Twelve lay women from Canada, India, and the USA came to Le Puy to participate in the Mission Effectiveness program directed by Sister Dolores Clerico of Philadelphia. They were CSSJ administrators for institutions and congregational offices, teachers, school counselors, and health care providers who were there to learn more about the history and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph as well as their fundamental place within the call and mission of unity.
The women visited the Kitchen (see photo above) where the first sisters gathered.
They also experienced the Scenography, which provides artifacts and video information about the history of the sisters.
They went to Lyon to learn more about Mother St. John Fontbonne, who re-organized the congregation in Lyon after the French Revolution.
They visited Mother St. John Fontbonne's grave.
"Good and gracious Lord! We praise and thank you for this awesome day. As we all move ahead, we implore you to be in our midst and inspire us every moment. Let each of us breathe your presence and experience YOU in all our dealings and encounters."
|Rajathi, Gordana, and Cal|
Participants were then invited into the prayer with the circling of the flowers.
Each participant placed a symbol of what the week-long program meant to her on the altar. These items included: candle, pen, mobile phone, spoon, rose bud, mirror, roots, fruit juice, leaves, after, lace.
The group closed the prayer service by joining hands in a circle and declaring that "We are all one!" The group was so inspired by the experience of the week that they are organizing a reunion during the year in Boston.
"This was an extraordinary group of women who gathered together to share their insights and callings to the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph," said Sr. Dolores Clerico, program director and leader. "They came here to explore the story and spiritual heritage of the Sisters and were open to whatever else God wanted to do for them. It seems to me they left here with a deeper meaning and purpose to their lives and works. It was an amazing experience to be with them."
Comments from the Participants
"This experience has been amazing. While I am leaving with a thousand questions, I know so much more about the Sisters’ charism and way of being I also have many resources to help me find answers and continue on my journey."
"I have described this week as a journey of learning about religion, culture, and self psychology. Spectacular!"
"I am not leaving with a task or to-do list, and I am okay with this!! I am leaving with a sense of how to be more present in my leadership and a deeper understanding of the charism. My colleagues have shared some wonderful examples of how to bring the charism alive."
"The strengths of the program include linking CSSJ history with current day’s relevancies. The setting in Le Puy is incredible. The program was both insightful and was led at a good pace."