and beloved sister,
Thank you so much for saying yes to this call. It is very important to me that you did, and I love you for it and promise to be with you throughout. This time will be good for you as well as for the Congregation. That is how I have planned it.
Yes, trust! Believe and have hope.
I am a part of your life – each of you, all of you. I do and will take care of you. For your part, seek me, listen to me, and pray to me. Stay connected-when you see the plan and when you don’t.
This will be an intense two and a half weeks. If you don’t stay connected and contemplative things can disintegrate.
Then you must come back to me and start again. I will always be present and waiting.
You cannot just study and plan about how to live a contemplative spirituality.
You have to BE contemplative in the very planning. Your thinking, your conversations, your interactions have to be contemplative.
Practice it. Learn how to live it from who YOU are.
One of my sages said this:
“God appeared to the Israelites as a mirror, and each face that looked saw itself reflected back to it.
Look in the mirror. Pay attention to how you reflect me and contact with me. You know, my little flower, Theresa of Lisieux, was contemplative in her way, and her big sister, my Teresa from Avila, was contemplative in a different way, your dear mother, my beloved Angela was contemplative in a way different from each of these and dear John Lambertz different yet again from her.
Learn your way. Live a contemplative spirituality your way.
Practice every day you are here, every day when you go home.
You must go to your own deserted place and learn from me. I am happy to teach you. Ask me. I want to show you how.
I have a plan for you. Amen.
By Sister Helen Chasse,OSU
Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphaned” (John 14:18). Faith is to trust that an intrinsic union exists between us and God.
Contemplation is to experience this union.