Our General Chapter

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We have just finished our “General Chapter” in Rome! If you are wondering what that is, read on...
All religious orders hold these meetings. They are times to evaluate where we have been and to look ahead, to ask ourselves questions about how we understand, for today, the Mission which God has entrusted to us, asking the Holy Spirit to guide and enlighten us. There is a lot of prayer, discussion and the deepening of the bonds that unite us in our common Mission, wherever we may live. It is also a celebration of thanksgiving for the gift that God has given us in calling us.

A Chapter doesn’t just happen by itself! We prepared for this event over the previous year and a half, surfacing the issues
facing us. Since we are about 1140 little sisters spread throughout the world it is not possible for everyone to be present, so we hold local meetings in the regions and elect delegates to represent us in Rome. We hold this meeting every six years.


At this Chapter there were 50 little sisters from 28 nationalities speaking 28 different languages of origin! You can see the challenge that the treasure of our diversity can present! It is a help that most everyone speaks French or English, but it still takes time, translators and patience.
One of the mandates given at the previous Chapter involved a major restructuring. We were founded in 1939 - nearly 80 years ago! In the years following World War II we had an enormous influx of members. In 1949 our founder, little sister Magdeleine, was inspired to extend the reach of the Community around the world, sending young sisters  far and wide.




Sisters gathered together for this important time... meeting sometimes for the first time and sometimes after years of not seeing one another.






 At our peak in the 70’s and 80’s we numbered around 1400 sisters in about 65 countries. Now we are in a different phase of our life. Many of those daring first members - and you should hear their stories! - have left us for heaven or are no longer able to be present in small communities around the world. We are so grateful for their contributions and courage. What we have lived and continue to live is thanks to them!

The world has also changed in ways that no one could have imagined. We have tried throughout the years to build on l.sr.Magdeleine’s foundational intuition about presence to the Muslim world which is also much different than 80 years ago.  We are now obliged to regroup in order to care for our elderly sisters, and to find new ways to live out our Mission. Sometimes this is among other elderly people living in senior citizen homes or nursing homes. As much as possible we have tried to maintain our presence among those who are discriminated against in one way or another and to honor our call to be a presence of unity in an increasingly polarized world.

At present the majority of younger sisters are coming from Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, with a smattering throughout the rest of the world… We have about 100 younger members (those who have not yet made final vows) with 3 novitiates - 1 in Kenya, 1 in Tanzania and 1 in the Philippines.
While we have had to close 66 communities over the last 6 years, we have also been able to open 44. Often a closure was a decision to redirect our energies to respond to new situations with who we are. For example, we had to flee from Mosul, Iraq but are now In Ainkawa, Iraq among fellow refugees. We opened a community in the central Philippines but in doing so had to close another community where we had been for many years. We started a new community with Palestinian Refugees in Tyr, Lebanon and in Gyeonggi-Do/Bucheon, Korea among immigrants. In Kontum, Vietnam we are now among the Highland people.

We have also simply had to close certain communities for various reasons. We had to leave Pakistan and Afghanistan, Greece, the Ukraine, Greenland, Peru, Paraguay, Libya and Tunisia. Sometimes we only closed a community within a region, like Beersheva and Chicago. These are hard decisions which we try to live, being grateful for all that has been, and praying for the grace to keep our hearts youthful enough to imagine and respond to the Spirit’s call today.

As part of our Chapter we elected a new Leadership Team that reflects our diversity and the needs of our Mission worldwide. To lead this team is L.Sr. Dorinha who is Catalan and has lived many years in Brazil. The rest of the team is composed of little sisters Anitha (India), Christine Erica (French), Eugeniya Kabwimana (Rwanda), Monica Greti (Austria) and Virgine Hanan (Iraq). We thank them for accepting this service which carries us forward into something new… In another six years we will be at a new “place,” with new challenges and graces.. Please pray with us and for us as we continue the path…


Below pictures of our new leadership team from Catalonia, Rwanda, India, Austria, France and Iraq.





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At the end of the Chapter we had the great joy of a private audience with Pope Francis who already knew our sisters from Argentina.