Sister Maureen’s reflection on delegates’ meeting in Rome

Thanks to so many of you who have written to thank me for the emails I sent last week. I am pleased you enjoyed hearing what I have been doing.

Today we began meetings for those who are the delegates representing the other leaders in their country and as you will remember I am here for the leaders from the UK. There are 40 delegates at the meetings and nine members of the board so it is a much smaller meeting but we are still from 36 countries and we have translation in three languages, English, Spanish and French.

We began with a prayer and our opening hymn which we could all sing asking for the Holy Spirit to come down upon our gathering and we sang the Veni Creator Spiritus in Latin which made us very aware of the universal church. We then had a psalm in English and another in French. The intercession were in Portuguese and then we sang the final hymn in Spanish, one which those of you who have been in Ecuador will know well “ Mientras recorres la vida.”

After the roll call and a welcome from the outgoing president we heard a financial report from the lay accountant who is employed by the UISG. She explained that it used to be commonplace in Italy to have poor record keeping and accounts but now thanks to the Executive of the last few years everything has been updated and audited and there are plans to achieve more perhaps by becoming a charitable company so that they can attempt to make a profit. Italian law is very complex with regard to properties and business and therefore it has been necessary to take a lot of legal advice in the last year.

We were then introduced to the Sisters who had agreed to stand for election to the board. All the Executive has to live in Rome so there are not that many Leaders to choose from and who would be able to fit the many meetings into their timetables.

It took nearly three hours to elect the Executive in the afternoon but in the end we elected three Italians and then one Sister each from India, Canada, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Poland, Portugal and Mexico. It felt a bit like electing the United Nations. Anyway we got there in the end.

It was a different kind of day from what we had been accustomed to last week but we still did a lot talking at the table groups and this time I was with Sisters from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Germany, and Austria. Our Congregations are of different sizes and we are in different countries but somehow we all share the same joys and sorrows. It is a very enriching and grace filled time. Tomorrow will be our last day and there will be a lot to decide so again I would be glad of your prayers.

My own prayers will be with the Sisters in England attending the funeral of our Associate Joan McLean. May she rest in peace.

Love and prayers

Maureen


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