2017 Assembly focuses on Good Shepherd mission

Conversations generated in small groups at Assembly continue into hallways during breaks.

More than 70 Sisters attended the 2017 Assembly for the Province of Mid-North America. Good Shepherd Sisters gathered at King’s House Retreat Center in Belleville, Illinois, from October 16-20 to continue conversations that began last spring.

Much work had been done since the six Spring Area Meetings took place throughout the Province in April and May. 

The Province Integration Team had summarized the responses from the meetings and shared them at the Assembly in Belleville. This invited further conversation from the three core groups: Eco-Zeal for Mission, Community for Mission and Administration for Mission. Mission was at the heart of each core group’s presentation. Sr. Madeleine Lane, SSND, facilitated the Assembly.

The Formation Conversation Design Committee, whose membership consists of Sisters from the Central South, New York/Toronto and Mid-North America Provinces, began discussions concerning Vocation and Formation issues from the inter-Province of North America perspective. Sr. Lynn Jarrell, OSU, facilitated the conversation.

Assembly presentation touches hearts

Meals give Sisters from throughout the Province an opportunity to renew friendships, relax and catch up with one another.

Sr. Frances Robinson, the Congregation’s Link Councilor for Mid-North America and Sr. Hanan Youssef the Link Councilor for Montreal were present at the Assembly. They shared about the current situation in Lebanon/Syria.

Our Sisters in Syria are braving the constant bombings while caring for the many refugees from Iraq and Iran. Lebanon is overwhelmed with more refugees than that small country is able to handle. Good Shepherd Sisters in Lebanon have had to suspend their regular ministries to help care for these new refugees. All hearts were touched deeply by this presentation.

Sr. Olga Cristobal, who has returned from her missionary time in Albania, shared some of her experiences with us.

We have 19 cultures from 19 different countries in the Province. We celebrated our cultural diversity with Happy Hour, Angers Style, hosted by Monte Abbott, Province Operations Director. Many Sisters dressed in their country’s native attire. In the evening, our Vietnamese Sisters entertained us with a beautiful dance to the music of “Hello Vietnam.”

Good Shepherd Sisters from Vietnam performed a dance at Assembly titled “Hello Vietnam.”

“While watching our Sisters from Vietnam dance, I was really touched by the grace and beauty of each of them,” said Sr. Cathie Boerboom.

“Then I looked around the room. I was deeply awed in a new way by our diversity of facial structures, variation of skin colors, hair, and cultures and the beauty of this, the beauty of each person. I sensed within me a deep connection to each one — a oneness. Feeling this sense of oneness was powerful for me. For four days we had intense conversations and shared a vast array of differing points of view. And yet, through that simple and beautiful dance I witnessed how we are unified as one in Good Shepherd and growing together as a Community,” Sr. Cathie said.

Remembrance of Sisters

Sisters Beverly Hedgecoth (left) and Liz Schille reunite at Assembly.

A very important highlight of the Assembly was the remembrance of the Sisters who have died since our last Assembly. Their pictures remained present in the chapel all through our liturgies.

Sisters who were unable to be present at this Assembly were remembered by a handwritten card mailed to them. Province Leader Sr. Madeleine Munday greeted each Sister personally and gave a card of remembrance to each of us during the closing liturgy.

At the end of each day Sr. Joan Spiering sent the “Bellville Blurb” to the Sisters at home to provide news from the Assembly. Assembly 2017 closed with a promise that the conversations will continue with Spring Area meetings in 2018.

Virginia Gordon

Virginia Gordon

Sister Virginia Gordon has served in many Apostolic leadership and support roles with Sisters of the Good Shepherd. She is currently missioned in St. Louis, where she works with and mentors international Good Shepherd Sisters while they are studying English. Sr. Virginia has a special place in her heart and prayers for nature and all of God's Creation.