As with the election of the Superior General the day before, the capitulants had spent time in recollection and silence before gathering in the chapter hall for morning prayer and the election of the General Councilors.
We invoked the Holy Spirit so that the hearts of the capitulants might be disposed to listen to the will of God :
Come Spirit of God
You, the Spirit of God, creator …
You, the light in our night …
You, who are our defender …
You, the strength in our combat …
You, who are the peacemaker …
You, the fire of truth …
Reading of the Gospel of the day, St Matthew, 13, 44 – 46
The Gospel of the day spoke to us of a hidden treasure, a hidden pearl of great value. The merchant sells all he possesses to buy the pearl. Those leading the prayer remind us that :
“God is always searching for fine pearls, the pearls that are each one of us, knowing that it is to serve in His Kingdom. All of us are precious in His eyes …There are Sisters who will be elected and sent out to serve as Jesus did.”
“You scrutinize me, Lord“
We sing psalm 138.
Tú me sondeas, Tú me conoces,
Tú me hablas, o mi Señor
Tu me sondes, Tu me connais,
Tu me parles, ô mon Seigneur
You probe me, You know me,
You speak to me, o my Lord
Election of the General Councillors
After the morning prayer, the capitulants proceeded to the election of the four General Councillors who will ‘collaborate with the Superior General in animating the Congregation’ (Rule of Life n° 83.2). We didn’t have to wait too long before we could congratulate the newly elected Councillors. Together, they will make up the General Council of the Daughters of Jesus for the six years to come.
Presentation of each Councillor
Sr Patricia Guillet, Superior General
I grew up, studied, and began my professional life as an infant schoolteacher in the Diocese of Rennes. A short stay in the Ivory Coast awakened in me the question of a possible commitment to follow Christ on the path of religious life. An experience as a lay missionary in Honduras, alongside a Daughter of Jesus community, allowed me to continue my discernment. My values and personal project are in line with the charism of the Daughters of Jesus: to honour the Humanity of Jesus, “in our concern for human development according to the Gospel principles, we collaborate with others to build a world of greater justice and brotherhood, where the freedom and dignity of all will be restored.” RL 10.
The formative stages of postulancy and novitiate led me to a first commitment in the Congregation in 1999 and then a definitive commitment in 2006. I lived my community experiences in Brittany and in the Val de Marne while continuing my work as a teacher and my commitments in the parishes. Then, in 2009, I received the call to go to Latin America to ensure the accompaniment of the postulants. I continued this service to the Congregation upon my return to France in 2013. The 2016 Chapter led me to another mission, that of General Councillor.
What I retain from this journey: There is no small or large mission. Whatever the place and the mission with which we have been entrusted, it is always a call to love and serve as Jesus did. “Love God and go your way…Be a link between the neighbour with whom you will be in contact.” (Mother Marie de St. Charles – May 1868)
Sr Elisabeth Blanc, First Councillor
I am originally from the South of France and my family roots are in the rural world. The call to religious life brought me to the “Daughters of Jesus” of Vaylats in the South/West of France.
It is in this rural context that I lived the charism with my Sisters, as a teacher with infants, and in pastoral ministry: catechesis, accompaniment of young people and adults, in proximity to the population.
In 2002, I put on the apron of service to accept the mission of Superior General, to live and accompany the journey that led us to the fusion with the Daughters of Jesus of Kermaria in 2011. It was a deeply spiritual experience, both demanding and rich.
Provincial for six years, I then enjoyed the gift of a sabbatical year and three years in the Postulancy community at Issy les Moulineaux on the outskirts of Paris.
This intercultural experience fulfilled one of my deepest desires – seven Sisters, and the three continents of Africa, South America, and Asia living daily life together.
For the past year, I have been in community in Brittany at Locminé near Kermaria, as a Councillor on the new Provincial Council.
I have had a lot of joy in this mission on the Council and in proximity with the communities but on the shore of Locquirec, during the Chapter, a new boat was waiting for us, and the call of Jesus was stronger than anything.
With my Sisters of the General Council, I will cast the nets.
Sr Colette Gélinas, Councillor
My name is Sr Colette Gélinas. I was born in St Mathieu-du-Parc, in the Province of Quebec, Canada. I am 60 years old, and I made my religious profession on November the 25th, 1986.
I am a social worker by profession. Proximity to people and paying attention to human dignity have always been close to my heart. Among my apostolic commitments, my experience in Haiti has deeply marked me.
I have been a member of the General Council team since 2016. I have the joy of continuing this mandate with a new team. With my Sisters, I have the desire to respond to this call to promote unity in the Congregation and to seek together how to respond to the calls of the Lord in our world today, according to our charism of humanization.
Sr Dora Ramos Castañeda, Councillor
I was born on July 22, 1965, in a small town, called Tenjoalnque, which is known as the ‘lung’ of the capital, Bogota, in Colombia. At the age of 13, my father, mother, and the family of 10 children – I am the seventh – moved to another town even closer to Bogota, called Funza.
In 1987, I met the Daughters of Jesus and was struck by their closeness to the people. With the Congregation of the Sons of Charity and the Daughters of Jesus, I came to know the Bible reading and the movements, especially those for children, with whom we read the Gospel and were invited to carry out small transforming actions in our everyday lives.
This closeness between life and the Gospel has marked my whole life, including my professional studies and formation in sociology and environmental management. That has led me today to a strong commitment to our ‘common home’ and the indigenous communities of the Amazon.
Of course, I am full of gratitude for the Congregation in which I am about to celebrate 30 years of commitment and my love for the charism and mission in which I have participated throughout my religious life.
I have now been asked to assume another mission in the service of the General Council. I ask God to continue to be my strength to assume this mission. I count on the prayers of my Sisters, and I am grateful for their trust.
Sr Ruthina Francis, Councillor
I am Ruthina Francis from the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Following my postulancy in Haiti from september 1995 to August 1996, I went back to Dominica to begin my two year formation as a novice. During the second year of novitiate, I went to Jamaica for a six month working experience at a centre for adolescent mothers. I pronouced my first vows in the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus on the 10th of October 1998 at Soufriere in Dominica. As a junior sister, I did two years of religious studies in France at l’institut Catholique de Paris. I was based in the community of Chartres.
In 2010, before going on mission to Cameroun, I did a one-year program in France for religious formators. After ten years as the director of a residence for university students and at the same time responsible for the junior sisters in the African province. I then moved to the Ivory Coast where I was a teacher at a catholic Secondary school and director for a residential home for high school girls.
I am sure that the same Spirit which has journeyed with our Founders since the beginning of the Congregation has been with us at the Chapter. May that spirit of wisdom continue to guide me on the journey in my new mission as a councillor.