Over the past two and a half years I have been part of the Congregational Chapter Planning Committee in Rome. We were a group of 18 women coming from 14 different countries. Along with representatives from the Congregational Leadership Team we included a lay Mission Partner, Theresa Symons from Malaysia, and our two facilitators, Jill McCorquodale and Patty Fawkner from Australia. When we first met in June 2012 we began a journey together which will culminate with the Congregational Chapter in June 2015.
Like all journeys there were times of energy, risk, uncertainty, reflection, stillness and hope as we moved towards our goals of planning for the ICAs, CACS and the Chapter. As we came together for our 6 monthly meetings there was a growing sense that we were energised by the spirit to risk together for mission.
Our facilitators enabled a space for dialogue where different viewpoints were respectfully explored. At times courage was needed to go ahead in directions where the outcomes were unclear.
Also over the course of the journey we changed. As in life, members coped with personal loss with the deaths of family members, unexpected illnesses and changes in apostolic ministries.
We celebrated together many times such as when the chapter logo evolved, when the preparation booklet came together and as we evaluated the ICAs and CACS. In the process of completing our tasks we were enriched by each other and the unity of the Good Shepherd spirit found in the group.
When I look back over the ministries I have been involved with in recent years I find an echo of what I experienced in the Chapter planning group. There has been uncertainty, risk taking, obstacles and always a sense of hope and communion.
I found this in various provinces of Asia as I worked as a facilitator. It began in 2007 when I was invited to the East Asia province to facilitate their chapter. It was new for me and I imagine a challenge for many of our sisters. However we went forward together and the Good Shepherd energetic spirit found new paths of expression. I have had similar experiences as I worked in other provinces as well as with the Asia Pacific Partnership Team and the Asia Pacific Circle.
In our province of Australia/New Zealand we are involved with a different expression of risk taking and hope as we develop structures with our lay Mission Partners to enable Good Shepherd ministries and mission to continue into the future.
I think of St Mary Euphrasia and her intent to establish an international congregation where Good Shepherd mission could grow in the richness of diversity. I am optimistic as I see developments in our region and I remain curious and delighted to be part of the energising spirit of God in these challenging world times.
16 participants from many provinces of Asia Pacific responded to the call to learn the skills of facilitation at a workshop held in Ipoh, Malaysia from 31 March to 8 April
Representatives of these Asia Pacific Core Teams met on 7-8 July 2016 to develop a Co-Responsibility framework for Good Shepherd Mission
The Congregational Chapter takes place every 6 years. This 30th Chapter was held in the Mother House, Angers France from 7 June – 2 July 2015
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
Reconciliation holds special meaning in the Australian nation - it describes the long journey towards full acknowledgment of the rights of the Indigenous Peoples
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand: providing governance and enabling the sustainability and development of Good Shepherd ministries into the future
In Sydney, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand offers an alternative education to young people, as a way to break the cycle of poverty and abuse
Indigenous women in Australia offered support to complete higher education. This increases their capacity for leadership, and financial empowerment