XXI General Chapter
Nov 30 closure of the XXI General Chapter
Today was the formal closure of the XXI General Chapter of the Sisters of the Divine Savior in Rome. A final photo of participants was taken. Suitcases are being packed and final arrangements are being made for departures. The Chapter atmosphere and spirit was profound and prayerful. Chapter facilitator and spiritual guide complimented one another as they assisted greatly in the reflections and keeping delegates focused. Sister Edith, outgoing Superior General, concluded the closure with expression of gratitude for God’s guidance and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit among delegates, participants, translators, presenters, and committees. In closing remarks Sister Edith stated, “cultivate your relationships and take our Congregation with you into the future. Our Salvatorian way is one of being with the Savior as His disciples which marks our journey of peace and justice with people throughout the world.” Then Sister Edith and Sister Yaneth, newly elected General Superior, presented each delegate with a symbol of blessing as all sang ‘Salvator Mundi, Salva nos’. Fr. Milton and other generalate members of the Fathers, concelebrated Mass on this Feast of St. Andrew.
Delegates of the XXI General Chapter worked all day on the formation, revision, and writing of proposals for chapter decision and approval by vote. Chapter session recessed at 5:45 PM to be resumed tomorrow morning. The day concluded with Mass prepared by the Sisters from South Tyrol.
The newly elected General team will begin their term of office from 24.02.2019
Congratulations to the newly elected General Councillors
S. LILLY KURIAN (Re-elected as the General Councillor)
Sister Lilly Kurian, 55 years old, born in Idukki, Kerala (India), since 2012 Member of the Generalate. She expects that – through a deeper experience of our Savior Jesus Christ – each member of the Congregation may become a Bridge of Mercy and Justice. For her, the most significant sentence of Father Jordan is the following: „Hold fast to the truth in everything, for God is the Truth!“ (SD I/82)
S. JACQUELINE MWAKASU KONA (Elected as the General Councillor)
Sister Jacqueline Mwakasu Kona, 49 years old, born in Kolwezi (Dem. Congo Republic) – among other tasks – was the Local Superior in our Zambia Mission. She is a teacher and social operator and was also Mistress of the Candidates and Novices. She wants to build Bridges through the accompaniment of children and people in need. Her preferred quotation from Father Jordan is the following: “Only one person filled with apostolic zeal is necessary to enflame a whole nation.”
S. EWA TONACKA (Elected as the General Councillor)
Sister Ewa Tonacka, 56 years old, born in Szczecin (Poland), is actually the Leader of the Polish Province. Her preferred reference from Father Jordan is the following: „Not to progress is to regress“ (SD I/27), which became quite significant to her during the jubilee year. Through our being with the people and witnessing the love of Jesus, we are able to build Bridges of Mercy and Justice.
S. RENÁRIA BEZERRA DA SILVA (Elected as the General Councillor)
Sister Renária Bezerra da Silva, 40 years old, born in Barbalha, CE (Brazil, São Paulo Province). In her home country she is responsible for vocation promotion and spiritual accompaniment of Lay Salvatorians. For her, the most significant quotation from Fr. Jordan after the jubilee is the following: „Often renew and strengthen within yourself the three theological virtues. When embattled, especially holy hope!“ (SD I, 122). For her it is important to build Bridges of Mercy for the life of all Peoples – beyond all Continents and Units – by means of our various gifts and know-how.
To all the new General Councilors we wish much energy and strength and God’s grace in their new Office!
We are particularly happy that Sister Jacqueline is our first fellow sister, being a member of the International Leadership Team. Now, all Continents, where Salvatorian sisters are present, are also represented in the Generalate. The big challenge in an International Congregation has to be lived on a lower level, because of the collaboration of persons coming from different cultures and mother tongues. The official working language of the Generalate remains English. The General Superior and her Council will be supported by the General Treasurer, Sister Brigitte Thalhammer (Austria) and the General Secretary, Sister Juby Mathew (India) – as well as by other administrative collaborators.
We wish the General Team God’s blessings in leading the Congregation!
With joy we announce that S. Maria Yaneth Moreno Rodriguez is elected as the tenth General Superior of the Sisters of the Divine Savior.
This morning in Rome, at the XXI General Chapter, the International Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Savior elected Sister Maria Yaneth Moreno Rodrigues as Superior General.
Sister Yaneth, 54, was born in Rionegro, Santander, Colombia. She was professed on 8-12-1985 and currently was serving as a Member of the Generalate Council. Sister Yaneth has multicultural experience and speaks Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, and French. Sister writes: “My hope is that each Salvatorian Woman can live and practice mercy and justice in her daily life, and in her fraternal relationship within the Community and everywhere within her apostolate.” After this year of Father Jordan’s Jubilee, she shared the following passage from Fr. Jordan which is especially meaningful for her. She quotes: “I would like to leave you a special heritage, if I may so speak; and this heritage is great confidence in God. When you pray, put all your confidence in God, do not trust in your labors, in your skill, in your learnings. Our Salvation comes from above.”
