25 July – Day of the election of the Superior General

After spending the evening before the election in silence and recollection, the capitulants gathered in the chapter room to begin the day of the election with a time of prayer together followed by a time of personal prayer.

Morning prayer

A beautiful prayer from Canada, entitled “Moving from one table to another” and in the form of a slide show, spoke to us about service and the love needed to serve.

– The table of the morning where, in the Gospel of St John 21, the Risen Jesus prepares an impromptu breakfast on the beach for the disciples.

– There is always bread on the Lord’s table. Let us acknowledge our privilege in being invited to one or other of these tables.

– In St. John’s account, we hear Jesus say, “My children, cast the net to the right and you will find fish.”

– See how he intervenes in such a way as to fill them. This is the superabundance that only God gives.

– Jesus serves the others. He shares the bread and the fish as a sign of friendship so that they may better commune together in the love of God.

– After the meal, Jesus asks Peter to make a profession of love because he has an important mission to entrust to him.

– Pastoral work needs to be done with much love. Hence the need for his profession of love.

– Jesus is waiting for you at his table in the morning. He is the food and the table and it is he who serves. Will you serve him?

The election of the new Superior General

The Rule of Life (no. 82.1) prescribes that :

“The election of the Superior General

is presided over by the Bishop

of the place where the election is held,

or by his delegate.” 

So it was in the presence of the Bishop of Quimper and Léon, Mgr Laurent Dognin, that the capitulants proceeded to the election, in due form, of Sr Patricia Guillet, as the new Superior General of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus.

The new Superior General, Sr Patricia Guillet,
on the left, with her predecessor, Sr Micheline Cormier

A native of Ile et Vilaine in Brittany, Patricia was already a General Councillor. Everyone came forward to congratulate her and give her their best wishes for the future. We also thanked Sr. Micheline Cormier, the former Superior General for her six years of service. She confided, “Now it’s the time of transmission.”

A thanksgiving Eucharist

After a short break, we went to the chapel for a Eucharist of thanksgiving for this important moment. After the “morning table” of our prayer time, we came to the Lord’s table where we acknowledged our privilege of being invited to the table of the Lord where there is always bread.

The entrance song, sung in Spanish, spoke at once of the sense of the Congregational-body that we have lived from the beginning of the Chapter and of the Holy Spirit to whom we have prayed so fervently :

People of God,

All of us united form a single body,

A people that was born at Eastertime.

Members of Christ redeemed in His blood,

the pilgrim Church of God.

May the power of the Spirit                   

that the Lord sent from the Father,

live in us.

He leads us, guides us, and feeds us,

the pilgrim Church of God.

 

Readings appropriate for the day

The day of the election fell on the feast of St. James the Greater, a fisherman mending his nets when Jesus called him to follow him. A perfect date for us who, at the beginning of the Chapter, were called, individually, to go out into the deep and cast our nets. Bishop Dognin, in his homily, also emphasized the relevance of the Gospel of the day where the mother of James and John implores Jesus to give the best places in the Kingdom to her sons. Jesus replies, “Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant.” This is a message in line with the Rule of Life which speaks of authority in the Congregation as a service.

We bring you, Lord …

At the offertory procession, Sisters from all of the entities brought bread, wine, earth and its fruits, a globe :

Sr Lucy Alexander of Dominica :

« We bring, Lord, the bread kneaded with our hands that will become your body. »

Sr Patrocinia Gutierrez Garcia from Honduras :

« We bring, Lord, the wine pressed with our hands that will become your blood. »

Srs Marie Bontolé from Africa and Liliane Abgrall from France :

« We bring, Lord, our gifts, the fruits of our efforts, bless them from your heart.»

Sr Gisèle Lacerte from Canada :

« We bring, Lord, this world wounded by evil, you love it, and protect it. »

Entrusting of the Rule of Life

Sr Micheline Cormier,the former Superior General, gave a copy of the Rule of Life to Sr Patricia Guillet, the new Superior General, to signify her sending out.

Like Him, know how to set the table

The song sung after communion underlined again our desire to serve as the Lord served.

Like Him, know how to set the table

Like Him, know how to tie on our aprons

how to get up each day

and serve in love like Him

A festive table

The singing continued as the Sisters made their way to the dining room, moving to a festive table this time. The chef had prepared a special meal for us, animated by singing and dancing.

A sign that the Daughters of Jesus, including the new Superior General, know how to recognize and give thanks for the gifts of God.

And the rest of the afternoon? Well, the animators gave us time for a longer siesta before meeting again at 4 p.m. in the chapter room to begin the preparation of the discernment in view of the election of the General Councillors on the 27th of July.

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