About 40 CJ sisters from across Europe who are under the age of 60 met for 3 days to get to know each other and to discuss both the challenges and the opportunities facing us. We came from England, Italy, Hungary, Middle Europe, Romania and Slovakia, with the meeting conducted in English and German. Sarah and Naomi were the delegates from the English province. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet each other, to learn about the different provinces and their missions and ministries, and to share ideas and information. It was quickly obvious that the different provinces have different challenges and opportunities, and that by working together these will be changed.
A steering group of 6 sisters had arranged the programme, which was a well balanced mixture of prayer, sharing, input, workshops and social time together. The stunning chapel in the retreat house of Lilienhof, in which we were staying, features some extraordinary sculptures which formed the backdrop to our main prayer times, celebration of the Eucharist, and period of adoration, which brought us together across language barriers.
Sharing groups for each morning’s prayer were a good basis for building up mutual understanding. The workshops were fascinating opportunities to learn something new. Each province was asked to provide a powerpoint presentation about the make-up and ministries of their province, which was a very helpful way of increasing understanding of each other’s work and lives. The social evening also involved offerings from the different provinces, with dancing being a popular feature that got us all moving, clapping and singing.
We hope that future meetings will be held as the European provinces seek to co-operate more closely, and we offer sincere thanks for the General Superior and the European Provincials for enabling this meeting to take place. Many thanks also to the sisters at St Polten who hosted us so brilliantly.