byJoanne Gallagher, CSJ Special to The Pilot
During 2017 and 2018, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston and associates will gather for chapter weekends in September, October, February, and March.
A special theme is selected each time the sisters prepare for a general chapter. The theme for the 2017-2018 chapter is "Impelled by God's inclusive Love."
The sisters describe the general chapter process as "a time of communal discernment and decision making that emerges from communal and personal prayer, contemplative listening, and conversation. We gather in the name of Christ Jesus, impelled by God's inclusive Love, and confident that the Holy Spirit breathes with and within us."
The October and September weekends are known as "Chapter of Affairs." This is a time for sisters and associates to be together in community; a time for discerning the needs of the times; and a time for evaluating the life of the congregation in the light of these calls.
The February and March weekends are called "Chapter of Elections." As the sisters consider what God is calling them to at this time in the life of the congregation, the Church, and the world.
"We ask one another who among us might the Holy Spirit be inviting to lead us in implementing these calls. And so, the Chapter of Elections leads to identifying a new leadership team," the sisters said.
Sisters who commit to full participation in all chapter weekends are eligible to be voting participants during the general chapter. For the 2017-2018 chapter, 110 sisters have committed to this form of participation. Other sisters and associates will be present as consulting participants. Sisters and associates who, for reasons of health, distance, or personal commitments, cannot be present have committed to be supporting participants through prayer, dialogue, and implementation of chapter decisions.
"As women of the Church and rooted in the Gospel, we realize we are part of an ever-widening circle of relationships. We count on the prayers of all sisters, associates, partners in ministry, family, friends, benefactors, and our 'dear neighbors' near and far," the sisters said.