The 25th Plenary Council was held from 24th to 31st March in our General House, located in Rome (Italy), under the theme “Towards a new style of Animation and Government”. During the official opening, there was a fraternal greeting from Sr. Anabela Carneiro, General Superior, who welcomed us on behalf of all the sisters of the General Government. After sharing the challenges of the Congregation, Provinces and Delegations, Sr. Anabela recalled that the service of government must be assumed with an attitude of “humble audacity”.
We welcomed four Brothers of St John of God –Jesús Etayo, Superior General, and the General Councilors Br Pascal Ahodegnon, Br Jose Augusto Gaspar Louro, and Br Vincent Kochamkunnel, who shared with us the model of Government of the Order of Saint John of God. Together, we thanked for the gift of the hospitaller charism during the Eucharist, followed by a fraternal dinner.
With the desire to delve into the purpose of our meeting, Father Gonzalo Fernández, Claretian priest, was invited to give a presentation on the topic. The aim was to deal with the challenges proposed in the 21st General Chapter “Practice Hospitality”, using the innovative Appreciative Inquiry Model, which favours personal, group and Institutional strengths. It encourages a positive leadership style, invites us to develop a vision of the future, to propose helpful strategies, as well as to value an integrating spirituality that supports and promotes the hospitaller charisma.
Trip to Siena
We discovered the city whose emblem is the wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus with an excellent guide. Among other places, we visited the Basilica of St. Dominic, the house of St. Catherine of Siena; the beautiful Cathedral and Piazza del Campo, considered one of the most beautiful urban spaces in Europe, where the traditional horse race ‘Palio di Siena´ takes place. It was an ideal day to promote coexistence, exchange, fraternity and joy and it helped us to continue with the Plenary Council on the following day.
Sr. Maria Ester Berruete, Vicar General, presented the working document: “Indications/Guide for the Organisation of the Provincial Governments“. Next, we worked on the areas of animation and functions attributed to each councillor in groups and shared our reflections. Fr. Aitor Jiménez, an expert in Civil and Canon Law, presented the topic: “Animation and Government within the Church and Congregation’s regulation”, which stimulated interesting debate about our behaviour at the different levels of Government in the Congregation.
After days of intensive work, the proposals we want to implement were read, in order to help us discover our own style for the Animation and Government service within the Congregational reality. Finally, Sr. Anabela Carneiro closed the 25th Plenary Council with a stimulating message based on texts by María Angustias, about the style of service and animation that characterised María Josefa Recio, first Superior of the Congregation.