- Published: Friday, 20 July 2018 12:16
LAY MSC NEWSLETTER, MARCH 2018
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Greetings to all through this first newsletter for 2018. I pray that it will be a year of blessings for all of us.
Some of you would be aware that during the last ten years I have been producing booklets on aspects of the history of the Australian Missionaries of the Sacred Heat. I have focussed on biographies of some remarkable MSC as well as on special areas of ministry.
This year I plan to write a history of the Lay MSC in Australia. The movement began in 1971 through the ministry of Michael Fallon in Sydney and myself in Canberra. We had become aware of the original vision of our Founder to have a lay branch of our congregation which he called a Third Order. It had lapsed following his death in 1907.
In the 1970s Michael had several groups of young people in Sydney, mainly university students, while I had one group in Canberra consisting generally of parents of Daramalan students. Our Provincial Chapter of 1980 gave official endorsement to the movement. Gradually groups were formed in other cities where there was an MSC community.
While I have the assistance of much archival material, it would help me considerably to make a more interesting story if existing groups could provide me with some personal recollections of significant events and programs that occurred over the years. If that could be discussed and a report sent to me by May 31 I would be most grateful.
Meantime Fred Stubenraugh and the Lay and Professed MSC Council are attempting to extend the Lay MSC outreach. A report on this occurs elsewhere in this newsletter.
God’s blessings to you all.
Jim Littleton MSC
At the General Assembly of the Laity of the Chevalier in Sao Paulo, Brazil in July 2017 the General Guiding Principles and Statutes of the Laity of the Chevalier Family were officially approved by those present.
They are a great step forward in the development of the worldwide organisation of the laity of the Chevalier Family.
There are certain implications for the organisation of groups of Lay people associated with OLSH and MSC in the various countries.
The members of the MSC Lay and Professed Council and the OLSH Leadership Team have begun discussing those implications and it has been proposed to hold a symposium of members of the Council and others to give thought to a way forward.
I must confess that it is my idea to hold such a meeting and I came up with the word symposium after which thought I should check its meaning!!
Doctor Google gave me the following: Symposium.
a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject.
a drinking party or convivial discussion, especially as held in ancient Greece after a banquet (and notable as the title of a work by Plato).
Could I point out that the former is the idea I had in mind!!
The minutes of the symposium follow and also a letter from the International Council, some of the information in it is repeated in the minutes.
I would be grateful if you would send any comments on these articles or ideas for the agenda for future meetings.
Best wishes to all!
LAITY OF THE CHEVALIER FAMILY, MARCH 4th, ST MARY'S TOWERS
Fred Stubenrauch, Sue Stubenrauch, Paul Compton, Katherine Tonini, Aidan Johnson, Alison McKenzie, Phil Fitzgerald, Ancilla White, Therese Poulton, Ellenmary Lomman, Terie McNamara, Claudette Hiosan, Jenny Missen, Judith Carroll, Jan Clark,Christine Sivewright, Marian England, Irene Crittenden, Dain Inglis, Steve Dives, Maureen Maher, Gemma Farrugia.
Apologies: Sarah Beer, Alex Ying, Jim Littleton, Martha Johnson
The group met for Mass with the SMT parish followed by morning tea with parishioners. They then gathered at Heartworks at 10:30 am.
Record of the meeting
The gathering began with each person introducing themselves to the group.
Reflection: Ancilla presented a reflection titled, “New Wineskins”. Something new cannot be constrained by older structures and methods. It is time to look at things differently.
Jenny Missen generously agreed to prepare a record of the meeting.
- 1. Why are we here?
To help guide the Australian Province of MSC, OLSH, MSC Sisters and wider Chevalier family in a response to the “Guidelines” document approved by the General assembly of the Laity of the Chevalier Family, July 2018.
(“Guidelines” refers to the document “General Guiding Principles and Statutes of the Laity of the Chevalier Family”)
The MSC sisters had been contacted and while they were unable to be present, we include them in our considerations.
- 2. We next considered Jules Chevalier’s vision of professed and lay people involved in the mission of bringing God’s Love to the world.
We referred to the paper presented by Hans Kwakman MSC in Sao Paulo July 2017. Jules Chevalier was very insistent on the inclusion of the laity in the mission. The original vision of Fr Chevalier is outlined in the quote from Fr Ramiére, ‘In case the Vatican is not prepared to include secular priests or laity in these Constitutions, then the MSC Congregation will in no way differ from “one hundred and one” already existing congregations’
Fr Denis Murphy MSC was quoted as stating that at times the laity are even more essential than the professed. “Reading his early publications, about the nature and mission of his Society, I have the strong impression that (Fr. Chevalier) would have found it unthinkable, or perhaps even impractical, to speak of changing the world and its values without involving laity, for they were the ones more intimately immersed in that world. Religious priests, brothers, sisters, together with secular priests, had an essential role to play, and Father Chevalier stressed that. But if Christ’s mission was to be continued in the world on all levels of society, the role of the laity was at least equally as essential and at times even more essential
There was discussion highlighting the various aspects of Fr Kwakman’s talk, including the need for a change in the model from one in which the Professed are the centre to a way for Lay to be part of the formation of the “congregation” in a more formal way.
- 3. The International Council
Alison gave us an outline of her role as General Secretary of the International Council for the Lay Branch of the Chevalier family and their work to date.
The International Council currently consists of Alison, Rita Cleuren (Belgium) and Doris Machado (Brazil) accompanied by Fr Hans Kwakman. In the future the Council will be joined by people from each continent.
