Posted on: 04 May 2019
Author:Sr Joan Kerley
Sister Maureen is currently in Rome, Italy attending the XXI Plenary of the International Union of Superiors General which will be held for 6 – 10 May. The theme is "Sowers of Prophetic Hope". Around 850 Superiors General from 80 different countries will participate.
Sister Maureen will be sending reflections from the meeting periodically. This is her first:
I arrived early afternoon on Wednesday after a good journey and I was surprised at how many people choose Rome as a holiday destination. I had booked a taxi online before I left so was impressed to find the driver waiting for me with a name board and I was pleased that it cost a third less than using one of the many taxis lined up at the airport. I felt a bit like royalty as we threaded our way through the chaotic Rome traffic being driven in a black Mercedes. My room at the hotel is on the top floor with a view over the swimming pool and the surrounding hills and mountains although the pool is not open until June. It is lovely to be able to sit on the balcony in the early morning to pray in such peaceful surroundings. The early morning sunshine encourages praise but this morning it was a question of "rain and showers bless the Lord" as it has been pouring since last night.
On Thursday and Friday I attended workshops on communications and child protection and we had excellent speakers. It has been a real eye opener to work in international groups and to feel a bit of a dinosaur in terms of social media but at the same time one of those in the fore front of child protection ( thanks to Sr Philomena and our regional reps).
The make up of the groups has been truly international and different each day so I have met many sisters from all over the world. Imagine my surprise when I met up with a Sister of Marie Auxiliatrice who I used to go to Bursars meetings with. We have not met for many years as she now lives in France at their Generalate and we had a lot to tell each other. I was also delighted when I heard a voice saying "Hello Sister Maureen" and found myself with Sister Basil, a Little Sister of St Francis from Kenya who spent Christmas with us in Drywood when she was studying in Canterbury in 2013. What a small world and how proud I felt when she told me of the part Sr Margaret McGrath played in her journey to becoming a Leader. Margaret was equally pleased when I was able to pass on her greetings.
Other Sisters will arrive over the weekend as not everyone was invited to the workshops. I am looking forward to meeting up with Sr Dorothy from Kenya and the two leaders from Malaysia who are all so proud of their FMSJ roots. As I meet up with so many I will give thanks for those of our Sisters who trained some of these Sisters and who formed the first Sisters in our daughter Congregations. We give thanks for their generosity and commitment to the Lord in what were very hard times on the missions in the early days.
The Plenary sessions begin on Monday and I will try to send regular messages on what we are doing so that you feel a part of this wonderful global experience. If anyone would like to listen in to some of the talks by computer link if you email any member of the leadership team they should able to provide you with the link for those talks being streamed from Monday onwards. Please keep me in your prayers. I will remember all of you when I go to Mass this evening in the local church which is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadeloupe and St Philip but has a statue of Francis too.