Report on Day 2 of the UISG Plenary by Sister Maureen

Posted on: 03 May 2022

Author:Sister Joan Kerley


Day 2 of the UISG Plenary

The theme for today was Synodality and we began the morning with prayer and a hymn based on the story of Ruth and a chorus of “wherever you go I will go” because synodality means walking together. This was followed by a presentation from Sr Jolanta, our president, which began by describing the pandemic as the best of times and the worst of times in a quote from Charles Dickens. The pandemic brought us many difficulties, but we have to acknowledge that it also brought many blessings from the way people helped one another sharing our common humanity. For the UISG it meant that many congregations in small poor countries needed help to survive financially because Sisters were unable to work and bring in an income. However it also meant that the inability to travel required the UISG to find more creative ways to aid communicating and we started using Zoom platforms. Over a two year period some 65,000 sisters participated in various webinars on subjects as diverse as safeguarding and the care of children to interculturality and synodality and JPIC. CICLSAL also met with the UISG and their male equivalent the USG and also set a commission for Covid 19. They sought to build communion in diversity. The prophetic nature of Religious Life calls us to mobilise ourselves into a global sisterhood.

Sr Pat Murray the Executive Secretary of the UISG Athena gave a report on the many UISG initiatives and projects in different parts of the world including the project for refugees and migrants, solidarity with South Sudan, Talitha Kum, the anti-trafficking project and the latest project funded by the Hilton Foundation into research on Alzheimer’s and the care of our elderly Sisters. A new project is also to begin in 2023 on looking at cases of spiritual abuse which is now more widespread.

Our first guest speaker was Dr Nuria Martinez Gayal who addressed us on the Spirituality of Synodality. After examining the meaning of the two words Dr Nuria spoke for about ninety minutes on saying that there are five elements in a spirituality of synodality namely:
1. A spirituality of listening

2 A spirituality of dialogue

3.A spirituality of discernment

4. A spirituality of care

5. A spirituality of patient endurance or resilience

She expanded each of these headings and went way over her time meaning that we had no time to discuss in table groups before we had Mass celebrated by Cardinal Braz de Avis the Prefect of CICLSAL. I will send you copies of Dr Nuria address once they become available.

After Mass and lunch the Cardinal addressed the theme of the Synodality of Religious Life which he said is not actually a theme but a reality in our lives. Again I hope to share his talk with you at a later date.

The remainder of the day was spent discussing the following questions in our groups:

1. Having listened to the reports for what am I grateful?

2. What do I sense I am being called to in my ministry of leadership of my Congregation?

3. What dimension of the spirituality of synodality do I feel called to nurture in order to better live out my ministry of leadership?

Our discussions continued until 5.30pm and we then had our Evening Prayer together. It was a very full and tiring day but one full of energy and we look forward to what tomorrow will bring!

Love and prayers Maureen