In the province of England and Wales, there is a generational support group for all those born after 1944. In June 2017, when this group met, we expressed our sadness at the outcome of the 2016 referendum, which resulted in the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. We also expressed our regret for the divisions which have been created in our own country because of the now famous BREXIT decision. In light of this, we discussed how we as RSCJ in ENW could maintain and strengthen our relationships with the other provinces of the region of Europe.
We are also aware of the broader context of the ongoing process in the Society of “building up the region of Europe” and the invitation of the calls of Chapter 2016 to cross frontiers.
With all this in mind, we decided to invite some European RSCJ who fall into the same peer group to our meeting in January 2018. While we know there are conversations across the region between RSCJ in specific roles, we also felt we wanted to dialogue with our European sisters, as grass roots members of provinces.
We were happy to welcome RSCJ from most of the European provinces and in total we were 20 people including 10 from the province of ENW. We were aware of the missing voices of provinces which could not be with us for various reasons and our hope is that they will be able to be represented in any future gatherings.
One phrase used at the meeting, which resonated with many, is that Europe is the “air we breathe”. As RSCJ, we are inter-linked, sharing the concerns and joys of each province because we share the air we breathe, our common identity as Europeans.
This meeting had been planned as an initial reflection and conversation to help foster networks of relationship amongst RSCJ across Europe, support each other in mission and reflect on what values we want to live as RSCJ in this region. It was also a gathering full of fun and laughter.
Our hope is that other RSCJ across Europe will initiate similar grass root conversations across the generations, languages and cultures which so enrich our European region. Let us invite each other to continue the dialogue about how we live and sustain the mission of the Society across our complex and fast-changing continent.