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Provincial Chapter Of The Province Of Europe 

March 1, 2024

Between January 4-6 2024, 41 sisters from the Province of Europe met in Paris, in our motherhouse, Auteuil for a Provincial Chapter. The Chapter was in preparation for a month-long General Chapter (a meeting of sisters from the worldwide Congregation to discern priorities for the following 6 years) which will take place in July in Paris. Here is Sr Alma’s account of the general chapter: 

The joy of being a province 

Our province is made up of the former provinces of England-Scotland, Italy and Northern Europe (Belgium + Lithuania) and has been in existence for 5 years! It’s been 5 years that we have been working to build communion together. It was challenging with 4 different languages; diverse traditions and histories and a certain amount of ‘mourning’ regarding our experience of monocultural provinces… There was a lot of work to be accomplished: to get to know and understand each sister through chapters, assemblies, mutual visits, joint communities, video conferences of our respective countries, shared news, working groups, communal prayers, visits from the provincial and the council… In this preparatory chapter for the General Chapter, we re-read our holy history and all acknowledged through this process, that we are truly sisters of the same province! 

The joy of welcoming our differences without comparing or judging each other  

We learn to enjoy a broader life and we experience that it is possible to move together towards the same goal without following the same path, as Sr Kotryna Danguolė told us in her opening talk. The lay people who were with us on the first day, virtually and in person, represented a beautiful diverse group of people who feel responsible for the charism of the Assumption – working in schools, spirituality groups and other commitments in pastoral care or migrant services. 

Diminution and care  

Kotryna Danguolė straightforwardly reminded us that our province was born from a process of reduction: a scarcity of vocations, aging of the sisters and reduction of forces. Therefore, it is necessary to shrink our missions and our presence. We are in this dynamism, which is common with the Church of Europe as a whole. Although this can be experienced as a form of mourning, it may also be a calling and a grace, for old age must be experienced as a mission! 

We talked a lot about the culture of care: caring for our sisters who are living the final stages of their lives; caring for those affected by illness and for those who are younger and who give themselves fully to the mission and community animation. As Sr Rekha told us, we must take care of our relationships; of our “inner voice” and for our societies and their crucial missions – welcoming migrants from all over the world, educating young people and supporting people… There is no lack of zeal among sisters of all ages! 

Grace of being at the Motherhouse 

Being in Auteuil was a gift. The simultaneous translation devices were necessary for us, but above all it was a grace to be there at the heart of the Congregation; to visit the museum; to pray with Marie Eugénie; to celebrate a beautiful international liturgy; to meet the General Community and to fraternize with the community of the house which welcomed us so well. We were able to conclude with a party with a surprise welcome of the “Befana” (the equivalent of Santa Claus for the Italians), to hear a wild accordion and to play a Lithuanian game which made us all laugh heartily!