“What a beautiful launch of our virtual province Chapter! Thank you to the team in Cincinnati and Louisville for taking us to ‘the cradle’ where Mary Euphrasia and her partners sent the first five Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd Sisters 178 years ago in 1843,” said Province Leader Madeleine Munday after the opening reflection to the Chapter launch day. Sister Madeleine then gave the province report, which she said is one of three key elements in a chapter process:
- First, we review the life of the province since the last chapter that was in 2014.
- Second, we craft the direction statement to guide our course until the next chapter.
- Third, we discern who is God calling to lead the province in living out the direction statement. “Province” includes Contemplative and Apostolic Sisters, co-workers, Companions, associates, volunteers, benefactors, board members, friends.
This way of looking at our Province is from the broad definition in Sr. Brigid Lawlor’s paper on partnership – anyone who chooses “to accept co-responsibility to work collaboratively to forward the mission.”
Highlights of the virtual province chapter
The Province of Mid-North America (PMNA) celebrated its first virtual Chapter from April 23 – 27, 2021. The care and attention that went into preparing for the event resulted in great harmony and unison when it came time to accept the province Direction Statement.
Prior to the Chapter, all partners in mission had an equal voice in providing input and suggestions for the Direction Statement. This inclusive process proved extremely beneficial when a final draft of the statement was presented. The well-planned chapter also led easily to a pathway forward with new leadership.
Holding the Chapter through Zoom allowed many Sisters to participate who would have been unable to travel to a physical chapter. It was inspiring to witness Sisters’ efforts to learn technology, and it was an added joy to be able to meet with them on Zoom.
The Finance Report reflected the generous cooperation of Sisters to live within PMNA’s budget. It also reflected the willingness and sacrifice of elder Sisters who have moved from Good Shepherd care facilities to those that are operated by other religious groups.
Over the past seven years, the province cut its expenses in half. This has put us in a much better position to direct our resources toward mission.
Jeanette McDermott’s photography and artistic skills presented Chapter delegates with a meditative remembrance of our dear Sisters who joined our Risen Lord in January of this year: Marie Dolores Beck, Mary Michael Maguire, JoAnne Getzendanner, Joelle Weid, Mary Immaculata Lupin, Magdalena Oliva, and Josephine Fritz.
We were very happy to have with us at Chapter Sr. Mirian Colala, Congregational Contemplative Councilor, and Sisters Frances Robinson and Josita Corera, Congregational Apostolic Councilors.
New leaders elected and appointed
Having listened to all of the presentations, prayers, and desires of the Chapter delegates, and after discernment, the Congregational Leadership Team appointed Sr. Madeleine Munday to serve as Province Leader for another three years. In turn, Sr. Madeleine responded to leanings expressed by the delegates and made several appointments.
She appointed Sr. Sharon Rose Authorson as a Contemplative Councilor. She appointed Sisters Gayle Lwanga Crumbley, Mary Carol McClenon, and Claudia Palacio as Apostolic Councilors. Delegates rejoiced together, anticipating their leadership into the future. They agreed that another Contemplative Councilor and two Apostolic Councilors would be appointed after a period of discernment with the new leaders.
(Note: On May 17, 2021, Sr. Madeleine appointed Sr. Elizabeth Garciano as Contemplative Councilor, and Sisters Barbara Beasley and Christine My Hahn Truong as Apostolic Councilors. The new Province Leadership Team takes office on July 3, feast of St. Thomas the Apostle.)
Heart of the Chapter
The heart of the Chapter was praying together, listening to the wisdom and guidance of our Founders, and interweaving the core of our Direction Statement with the prophetic message of poet laureate Amanda Gorman. What thought and care went into the preparation of those times of prayer!
On April 24 we celebrated the feast day of our foundress St. Mary Euphrasia. The next day, April 25, on Good Shepherd Sunday and our congregational feast day, we renewed our vows together. We joined in prayerful discernment between these times of celebration.
Our Direction Statement
Our Direction Statement calls us, “Partners-in-Mission,…to witness to the merciful love of God…” and “to bring hope to our sisters and brothers of all colors, cultures, and creeds… (Painfully) aware of deep relational division in our country, world and church … the disparities…and discrimination … (suffered by) marginalized persons and groups, as well as humanity’s deep spiritual longing … we are called to a radical transformation of heart, mind, and lifestyle.”
Carrying out the direction set before us
Looking within, we examine our own prejudices and complicity in contributing to climate change and the injustices we see in this world by the daily choices we make. Turning outward, we hear Amanda Gorman’s call to “lift our gaze not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside…and reach out our arms to one another.”
Virtual Province Chapter was a blessed time
The 2021 Province Chapter was truly a blessed time. We ask the Good Shepherd to walk with us so that we may carry out the direction set before us. May the joy of having received God’s mercy and love ever enkindle the fire to bring that mercy and love to all we serve, to our loved ones and neighbors in need, far and near.
Mark your calendars!
Mark your calendars! There will be a Zoom prayer and welcome for the new leaders on Saturday, July 3, 2021. Noon PST; 2 pm CST; 3 pm EST. All are welcome. Zoom link will be posted closer to date.