Conclusion of the VII Plenary Council Of the School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King
During the second week of the Plenary Council, we reflected on the ever present and real issues and documents of our Congregation: The Missionary Apostolate of the Sisters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, presented by Sr. Mirjam Penić of the Province of Split; Collaboration and Sharing of the Religious Charism with the Laity presented by Fr. Viktor Papež, ofm, member of the Province of the Holy Cross in Slovenia. We heard two accounts of experiences of collaboration and sharing of the charism with the laity: Evangelization and Our Associates by Sr. Therese Ann Quigney, Provincial Superior of Lemont and Itinerary LEFCRe – Lay Franciscan Educators of Christ the King by Sr. Lucila Rodriguez, Provincial Superior of the Province of Argentina-Uruguay. Both the small groups and the assembly did extensive work on the topics contained in the Instrument of Work.
In addition, the General Government had the opportunity to meet with the Provincial/Regional Superiors.
On Wednesday, September 3, the Sisters of the Province of Maribor, in collaboration with the laity, prepared a cultural evening for the members of the Plenary. We enjoyed Slovenian music and song along with pictures of the various regions and folk dances. Through this experience we were introduced to the treasures and the folk customs of Slovenia.
The challenging work of the Plenary Council which we felt very responsible for concluded on Friday, September 5. The Conclusive Document of the VII Plenary Council You Will Be My Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8) was presented that day.
In her closing comments to the Plenary Council, Sr. Klara Šimunović, Superior General, emphasized some moments during our time together: the lighting of the four candles during the opening of the Plenary Council and accompanied us through these days, have been in a symbolic way, the presence and accompaniment of our first Sisters who came from Graz to Maribor. These two weeks have been intense, rich with fraternal sharing, reflection and clarification (revision) of our present and planning for our future. She expressed special thanks to the Province of Maribor, the Provincial Superior, Sr. Terezija Tomazin and her Council and the community of the Mother House.
Sr. Klara invited us to carry in our hearts the fire of the joy of the Gospel, to resume our daily life with greater fervor and willingness, serving the neediest, beginning within our communities.
Following the closing of the Plenary Council, we gathered in the Mother House Church. During the closing prayer, the participants of the Plenary Council received a copy of the Gospels and the mandate of the Superior General to “Go and be His witness to the ends of the earth!” (cfr. Acts 1:8).
Through the participants of the Plenary Council, all the Sisters of the Congregation were symbolically sent on the mission.
On Saturday, September 6, there was a solemn celebration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Sisters from Graz to Maribor. The Eucharistic Celebration took place in the Cathedral in Maribor. Fr. Stane Zore, ofm, Minister Provincial of the Province of Slovenia presided with other concelebrants. Joining the participants of the Plenary Council at the Eucharistic celebration were the Sisters from the Provinces of Maribor, Trieste and Austria and representatives from the School Sisters of St. Francis of Graz.
With the celebration of the Eucharist, we gave thanks to the Lord for the tiny seed of the charism that, in the mystery of God’s Providence, was reserved for us, the School Sisters of St. Francis, and placed in the fertile land of Slovenia. The beginnings of the Congregation were very modest: four Sisters, a house and six poor children. The Lord made this mysterious seed to grow and develop into a well-branched tree under whose shadow they found and many people find refreshment.
In addition, together, we prayed for our Congregation that it has the light on the road to find new models of presence and mission to the neediest so that it can give a living and joyous witness of the Gospel to men and women today.
The celebratory program which followed the Eucharist, reminded us of the arrival and presence of the Sisters in Slovenia and from where the Congregation has extended the missionary mandate to fourteen countries throughout the world. The celebration of the 150th anniversary concluded with a fraternal banquet.
Your continued prayers and written words were a sign to us of your support and assistance in the work of the Plenary Council. Once again, thank you for everything.
Pace e bene!
The 2014 Plenary Council Update Committee