Sisters of Bon Secours Chart the Future with International Vocation and Formation Summit
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MARRIOTTSVILLE, MD (December 21, 2011) - The Sisters of Bon Secours, an international community of Catholic women religious (sisters) with ministries in healthcare, human and social services, education and spiritual retreats, recently gathered for the first international Vocation and Formation Summit. Sisters from the United States, Peru, Ireland, Great Britain, South Africa and France gathered to form congregation-wide plans to strengthen efforts to invite women into religious life and accompany them on their journey through formation.
Marriottsville, Maryland, December 21, 2011—While most of us have been busily preparing for Christmas, twenty of the Sisters of Bon Secours have also been busy planning future efforts for vocation and formation. The first international Congregation of Sisters of Bon Secours Vocation and Formation Summit, December 10-14, was held at their US headquarters in Marriottsville, Md. This Summit over five days brought together sisters representing the United States, Peru, Ireland/Great Britain, France and South Africa to focus on their ministries with vocation and formation areas of the congregation. “The Sisters held the international Summit in response to the Congregation’s priority to invite women to consider a vocation to religious life and to address how we can better accompany women during their initial formative years,” noted Sister Patricia Dowling, CBS, chairperson of the Congregation’s International Membership Committee,.
The sisters met as a large group each day for prayer and then broke into two work groups to focus specifically on either vocations or formation efforts. The sisters shared their experiences from their own country and learned that though culturally there are differences they share similar successes and challenges. They formed plans based on these experiences, research, and audits of their vocation and formation programs. They developed a Congregation-wide vocation plan with goals that can be rolled out across countries and developed an action plan to better prepare new members for full incorporation as sisters. “It’s time for us to focus our resources and our own intentions and believe that there are people who want to do the same thing we’re doing with our lives. The needs of our world are so incredibly great…for healing, compassion and liberation…the gifts that I think we can bring,” Sr. Fran Gorsuch, CBS commented.
Despite the natural language and multicultural challenges, the sisters share a common bond of their Congregation’s charism and mission as reflected by the amazing spirit, enthusiasm and energy amongst the group. “Being here gives me the opportunity to become more integrated with other sisters and what they are actually doing and familiarizing myself with their practices,” said Sister Fedelina Berrú Peña, CBS, of Peru. “That excites me.”
This international group also enjoyed their time together outside the meetings. Each country was responsible for a daily Mass and the other sisters enjoyed participating in these varied services. The sisters also enjoyed getting to know each other over meals and being able to converse face-to-face instead of their typical methods through email, phone or video conferencing and their Intranet site. “The Summit has been a wonderful opportunity to foster relationships with international sisters,” said Sister Nancy Glynn, CBS, a member of the US formation team.
The group hopes to hold a Vocation and Formation Summit every other year. They have also developed a method to track their progress and reevaluate, if necessary, for optimal growth in each country. The groups shared the importance of every sister in the congregation to embrace their call and invite women to consider religious life. They want to revitalize vocations because their charism of compassion, healing and liberation is very necessary for the world today. “The most challenging aspect for vocations is visibility and helping others to understand religious life,” said Sr. Nancy.
As the sisters ended the Summit they are energized to carry out the vocation and formation plans in their respective countries that they diligently developed. Sister Jacqueline Rebours, CBS, of France explained, “We are already living the charism within the heart of the group itself. I feel very excited about bringing that message back to France.”
“As we move forward to invite a future generation of sisters who will meet the pressing needs of the world, we are confident that young women will respond to God’s call as vowed women religious within the Congregation of Sisters of Bon Secours,” commented Sr. Pat. “We invite single, Catholic women who desire to make a difference in the world as a sister to contact us.”
About the Sisters of Bon Secours: As an international congregation of Catholic sisters they have long had a heart for providing healthcare, social services and spiritual comfort to disadvantaged communities since their inception in 1824 when they nursed the sick in their homes. Today, their holistic approach to caring for all of creation equips the Sisters of Bon Secours to spread wellness and God’s love throughout the four corners of the world. For more information on discerning your vocation or becoming a nun, please visit http://BonSecoursVocations.org, email: CBSVocations@bshsi.org or call 410-442-0267.
Sisters of Bon Secours
http://www.BonSecoursVocations.org MD, 21104 US
Jennifer Murphy - Communications Associate, 410-442-3147
vocations, sisters, nuns, international, prayer, mass, summit
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