MSC Provincial Chapter Meeting 2013: A Time of Grace and Unity

The prevailing reaction that emerged from the Stella Maris Provincial Chapter was that the Chapter was a time of grace and unity. Held in Tarrytown, NY during the third week of October, the Chapter’s scriptural theme was “now is the favorable time.” Each day’s proceedings were set in a context of prayer and discernment. Bruce Irvine, Clin.Psy, who is the Executive Director of the Grubb Institute, UK, served as the facilitator for the Chapter. As a facilitator, Dr. Irvine specializes in helping organizations achieve what they say they want to achieve. The Chapter commenced with a reverent ceremony that highlighted – through a stirring PowerPoint presentation – the many Missionary Sisters whose lives of dedicated service have set the foundation for all that the Institute is today. Christopher Bellitto, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor of History at Kean University, offered a fascinating foreword to the Chapter with a presentation on Reforming a Challenged Church – Six Lessons from Church History. Dr. Bellitto stressed the importance of knowing the history of the Church in order to better understand where the Church and religious and laity need to be heading in the future. Sr. Joan McGlinchey, MSC, the General Councillor for the Stella Maris Province and the Director of the Office of Religious in the Archdiocese of Chicago, spoke on the missionary charism in the Church at this particular time as religious and laypersons. She cited the Provincial Chapter as a time when there is co-responsibility for the Cabrinian charism and our mission in the Church and in the world. Sr. Joan spoke of Pope Francis’ statement that “the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.” She asked those gathered to seriously consider how we can live our missionary nature at this time in our history when Sisters are fewer and material resources are diminished. In light of the realities of the Province, Dr. Bruce Irvine presented the Theory U of open mind, open heart, open will, citing the ways in which the Holy Spirit has a way of presenting us with challenges. In considering the future, he
asked the group, ‘why does our context require us to exist? Are we still relevant?’ In maintaining open minds, open hearts and an open will, during the sacred time of the Chapter and beyond, he said, “this is about our capacity or desire to be in touch with our very best, our authentic purpose and self – our spirituality. It is about letting go and letting the ‘new’ come.”

-Nancy Costello, From the MSC Weekly Update, October 31, 2013

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