Rita, Doris and Alison are learning to work together via email. There have been trials with Skype and conference calls but this mode has so far been unsuccessful. So for now, email is the way to go and, of course there will be a need to meet face to face some time. This will take place in July in Issoudun with Fr Kwakman, and members of the Tri- Generalate.
The group invites all to contribute to the agenda for that meeting.
Currently, the trio is developing an accurate email database of those associated with the lay branch of the Chevalier Family.
The Imprimatur – international logo – will be located on any communication that comes from the International Council.
All documents need to be translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, English and French. This all takes a long time.
There is also a need to enact one of the key requests from Brazil – to find ways to become financially autonomous. Requests have been sent to countries to support the international and national councils
We need to articulate a family identity, what does lay spirituality look like? We know that Jules Chevalier’s vision is lived out in our lives both professed and lay. How can we be autonomous but still linked?
This articulation will also have to take into account cultural differences and also the tradition of MSC, OLSH, and MSC sisters as these are all different
- 4. Reading the Guidelines
Each person present spent time individually reading the Guidelines followed by opportunity to talk to a companion.
- 5. LUNCH - We had a wonderful lunch provided by the SMT kitchen staff and laid out for us by Heartworks (Gemma, Aidan and Kathryn)
- 6. Background of the Guidelines
After a gathering of Lay and Professed of the Chevalier Family in Santo Domingo in 2009 the European Committee was asked to develop the guidelines. After worldwide consultation comments were taken to the gathering in Brazil for consideration.
Some comments offered from the people present at the symposium:
We are MSC and OLSH if our life is committed to loving other people.
We need to reach out and let more people know about the charism.
We want to determine how to describe the culture in lay people terms.
The guidelines allow us to begin the process of moving us towards articulating what is at centre of our charism.
We want to catch the beauty of our charism to empower the laity to be confident and empowered to recognise, live and pass on/share the charism.
We need to work out a formula to cover all the viewpoints of all the groups.
Will the Lay and Professed Council and the OLSH Leadership Group still exist? Yes, because the National Council has a different role at this stage.
There was discussion around the sameness and differences of the groups. The conclusion is that there are many, many ways of implementing the mission, from individual to group. We have the same charism and we are all interested and need to be represented.
- 7. Where to from here?
We need to develop a National Council. How does that happen? It was decided that a steering committee would propose a model and membership.
It is envisaged that the National Council will be inaugurated sometime in 2019 at a date to be set by the steering committee
Alison proposed that we nominate members to form a steering committee with broad based representatives from OLSH and MSC and Heartworks with limited tenure of around a year to develop make up of the National Council.
Fred Stubenrauch as Chair
We also need to consider how we can be self-sufficient financially – a financial structure with $1000 to $1500 per year would be needed to support the International Council. Once formed, the National Council would also need to be financially self-sufficient.
It was decided that the steering committee will meet on Sunday 8th April at St Mary’s Towers.
Meeting closed 3:00 pm with the prayer God without Borders, a prayer said each day at the gathering in Brazil.
Update on the work of the International Council
Membership of the Council
Thus far, the International Council has three members: Alison McKenzie, Doris Machado dos Santos and Rita Cleuren. We are aware that the membership ultimately needs to be five people, one from each continent. The expansion of membership to include a representative from the Asian region or North America and possibly Africa will be discussed at our first face-to-face gathering. We are primarily communicating by email and, so far, that is satisfactory.
We have scheduled a face-to-face Council meeting in Issoudun from 12th – 16th July, 2018. The participants will be myself, Doris accompanied by her husband Ranulfo, Rita Cleuren, Paula as a translator, Fr Hans as the Accompanier of the laity and Sr Merle, as a representative of the Tri-generalate. We have begun the planning for the first Council meeting and welcome suggestions for the Agenda for that meeting.
We have refined the Data Base that the European Committee has used to communicate with the laity of the Chevalier Family over the years. We have a relatively accurate list of the key members and their accompanying religious. The next step is to try to get a contact person for each National Council. We intend to communicate regularly with the Laity through letters and newsletters.
We have translated the logo developed for the Brazil Gathering into all the languages and we intend to use that logo as a sign of authentic communication from the Council. We have also had the Guiding Principles translated into the languages of the family and we are very grateful to the translators for their on-going work. The final edited copy of the Guiding Principles with the logo has been sent out through the data base.
Progress towards self- funding
The Australian Province is in the process of opening an account for the lay movement that will be managed and audited by the Australian Province. The Trigeneralates have each contributed 1,000.00 Eu to that account and the European and Brazilian organising committees have transferred the residue of funds from the Brazil Conference into the fund. We intend sending a request to those countries who may be able to afford it to assist in building up the capital in that account. At this stage, the major cost is in bringing the Council members together, but my feeling is that face-to-face fellowship and meeting is essential if we are to progress in the implementation of the Guiding Principles.
Request for Information
We would like to have a report from each country on their progress towards the implementation of the Guiding Principles before the meeting of the International Council in July. We are not expecting that countries will have fully implemented the principles, but we would like to hear briefly how you are beginning the process.
Could you comment on the following:
Name and contact for your National Council:
- Have you communicated or met together with groups of the Chevalier Family beyond your own group? Can you give some details.
- Have you begun to discern how you will form a National Council in your country? Can you give some details.
- Have you considered how you will appoint a chair of that Council who will have voting rights at the next General Assembly? Can you give details.
- Have you begun to consider how you will fund your National Council and the International Council? Can you give details.
- Can you attach a newsletter of general Communication that you have sent to the laity in your country?
Note: a brief comment is all that is required, but if you wish, you can comment more fully. Write in your own language and we will have your replies translated in time for our meeting in July.