Sr Christina Yeo, Provincial Leader welcomed everyone and officially declared the Chapter open and Sisters invoked the light and guidance Holy Spirit with a solemn hymn. The Eucharist was celebrated with Fr Francis Lim sj who later led us in an enlightening session on ‘Discernment in Common’. In the afternoon, Sr Christina introduced the facilitator Ms Theresa Goh, our ex-pupil – a global consultant and coach.
Theresa commented that in a rapidly changing world, we Canossians, are called to transform lives.
Recalling the symbolism of new wine in new wineskins, she said we are challenged to live the centrality of the gospel in a time of polarities and paradoxes: the desire for control vs flexibility; new ministries vs diminishing vocations and energies.
We started with a reality check: where are we and where do we want to go? What is our future-desired state? How do we get there?
In line with the General Chapter themes on governance, formation, mission, the first 3 days were spent in looking at the values inherent in the themes. We realize the importance of spiritual conversations that each one of us need to engage in; to build resilient, Christ-centred communities, witnessing to the Kingdom of God.
We saw the need for effective governance at all levels: accountability, managing conflict of interest and transparency. We will not be able to live out our mission without personal/interpersonal formation and transformation. Sisters responded enthusiastically, and diligently learnt from Theresa the many skills needed for better communication among ourselves, better planning for mission. We then moved on to set our goals on good stewardship charting a new direction to address emerging poverties and needs of society.
The 4th and final day was devoted to the drawing up of the Province Statutes and Resolutions. This was facilitated by Sr Cecily Pavri and Sr Marilyn Lim as we focussed on the values and purpose of the Statutes. Proposals from the Provincial Council and the Communities in Singapore-Myanmar had been consolidated earlier and these were presented, commented upon, and questions that arose were clarified. Sisters then voted for each article that was proposed with coloured cards: green for approval, yellow for abstention and red for objection. The outcomes were accordingly recorded. Conclusively, Sr Christina formally brought the Chapter to a close. In unison of hearts, Sisters, with a grateful heart and spirit-filled joy spontaneously thanked God and Mother Mary with the Magnificat.
The evening closed with a grand celebration of the traditional Chinese New Year reunion ‘Lo Hei’ [tossing up good fortune] and dinner followed by traditional distribution of Ang Pows (Red packets). Indeed, it was an evening of heartfelt thanksgiving for the many graces received during these four intense days of growing together in deeper trust and openness.
Our Foundress, we felt must be smiling on us as her presence was tangibly felt by each one of us in all our Chapter deliberations/learning, decisions and especially as we grew closer to each other through all that we experienced.
written by Sr Marilyn Lim