We continue to enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit among us as we work together on the follow-up to the decision to reunite our two congregations. We promised you details! On 10th January 2014, both of our teams met with Leonello Leidi, CP, and Hank Lemoncelli,OMI,from CICLSAL. They were very supportive and appreciative of the process we have lived and of the vision for the future that is reflected in our decision. During our meeting with them, they clarified many of our questions regarding the next steps in the process and the canonical procedures we need to follow.
Sr. Teresita Weind, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, facilitated our meeting, drawing our attention to how this meeting is situated between the two great feasts of the Epiphany and the Baptism and inviting us to hear in this the call to mission. On the previous day,she helped us create the content for our discussion with our guests from CICLSAL. She walked us through the rest of our agenda, which included determining a date for the official decree of merger and addressing some immediate tasks to consider – such as participation in the 2015 Congregational Chapter and establishing some ad hoc committees. We greatly appreciated her gentle, clear and effective accompaniment.
DATE FOR THE OFFICIAL DECREE OF MERGER
The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) issues the decree of acceptance and announces the date. We will request that the date for the merger be the 27th June 2014, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The two priests are confident that our request for this date will be approved.
We selected this date because of the significance of this feast for both of our congregations and most especially this year, as we are in the process of canonization of Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII granted the request she had made to him to dedicate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In order to facilitate some immediate tasks, we have named some ad hoc committees. These are: Ritual of Celebration Committee, History Committee and Stewardship Committee.Ritual of Celebration Committee We ask all Units to find ways to celebrate our reunification on 27th June 2014. Those countries where both of our congregations are present are encouraged to celebrate this event together. To assist you in developing creative ideas for your celebration, we have set up an ad hoc Ritual Committee. They will prepare some prayers/readings, etc., which we could incorporate into the celebrations worldwide, and provide additional ideas for your consideration in planning a ritual which fits your specific culture.
Stewardship Committee (Administration)
There are many administrative tasks that need to be accomplished. Therefore, we have set up an ad hoc
Stewardship Committee to address some of the financial and legal aspects that need to be accomplished at the Congregational Level, prior to the actual reunification date. The OLC Central Team will assist Provinces and Regions regarding these matters at their level of administration.
For places where both of our congregations are present, the Good Shepherd Congregational Leadership Team and the Our Lady of Charity Central Team will lend assistance regarding the specifics in each situation.
An ad hoc History Committee will create a document that merges together our shared and diverse histories. They will create a process for reflection. It is our hope that this document will be ready for discussion at the Intercontinental Assemblies and the 2015 Congregational Chapter. After this process, it could become a revised Prologue for the Constitutions.
Beginning with the merger date, the Constitutions of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd will be followed. It is anticipated that after the 2015 Congregational Chapter, a committee will be formed to study both constitutions and to engage us in a process which will assist us in coming to know one another more deeply. After this process, it would be appropriate to consider some modifications. We find that both Constitutions are truly beautiful expressions of our mission and charism.
THE 2015 CONGREGATIONAL CHAPTER
Prior to the Intercontinental Assemblies, we will be one congregation. Therefore, the Chapter representation will be proportionately the same for both congregations. The Good Shepherd Sisters have been holding their elections at Chapters since October 2013; the Our Lady of Charity Sisters will determine the way in which they will hold their elections. Those who attend the Chapter also attend the Intercontinental Assembly in their region.
We know that there are many other things to consider. For now, our focus is on celebrating the richness that our coming together at this time in history brings to us and to our world. We call upon St. John Eudes, St. Mary Euphrasia and Blessed Maria Droste to intercede for us as we continue our journey.
United in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
The GS Congregational Leadership Team and the OLC Central Leadership