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Chapter 6
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One of the most enriching aspects of the 18th General Chapter was the participation of lay partner representatives from the four zones.

The two men and two women were invited to present about their collaboration with the SVDs in their respective contexts, as well as participate in the agenda of the chapter in the fullest way possible.

Despite not being able to vote, their presence throughout the four weeks of the chapter added much value to the discussions and the overall dynamics of the event. SVD Lay partners are a blessing for us. Also the presence of two SSpS, Sisters Juana and Philomena, throughout the whole Chapter was very much appreciated.

Discernment: Key element in our religious life and mission

The outgoing General Council and the two moderators of the 18th General Chapter, Tim Norton, SVD and Sister Miriam Altenhofen, SSpS, intentionally designed the deliberations that would take place throughout the general chapter to be part of an ongoing discernment process that began even during the preparation period.

Discernment took place in basic groups, in the sub-zonal and zonal meetings, in the plenum, and of course, on an individual basis. The process, which consisted of personal and group prayer, reflection, open sharing, and days of recollection, was designed to assist in the important task of electing the leadership team for the next six years.

Thanks to individual and group discernment, the members could be confident that those elected to lead the Society could not only represent the Society well in terms of experience and administrative skills, but also in the ability to model the way of living and working together as an intercultural leadership team.

These are leaders who, as one provincial said in his homily, are willing to have their lives “interrupted” so that they could be at the service of the whole society. They are also leaders who are not going to put new wine into old wine skin, but rather find ways to make the old wine skin become supple and new so that it could be useful for the new wine, as suggested by Sr. Patricia Murray, IBVM, in her recollection talk.

Discernment was not only employed in the election of the leadership team, but it was also instrumental in the discussion about areas of focus for the Society in the future. In both small and large groups, members had a chance to reflect on the joys experienced and challenges confronted during the last six years, as well as areas to focus on in the years to come. Issues, such as the formation of people for the mission, family and youth, migrants and refugees, and the wellbeing of the environment, came to the forefront as members reflected on the most pressing concerns of the contemporary globalized world.

One of the fruits of the discernment process was the affirmation by the capitulars that the Society is ready for the spiritual renewal and transformation reflected in the Chapter Statement. The document recognizes that in the preparation for the 2018 general chapter our members became aware that we need to engage in a process of renewal of oneself, community life, and mission.

Furthermore, the reports from our provinces, regions, and missions showed a deep desire for spiritual renewal and transformation that could bring us back to the Word of God as the source of our life, vocation, and mission.

Fr. Heinz Kulüke and the Leadership Team

Posted in the newsletter “Arnoldus Nota” - August 2018

Other Notes

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SVD Spiritual animation II

With Fr. Peter Dusicka, SVD, General Spiritual Animation Coordinator.
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SVD Spiritual Animation III

The transforming love of Christ: in the process of a spiritual transformation /The transforming love of Christ. Fr Peter Claver Narh Kwame, SVD
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