A glimpse of a beautiful celebration, at once intimate and rich in symbols.
A transformed capitular room
On the afternoon of Saturday, July 30th, all of the Chapter participants, capitulants, our two accompanists, translators, and Sisters in service, were invited to gather in a transformed Chapter room. All the tables had been removed. It was no longer a conference room, with files, microphones, and headphones, there were just chairs in a large circle. But the space did not remain empty for long, for the Holy Spirit filled it with his presence as the celebration progressed.
We began in fact, by praying to the Holy Spirit :
- that he would continue the work that he had begun during the Chapter.
- giving back to him our whole being.
- asking that his grace would remain with us.
“Jesús danos celo por tu Reino
para honrar tu Santa Humanidad”
“Jésus, donne-nous du zèle pour ton Royaume, pour honorer ta Sainte Humanité”
“Jesus, give us zeal for your Kingdom,
so that we may honour your Sacred Humanity”
Relation before action
The celebration continued with the reading by Sr Micheline of the recital of the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus in the Gospel of St John, 13, 1 – 15.
“Before the feast of Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass …
« Jesus rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist…»
« Like him, know how to set the table,
Like him, knot the apron.»
At the end of her report, Micheline, in the name of the General Council, handed in her apron. During her six years as Superior General, she knew “how to set the table“, in the way that Jesus did. Now Micheline took the apron and tied it for Patricia as she began her new service of authority.
Patricia, in her turn,then went on to do the same for each member of the new General Council :
« Get up each day
And serve lovingly, like him. »
The washing of the feet
The recital of St John continues with these words of Jesus :
« Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. »
It was an invitation that the members of the new General Council accepted with great humility and deference. Taking jugs of water, basins, and towels, they went around the room to wash the feet or hands of each person.
“I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do. »
Five identical jugs, full of the water of life that Jesus gives to us. Five different basins, to signify the different and varied ways in which we can serve him.
« How did that feel for you? »
We took a few moments to reflect. Having your feet or your hands washed, or yet again, being at the feet of a Sister to wash them, « How did that feel? How did that move me inside? What would I like to share with the others? »
All those who wished to were able to say briefly, how they had lived the experience.
«May the Spirit descend upon the new General Council»
to conclude this powerful moment, Mr. Jacques Fremiot, one of the Chapter accompanists, invited those with the large aprons to stand in front of the basins with the others around them, so that all could pray that the Spirit would come upon the new General Council.
The final word of the new Superior General
We left the final word, however, to our new Superior General, Sr Patirica Guillet, who spoke to us in these words:
Three weeks ago, continuing the journey began in October 2021, in all the entities, we, Daughters of Jesus and Associates, entered this chapter room, which has become the laboratory of the Holy Spirit…. I can say that the master of the place, the Holy Spirit, has made us enter, personally, in small groups, in assemblies, day after day, and ever deeper, into the experience of listening and sharing around the Word of God. This Word welcomed, ruminated, enriched by the word of each and everyone, has given us the joy of tasting the fruits of the action of the Spirit – serenity, trust, respect, freedom, truth, and the list could go on. This Word of God has truly been the foundation of our discernment process together. What a joy!