Dear Sisters and Associates,
During the February/March Executive Committee meeting, the Provinces and the Mission in Botswana were asked to share ways that they have brought life to our General Assembly 2013 Vision and Directives. Our hearts were filled with wonder and gratitude as we reflected on the energy, creativity and fidelity we saw in the reports.
Over the next four weeks we will share those reports. We invite you to take them to prayer, thanking our God for all that has been accomplished, imagining all our Sisters and Associates around the world who have given of themselves, and asking the Spirit to guide us to new places for the sake of the SCN Mission and the Gospel.
If you want to share any of your reflections about what you read over these four weeks, please email them to Brenda Gonzales, SCN (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail them to her at P.O. Box 172, Nazareth, Ky 40048. On the fifth week, we will share those reflections with you as well.
At the General Assembly we sang over and over again, “You are the heart. You are the hands. You are the voice of Spirit on earth. And who you are and all you do is a blessing to the world.” Let us rejoice in the ways we have lived those words.
- The Central Leadership Team initiated a letter from the Charity Federation members to Cardinal O’Malley in his role on the Pope’s taskforce, asking him to assure the active role of women in decision-making in the Church. S. Susan initiated a follow-up letter at the October Federation Board meeting.
- Met with a women’s group in Louisville to see how to promote women participating at the upcoming Synod. Exciting collaboration.
- There have been conscious efforts to include this Directive in the Local Community Goals and Actions Plans of every Local Community.
- In schools, girls are given equal opportunities in admission policies and in all of the activities of the school.
- Awareness programs are conducted at all schools and centers to implement this Directive.
- Conscious efforts have been made in some places, e.g. Rosary School, Mumbai, to claim the equal status of Sisters with the Clergy.
- The Sisters take part actively in the Parish Council and their role is recognized as equal in decision-making.
- Hostels for girls are established in Musunuru and Kakkavayal to improve the educational opportunities for girls. Kakkavayal Hostel is registered under the Orphanage Control Board as a “Navjeevan Children’s Home.” In January the children from Navjeevan took part in the convention organized by all the sixty-eight orphanages of Wayanad. Such gatherings enhance the awareness for unity and equality of women and girls to claim their rights.
- Legal help is provided in Kakkavayal to women who face domestic violence or ill treatment in families.
- Inclusive language poses a major struggle as often times the vocabulary becomes a bit tedious, especially during prayer. Rita Puthenkalam, SCN and her team have compiled a prayer book with special emphasis on inclusive language. This book will be ready for use by May 2014.
- Bangalore, being a conservative area, claiming leadership in the Church and society continues to be a big challenge.
- Vasai kept the theme of “Women and Girls” for all of their school activities in 2013-14. Awareness programs for the staff and students, cultural programs, street plays, etc. were based on the theme of “Women and Children.”
- Sisters actively participate in Parish activities such as: Parish Council Meetings and Mahila Sangh (Catholic Women’s Group) and contribute in the decision-making.
- The Sisters teach catechism in many places on Sundays, making an impact on young minds for equality and respect for the women.
- Sr. Jane took classes for a week in St. Albert’s College on Feminism and Sr. Rekha in Tarunodaya, Kanke, Ranchi.
- Sr. Shalini worked with the Sisters of Notre Dame, Presentations and Daughters of the Cross ensuring equality and empowerment of Religious women. At the invitation of the Bishop of Khunti, Sr. Shalini teamed up with Fr. Christudas, Director of SIGN, Ranchi to work with lay leaders of the Khunti Diocese.
- In all our schools, the admission of girl children is given preference to promote girls’ education.
- Most of our Social and Health Centers are working for the empowerment of women and awareness on the atrocities/ trafficking and violence of women and girl children.
- The goal of Arunodaya, Patna is to empower women (trainees) and make them socially conscious. This year 24 girls are in this training program.
- A module was prepared by a committee to educate all of the membership of the Province on gender. The workshop will be conducted in five areas during this year to ensure the participation of each Sister before the Province Assembly in December, 2014.
- Catherine Spalding Center (CSC) is working on the upward mobility of domestic working women providing them with formal education. CSC collaborates with Jaan Foundation, providing shelter and rehabilitation to the trafficked girls and bringing dignity and justice to them.
- SCNs are well represented in regional CRI and some contribute to it by sharing ideas and taking a responsible position in the Coordination Committee, which has good impact on the Church.
- Conscious efforts are being made for inclusive language in our prayers. We are patiently waiting for the publishing of the Prayer Book compiled by Sr. Rita and Team.
- The Province has reopened the ministry among the Mayan Indians in Belize. SCNs Higinia Bol and Chris Kunze are now living in the parish house in San Antonio Village and working on the St. Peter Claver Parish team. The pastor is especially grateful for their ability to provide a ministerial presence to the Mayan women in the Parish.
- The Initiative Committee has promoted the leadership and equality of women in the Church through the educational materials it has sent to Local Communities. The Committee plans to develop an educational piece on inclusive language.
- By joining the inter-community novitiate, we promoted the dignity and equality of women in the Church as we entered into dialogue and theological development across cultures and from different perspectives. The seminarians grew in awareness as did the women in the program. Seminarians came from the United States, Africa, Canada, and South America while the women came from the United States, Mexico, Romania, and Italy. Inclusive language was a goal of the entire group as they continue to network and form a virtual community. Liturgies of various types were prepared where women gave the homilies and events were celebrated with a woman leading the prayer.
- At Doors to HOPE, most of the students are Hispanic women who would not have the self‑confidence needed to meet others if they did not have the language skills they need. The Church community is being strengthened by the education of these women.
- In the Media Center, Vatican II documents and media related to the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II are made available. Some new materials were purchased and made available.
- Two SCNs completed the Leadership Lab. Two SCNs are being invited to join the new Leadership Program being sponsored by LCWR next year.
- There has been a greater effort to use inclusive language by the lectors at Mass at the Motherhouse. More Sisters are part of the rotation of doing weekly reflections at Mass.
- Five Sisters attended a Vatican II workshop on liturgy by Michael Joncas in Bellville in October 2013. They then offered two sessions related to it to the Motherhouse Community. Both sessions were well attended.
- Four SCNs and 2 Associates from Nazareth attended Bishop Donald Trautman’s presentation “Vision for a Renewed Church: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” at Epiphany Church. The information was then presented to the Sisters at the Motherhouse with good interaction. These and similar workshops were also attended by other Sisters in the Province, especially those in Louisville.
- Some Sisters in the Province have stated that they are very supportive of inclusive language, using it when they read at Mass and at their places of ministry.
- Been actively involved in networking with women religious in the country.
- Networking with the government, NGOs and other benefactors.
- Organized programs for civil and Catholic Daycare schools.
- Organized programs for Catholic Daycare schools (e.g. sports, educational tour).
- Promoted leadership and equality of all in the Church.
- Organized catechetical training for men and women.
- Provided opportunities for retreat days for school and Hospice staff.
- Empowered individuals to teach on topics related to faith during the year of faith.
- SCNs were instrumental in arranging a meeting with the Bishop, priests and women religious to claim their rightful place in the church resulting in the formation of a committee with representation of priests and women religious for ongoing dialogue.
- Conducted a two-year faith formation program for men and women Catechists.