November 17 :
Sisters from Tanzania prepared the Mass last evening in their native language. With drums and instruments they sang beautifully in Swahili. Today, Salvatorian Delegates continue to start looking forward to next week’s discernment election. Electors assume responsibilities concerning the elements of communal discernment in choosing a constellation of persons with varied skills, gifts, and experiences. They also are gathering in Continental groupings to meet and discuss joint efforts of collaboration on various Congregational projects.
For Delegates of the XXI General Chapter, it was a day for Direction Setting with God to guide us. We now evaluated and discerned the life and mission of the Congregation for the future. Having received information from all the Units, shared our realities, demographics, finances, and resources, our Directional Statement is to be an answer to this time in our Church, our World, and, the Congregation’s future of where to invest our precious time, energy, and resources for the sake of the mission. Consideration elicited from the Delegates concerned critical consciousness of our reality and our response to the signs of the times; a spirituality of contemplation and incarnation of the gospel; and collaboration, participation and networking with initiatives for life. The afternoon Mass was prepared by the Sisters from North American Province.
This day began with a preparatory presentation by Fr. Cedric Prakash, S.J., to began our SDS pilgrimage of the XXI General Chapter focusing on the necessary trust we need to allow the Lord’s Spirit to lead us forward through the prism of one’s context, concerns, and commitment reflective of the Congregation’s spirituality, attitudes, and actions. Recalling Pope Francis’ words, we Salvatorians are called to announce mercy and justice to all peoples in all cultures to hear the cries of God’s people in the world. It is a prophetic mission to denounce evil in society by becoming bridges between people and the Savior to collaborate with all our powers to make the Savior known, loved, and served so that all find salvation in Him. The evening concluded with Mass prepared by the Sisters from the Holy Land.
The heart of Salvatorian Identity is to make known the Savior of the World to all people. In a spirit of discerning listening, the Delegates to the 21st General Chapter’s Report calls all Salvatorian women to proclaim and to witness to the gospel. In a process of role playing, Delegates dramatized the dimensions of interculturality, which were expressed in Wholistic Contextualized Formation, Utilization of Technology for Mission, Collaboration with Others in a Culture of Solidarity, and Creating Meaningful Congregational Structures for Mission. In this time of our history, members of the Salvatorian Community are called to confront realties with destructive forces which seek to abolish Christian values with alarming consequences regarding human trafficking, immigration, destruction of the environment and earth, and inequality in the distribution of resources and wealth. The fruitful reflection of today concluded with the Mass prepared by the Congolese Delegates.
Father Milton Zonta, SDS, Superior General of the Salvatorian Fathers, initiated the morning session by addressing the Capitulares at the Salvatorian Sisters’ General Chapter and extending greetings and prayerful support of his Salvatorian Community. At this important time of discernment and decision- making affecting future apostolic work and mission of the Order, Father Milton acknowledged that it is not easy or comfortable to build bridges of mercy and justice among the marginalized and poor without excluding anyone in making the infinite love of Christ known. He reminded the Sisters of the need to be aware that it is the Holy Spirit who calls them on this path of building bridges of mercy and justice, saying that the Salvatorian Mission is always “The Mission of the Holy Spirit” who preceeds, accompanies and follows in everything they do. In response, the Sisters need to realize the richness of their diversity, and to find paths to transmit hope by sharing from thier heart what Our Savior is calling them to in our time and history.
Annette Havenne, Spiritual Facilitator at the Chapter, encouraged ‘listening to the Unit Reports’ essential to beginning the process of this Chapter’s discernment. How and what we bring to others in the building of bridges presupposes flexibility, resilience, forgiveness, interdependency, inner freedom, common values, and inclusiveness, to name a few characteristics of relationships necessary in bridge-building.
The XXI General Chapter was officially convoked on November 1st, The Feast of All Saints, with the theme, Salvatorian Women Building Bridges of Mercy and Justice with People Throughout the World. At 9AM the 56 delegates and participants met for a ritual ceremony of prayer for the opening of the Chapter. After a formal celebratory entrance having joined hands as an expression of building a living bridge with one another, each delegate was called by name, and, answering, “here I am”, she was greeted by Sister Edith, the Superior General, and then, took her place as a delegate.
Sister Edith Bramberger, Superior General, gathered all the participants in a spirit of joy and tenderness, inviting each to be open to the Lord, ready to listen and to do the will of God. To the 56 delegates we were invited with the one important work which is to protect and actualize the treasure which is our charism that manifests the face and love of the Savior to all people throughout the world. We were asked to have a spirit of openness, sensitivity, courage and discernment for a future of building bridges that reveals the plan of Our Savior. Cardinal John Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Office of Consecrated Life, celebrated opening Liturgy with the concelebrant, Father Milton Zonta, SDS, Superior General of the Salvatorian Fathers. Cardinal Aviz, invited us, on the this Feast of All Saints, to reveal holiness to each other and to the people, as sanctity is a profound gift that religious consecrated women offer through our capacity to mold the love of Our Savior in the hearts of all.