Sisters from all over the world who are engaged in welcoming and forming new members of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary gathered in Rome from July 5th to 26th to renew our own understanding and commitment to this vital service within the congregation. Sister Georgeanne Donovan, our congregational leader, and the members of her Council had prepared the meeting, and all four Regional Leaders were also active participants.
Topics included “Membership and Non-negotiables in Religious Life”, “Criteria and Evaluations”, “Culture and Mission”, “Accompaniment of the New Member”, “Ongoing Formation for Sisters in Temporary Vows”.
Despite the terrible heat of this July in Rome, and the lack of air conditioning, this was a very lively gathering. Listening to those with experience, small group sharing, learning from others, working together, role playing, case studies – many different teaching and learning techniques helped to make this a memorable experience.
Praying with the Gospel of each day, liturgical celebrations, and time for personal integration helped each one to center herself on the call from God that was at the origin of her vocation – a gift that continues to be given in the world of today. Our challenge is to recognize and foster that gift in new members who come from and are sent on mission in the rapidly changing world of today. May the Spirit who energized this gathering continue to be with us as we “set out again.”