Sr. Angela Kapitingana, from the Nairobi community in Kenya, shares her experience of the last two General Chapters
Looking back at my experiences of the past two chapters of 2011 and 2017, I realize how the Congregation has been attentive to the needs of the time, the calls of the Church and the reality of the Congregation.
Our mission experience has been a guide in our communal discernment to find the best way to live our charism in a changing world.
Actually, these realities are well expressed in the four apostolic orientations (Capitular Acts 2017, page 12) and the theme itself of the 2017 Chapter: “Bearers of Hope, listening to the voice of the Spirit moving forward together towards the peripheries”. As MSOLA we desired to live this in the present situation of the Church and the globalized world.
The theme for the forthcoming chapter is “The transforming love of the Risen Lord calls us to journey together without fear, to deepen our charism in collaboration with others and to expand our tent, giving birth to a new creation.”
This is intertwined with the previous one. It is marked however by what we have lived during the past six years: the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic and the following economic crisis. We heard the urgent call to live in solidarity with creation through the MSOLA project of an Integral Ecology, the role of women and the continuous implications of globalization, the growing inequalities between rich and poor and the relationship to wealth and power.
What touched me most in the two general chapters I attended was the common search for living the shared vision/mission in our different realities, making our own the common finding. The aspect of walking together remains quite strong in this journey together.
Important attitudes to be lived during a general chapter: It is well said that “experience is the best teacher”. I learned that certain attitudes are primordial during a chapter. They include for me:
- Live the general chapter as a faith-centered gathering and be totally open to a process of discernment, as we are seeking together where the Spirit is leading our religious family in fidelity to our charism
- Be women of prayer
- Be open to the diversity of cultures
- Be a good listener open, positive and inclusive
- Respect those who have opinions different from mine
- Be capable of seeing the bigger picture
- Be committed to maintain an “open mind, heart and will”
- Remain at peace even when the group is confused or experiencing tensions
- Free oneself from expectations of particular results
- Believe that the Holy Spirit will be at work throughout our reflection and discernment.
Sr. Angela Kapitingana, Nairobi, Kenya