Sisters Stanislaus dePolonia, Magdalena Oliva and Dorothy Renckens enjoy a light-hearted moment at the Spring Area Meeting at Immaculate Heart Convent in St. Louis.
Six Spring Area Meetings are underway in the Province of Mid-North America. The meetings allow the Province Leadership Team to communicate and consult with Sisters in the province about the progress and plans of the Core Groups for Mission that have been working since the last Assembly. All of the meetings are following the same agenda and process over a two-day period. Sr. Madeleine Lane, SSND, is facilitating the sessions.
The meeting locations allow as many Sisters as possible to participate, especially those who can no longer travel. Representatives from the Province Leadership Team (PLT) and the three Core Groups are attending each Area Meeting: Eco-Zeal for Mission, Administration for Mission and Community for Mission.
Reactions to Spring Area Meetings
According to PLT member Sr. Mary Carolyn McQuaid, the Spring Area Meetings have been designed for transparency, so that information is heard first hand and nobody is left out of the loop. The first Area Meeting took place in Cincinnati on March 15 and 16, followed by the second meeting in St. Louis March 29 and 30. Responses to the meetings have been favorable.
“It’s been beautiful. The leaders thought to include those of us who can no longer travel so that we are a part of everything that’s happening in the Province. It makes me feel important and not forgotten to be at these meetings,” said Sr. Stanislaus dePolonia.
Sr. Gertrude Sen said, “I haven’t traveled for a number of years and have missed a lot of Assemblies. But I still have a voice. It’s nice to be able to share my opinions and to be included in knowing what’s going on.”
Sr. Therese Hillary said, “Physically, the room was hot and stuffy, but emotionally and spiritually we were really cool! I think each Sister felt she was heard when she expressed herself. Everyone was empathetic toward the opinions of each other.”
Cincinnati and St. Louis Spring Area Meetings
Sisters in Cincinnati and St. Louis reported that they liked being together in a relaxed atmosphere where they had sufficient time to share in small groups and ask questions about finances, properties and the province’s position on the environment.
Sr. Gayle Lwanga Crumbley went to the Area Meeting in Cincinnati so she could visualize how the Sisters are living there whenever she hears Cincinnati being mentioned. She said the experience was extraordinary.
“I reconnected with Sr. Noreen Sheedy, whom I hadn’t seen in 17 years. It was like time had stood still and we started up right where we left off those many years ago. I met Srs. Marguerite Senesac and Collette Sauers for the first time, and what a blessing that was! They are both dynamos and ministering to those around them at St. Margaret Hall. It was a wonderful Area Meeting and I am so glad I participated,” Sr. Gayle said.
Sisters described the Area Meetings using terms such as “spiritual, respectful, open, honest, informational and comfortable.
Sr. Mary Michael Maguire said, “The process has been good. All of the issues are out in the open for us to discuss.”
Sr. Elizabeth Garciano said, “I grew in my relationship with Sisters and am touched by what we said to one another. I am also grateful for being able to stay close to home for the meeting. I can just walk across the road to get home and do other things that I need to do when the meetings are over. It’s more comfortable being close to home, and it reduces expenses and conserves energy,” she said.
Sr. Sharon Rose Authorson described the Area Meeting in St. Louis as energetic, refreshing and spiritual. She said, “We had a lot of faith sharing about what more we can do for the world. We have a simple spirituality: saving souls.”
Four Spring Area Meetings remain:
West Coast April 6-8
Baltimore May 3-4
Philadelphia May 6-7
St. Paul May 18-19
The province assembly in October will advance the discussions and include reports from the Core Mission Groups and address outcomes and shared reflections of the Spring Area Meetings. The assembly will be at Kings House in Belleville, Illinois.