The 21st GENERAL CHAPTER of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide
What is a General Assembly?
– It is a representative assembly of the entire Congregation.
– It is the supreme organ of the Congregation:
the place where the life lines and missionary action of the Congregation are decided
the place where the Superior General of the Congregation and the General Councillors are elected in a climate of prayer, discernment and fraternal sharing.
– It is an experience of the spirit, an event in the life of the Church.
A GUIDE WORD
Let us resume our journey from Bethany caring like Martha and listening like Mary
About the Chapter’s theme, the Conference, after a time of discernment, identified “Bethany” as the “sign” which will lead the journey of preparation for all our local communities.
… And he led them out as far as Bethany …(Lk 24,50)
The text chosen by the Conference in its discernment was proposed to us by the liturgy on 2nd June, Ascension’s Sunday, immediately after our discernment had been accomplished. We received it as a sign of confirmation for our journey
Therefore, we may say that Jesus gave us an appointment at Bethany.
The Gospels mention it 14 times. Bethany is a point of reference, a crossroads, a village on the way. Jesus goes there often, sometimes late at night (Mk 11:11).
It is at Bethany that the “house” is filled with the nicest of perfumes, nard, which is the symbol of beauty and fullness. It is also the symbol of agape, love which is given unconditionally, without asking for anything in exchange. But how long is the way before reaching this symbolic house! The road is steep and stony, yet it is very close to Jerusalem (just two miles away). Bethany’s border ends where the Gethsemane’s wall begins.
At Bethany Jesus said that listening to the Word is “the best part” and proclaimed that the poor will always be with the disciples. They will never be alone: the poor will always be with them.
Bethany is neither only a village, nor simply a house. It is much more than that. It is a project of life and a horizon.
Therefore, dear Sisters, Bethany will be a challenge for us, who will try to read our life and to focus on our future … in the midst of people, on the roads of the world.
Martha and Mary, the two Sisters will be our companions on the journey, as well as Lazarus, to whom Jesu said: “Come out”. He might say it to us too: “Congregation, come out! Get rid of those smelly bandages which still tie you up” …
Yes, dear Sisters, let us be freed from all ropes which prevent us from walking on the road of the future and of the mission. Let us breathe deeply in the nice smell of the “evangelic nard” spread by our charism. Yes, let us be regenerated by this perfume, which abundantly flows from the Word of God and from the texts of the Congregation, and above all, from the pages written by our Foundress.
Lazarus will be with us in this Chapter’s adventure, he who, awaken and freed, dressed up for the banquet, during which the perfume of nard filled the house. Mary too will be with us, she is the faithful disciple who seats at Jesus’ feet, yet she is also ready to run to meet the one who is always waiting for her: «The Master is there and is calling you» (cf. John 11:28). Finally, Martha will be with us, she will no longer be “anxious about many things” (cf. Lk 10: 41) within her house and within her heart, because she is already “out on the road”, with the most beautiful profession of faith in her heart and on her lips: «Yes, O Lord, I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God».