From 4 November until 15 December Lorraine Pratt RSCJ (front row, 4th from left) and Steph Romaine RSCJ (back row, 1st left) took part in a Renewal Programme offered by the Society. They were part of a group of twenty in the 65-75 age group from 13 different countries, who came together in Joigny, St Madeleine Sophie's birthplace. The programme was facilitated by the three members of the Society’s Ongoing Formation Committee: Kathy Conan, Mariado Gorriz and Digna Decanay.
Lorraine and Steph write:
We received a very warm and loving welcome from the Joigny Community who could not have done enough for us throughout our stay. We communicated in English and French with some Spanish thrown in, which was all ably translated by Gabriella and Anna (front and second row left in the group photo).
We began by spending time reflecting and sharing with each other on our lives, our vocation and life in the Society and our ministries and the Mission of the Society. We had excellent input for each of the topics from different RSCJ. Mariajo Ibharrren from Spain led a creative weekend on ‘Emotions at this Stage of Life’. This was followed by a trip to Paris - to St Francois Xavier to visit Sophie, and the Rodin Museum, the original Hotel Biron. Anne Corry, the Society's JPIC Coordinator opened up for us the JPIC Document: Artisans of Hope, which led onto excellent and scholarly input from Paloma Fernandez de la Hoz on Laudato Si’.
We began the week on our Personal Vocation and the Life of the Society today with a Zoom Conference with Bernie Porter, our Treasurer General, who shared with us the Congregational Study of statistics and projections forward which led to some interesting work for us as a group as we tried to imagine a very trimmed down Society in 15 years’ time! This was followed by another Zoom session with Nuria O’Callaghan who reminded us about ‘Mental Models’ from ’U’ Theory as we all prepare for the Special Chapter in 2021.
This led us to the final week, before our eight day retreat, when we had a weekend with Mariola Lopez from Spain on Spirituality, and spirituality of the heart, where amongst other things, we looked at the part played by women in both Old and New Testaments. Our last outing was to Vezelay to visit the Medieval cathedral of Light with the help of Francois Rollin from BFN Province who knows every stone in the building!
We are both very grateful for having had this experience and have returned home refreshed, renewed and recycled and ready for the next however many years! We also look forward to celebrating fifty years from our First Profession of Vows in March.
Centrepiece from the sending liturgy at the end of the programme