Dear Sisters and Associates,
Pace e Bene! The Holy Spirit was alive and well during the April 25-30 General Assembly of the International Franciscan Conference in Assisi and at the UISG (International Union of Superiors General) meeting in Rome from May 2-8. It is difficult to summarize in a few words the impact of the presentations, reflection groups, prayer, liturgies, and informal sharings that these gatherings offered.
150 men and women from 26 countries began the IFC-TOR conference with an opening liturgy in the Portiuncula in a candlelight procession. The theme: "Rooted in Christ, On Fire with the Spirit, Go...Transform the World!" was addressed by the three presenters: Fr. Anthony Gittens, Sr. Nancy Schreck and Sr. Elena Bosetti. After each presentation we separated into five different language groups to reflect further and share from the perspective of our many different countries and cultures.
The Plenary Assembly of the UISG in Rome was an experience of new life and hope for the Church. Over 800 Superior Generals representing 76 different countries attended. Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of CICSAL (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life) celebrated Mass and shared openly and warmly with the Sisters. He expressed a desire to work with us in a world in need of both the masculine and feminine presence. Another day Father Jose Rodriguez, OFM, Secretary of CICSAL, celebrated the Liturgy. He, too, spoke in warm terms about the need to work together well. Both were well received. The conference center held 84 tables of 10 each. At my table were Sisters from India, the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, Ghana, South Africa, and the U.S. If you wish you may view several short videos of the UISG conference and read the presentations of the excellent speakers by going to this website: http://bit.ly/17BBKtp.
The highlight of the week was our private audience with Pope Francis who met with us in Paul VI Auditorium. His words to us were encouraging—he is a new light in the Church. He gave us a Papal Blessing which he said was for every member of our Congregations as well.
Thank you for your prayers and know that you were with me in my heart and prayed for at the holy sites in Assisi and Rome.
Your Sister, Jane
Related article: Pope Francis expresses gratitude for global sisters, stresses obedience - National Catholic Reporter, May 8, 2013