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Pope Francis meets Sr. Bernadette

Sr. Bernadette Duffy sent us these wonderful photos. Sr. B's Religious Order is holding a CHAPTER in Rome at the minute and provided Pope Francis with the wonderful opportunity to meet her!!

Read about Sr. Bernadette's experience below.





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Holy Cross Sisters – General Chapter

31st May – 22nd June 2019

The experience we are called to reflect upon is our Transforming Presence

For the past two weeks the Holy Cross Sisters have been meeting for their General Chapter at Centro Ad Gentes in Nemi, Italy. There are 45 representatives from four continents of the world, Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America. There are 1530 Holy Cross Sisters who live throughout these for continents in 14 different provinces.

“It is when we meet at an international level that we recognise our differences in languages, appearances, the way we dress, think and live. What unites us in our multiplicity of cultures and over continents is our common origin and our roots out of which our congregation grew.” HCS Menzingen.

The 45 representatives have been elected by their home provinces to form a delegation who meet and prepare through contemplative prayer, silent reflection, interaction and study to elect a new General Leadership Team. The General Chapter while in motion is the highest authoritative body in the congregation. It is this group that will put together the direction and mandate for the whole congregation that will be implemented for the next six years. The implementation, while formulated during this Chapter, will be lived out in the provinces where each delegate comes from.

Part of the three week-long delegation was the wonderful event, that took place on the 12th June, of being present at Pope Francis’ General Audience at St Peter’s Square.

Below Pope Francis’ message to all:

Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we have seen that the Church’s evangelizing mission begins with the resurrection of Christ. As the disciples, together with Mary, waited in the Upper Room for the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit, they were united in prayer. From the beginning, the Church appears as a communion, a community, the People of God. Christ’s choice of twelve Apostles shows the continuity between the Church and the people of Israel. After the defection of Judas, the Apostles were conscious that his place in the Twelve had to be taken by another. Guided by Peter, the community as a whole joined in prayer to discern the Lord’s choice of Matthias. Jesus had told his disciples that they would be known by their love for one another (Jn 13:35). The visible communion of the Apostles was their first form of witness to the Risen Lord and his saving love. May we too bear witness to the reconciling power of that love by our unity, which triumphs over pride and divisiveness, and creates from diversity the one People of God.

This message is so relevant to what we are about as Chapter. I ask you to continue to pray for all of us gathered here that we may be open to the Holy Spirit and have the courage to follow his guidance.

This is a new experience for me as it is my first time to attend a General Chapter. It is such a privilege. I never dreamt that I would be elected to represent the Holy Cross Sisters on behalf of the Southern Africa Province. I guess after 34 years of being a missionary in Africa I am probably more African than Irish… although I will never forget nor want to forget my Irish roots, family, community and country. I am using the opportunity to learn as much as possible and to gain new insights about our congregation and new ways of thinking about forms of leadership, vision and mission.

Meeting Pope Francis was a deeply moving encounter. He extended his prayers and blessing to all our families near and far (of course that means all of you)!

He was truly present to each one of us although I could see he was tired. He returned to the Sisters several times which meant we could shake hands with him a few times. He blessed a small rosary I had in my hand which was given to me by Paula Jordan last year. As he blessed the rosary, he said, pray for me. I was speechless at this emotional moment but in my heart, I promised to pray for him and the church.

I keep each of you often in my prayers too.

God bless,

Sr Bernadette

Italy 2019







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