The General Chapter is a fraternal assembly of the Sisters, living expression of unity of the Congregation. It is composed of Sisters elected, representatives of the communities and ex-officio members of the Congregation. This assembly gathers every 5 years. Time of prayer, of discernment and of celebration…to search together the Orientations to live for the next 5 years to come and to elect the general team in charge of the animation and of communion in the Congregation.
We wanted that the Holy Spirit be in the first place; that He comes and remains in the intergenerational and intercultural assembly so that it becomes Community. Different symbols accompanied us: the light of charisma that our Founder lighted and that we wish to share.
Together we put up a tent, made of multicolour tissues, which remind us, the invitation:
"Enlarge the space of your tent,
stretch out your hangings,
lengthen your ropes and strengthen your stakes!
For you will spread out to the right and to the left.
Your descendants will take possession of the nations,
and inhabit cities that have been abandoned.
Do not be afraid…"
(Isaïe 54, 2-4)
A path of sand spangled with stones symbolizing the daily obstacles but, also, of greenery and footprints: an unbroken path.
Came from Argentina, Spain and from different regions of France, 17 lay people accompanied us in this time of mutual sharing…This allowed us to know these persons and the mission where they are committed in different ways: benevolent, signatories of the Charter, members of associations and of the education network, salaried collaborators…
The path took life, lodged with symbols deposited by the laity and the communities all over the world. The symbol of grain, the seeds, the slow sprouting, helped us to begin each day by a short time of celebration…
To bind up, plant a tree together, allowed us to conclude these times of interpellation, sources of mutual enrichment, on a symbolic gesture of our common desire to grow in the service and fraternity, accompanied by few invitations: "To allow ourselves to be sowed… To be good soil… To become prophetic sowers… Listen… Welcome… Bear fruit throughout one’s life… By the whole body!"
The Eucharistic celebration began with a call by Sr. Jacqueline, in charge of the Congregation, to which the chapter members responded "Yes, here I am". From the gospel passage "Seek the Kingdom of God and its justice", the celebrant, Fr. Daniel Décha, invited us to live the Providence, in a special way, like Father Cestac.
These few days allowed us to welcome the Spirit and to dispose ourselves to receive and to live the following stages with disponibility, openness and freedom. Fr. Daniel Régent, Jesuit priest, animated these three days and accompanied us throughout the Chapter.
Two days consecrated to the moral report of the past 6 years by Sr. Jacqueline, Superior General, followed by the financial report by Sr. Elsy, general bursar.
The time of Chapter is a time to listen to the Word of God and of celebration, to prepare our reflexion and our search of orientations for the next years, around 3 themes: the Alliance, the Interculturality and the Laity.
The Sisters of Compassion of Toulouse and the Daughters of the Cross have given their witnessing on the path of Alliance lived together.
The last stage of the Chapter: that of the elections. Times of reflexion, of sharing in groups and of discernment, led us to the election of the Superior General then, in a second time, that of the General Councillors. In an atmosphere of recollection and of prayer, we make ourselves disponible to the Spirit.
After the elections, Fr. Daniel Regent, announced the new Council in the Chapel of Notre Dame, before we go to the tomb of Father Cestac, to pray.
Sr. Isabelle (France), Superior General, and her Councillors, Sr. Arantza (Spain), Sr. Graciela (Argentina) et Sr. Jeena (India).
Sunday, August 25, the 23rd General Chapter came to an end, after the election of the post-capitulary commission formed by a group of 6 members: 3 in France and 3 in different continents.
Then in the afternoon, a festive Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the chapel of Notre Dame of Refuge in the presence of communities, friends and near ones, which concluded this time of meeting; the participation of the sisters from different continents has given a dimension of the Universal Church.
The Acts of the Chapter 2019 were handed over to the participating sisters and lay people, during 7 celebrations, done in an atmosphere of prayer and joy, where some Chapter participants, sisters and lay people, shared their testimony; strong and fraternal moments...concluded with a message of openness to dialogue: : "Let the Spirit create something new through us." Mc 2,22.