Day 1

Friday, April 30th

Our 9th Congregational Gathering began on the Holy Ground of Cork, the place that nurtured, challenged and sustained Nano in her call to become a radical follower of Jesus. The theme of the gathering is “Nano Aflame, Stoking our Passion, Becoming Fire, Radiating Love.”

We were invited to an opening ritual by the call of a drum and an antiphon ‘God’s Love has called us…to love, serve and journey together.’ The Gathering was formally declared opened by Sr. Mary Deane and she lit the CG2018 Candle.

In her opening address, Sr. Mary Deane welcomed the delegates to the Gathering and invoked God our Father, Mother, Creator, Source of all life, love and light; Jesus Christ the eternal Word of God and Holy Spirit, breath of life.

All the delegates were individually called forth by the CLT to receive a blessing symbolised by the light from the CG2018 Candle, and they made a commitment to participate fully in the Gathering. This solemn moment of calling forth evoked in us a deep sense of commitment to the evolving story of our Congregation.

The delegates were then invited to spend some time in stillness, and to enter into a contemplative dialogue process pondering the questions: Why be a Pilgrim still? What am I bringing to this pilgrim journey?

Sr. Mary Deane was led to the podium by a lantern bearer to give her opening speech. She reminded us that as delegates we are here on behalf of the whole Congregation, to make decisions for the whole. We are all here as equals in terms of our participation, recognizing that each person has a unique contribution to make to the whole.

The following are some of the highlights from Sr. Mary’s speech:

  • to return to our roots, that is, to the heart of who we are as a Congregation, and as women religious to be deeply contemplative;
  • to rediscover interiority and the capacity to appreciate what is important and to live with passion, integrity and energy;
  • to learn from the wisdom of Jesus, Nano, our ancestors, and earth itself on how to be compassionate;
  • to listen deeply to the music of what is happening within us, bearing in mind that ‘the most beautiful music in all of creation is the music of what happens’ Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

The facilitators, Anne Lane pbvm and Judith King, called us to be animated by qualities (reflection, silence, self-awareness, courtesy, humour) that would enhance dialogue, discernment and participation during the Gathering.

Throughout this Gathering, we welcome and invite the Presentation family “to be still, to listen and reflect together as we seek to clarify the vision and discern anew the direction for the Congregation’s life and mission.” (C55)

Submitted by the Delegates from the African Unit