Sister Maxyne Schneider is in Rome attending a conference of the International Union of Superiors General--a worldwide, canonically approved organization of Superiors General of Institutes of Catholic Women Religious.
I will write with more depth of content later, but I wanted to get some material to you before too much of the week has passed. The conference has significant depth of content and feeling in its formal presentations and conversations informally. There is a noticeable change from three years ago both in seriousness of intent and in a number of external factors that signal that change as well as the simple internationality of the conference.
Three years ago there was simultaneous translation in six languages, while this time there are eleven with Polish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese. At my English-speaking table there are Sisters from Ireland, Australia, Nigeria, India, Tanzania and the US. One leads a congregation of 7000 and another is from a community of 36.
The theme, "Weaving Global Solidarity for Life," is meant as a recipe for effective action and not just a suggestion for pleasant pondering. There is much reference to the "charism of religious life" as an emerging reality in lives increasingly lived with global influence and global challenge.
Carol Zinn, SSJ (Philadelphia) delivered a powerful address on Monday regarding our crossing a threshold for global solidarity for the life of the earth. Mary Sujita, SND yesterday, echoing Pope Francis, called us to the peripheries where our Sisters serve across the globe. Our hearts were at once gladdened and deeply moved with the poignancy of human suffering in the afternoon panel on the UISG efforts against human trafficking, overwhelming migration of refugees, solidarity with South Sudan and the profound tragedies being played out in the Middle East. These brief words hardly begin to touch the realities spoken of in sessions or privately as Sisters told of the lives of their congregations.
Tonight Sr. Sally Hodgon, CSJ (W. Hartford), Vice President of the UISG, has invited all the Sisters of St. Joseph at the conference to the Chambery residence for supper. I look forward to it. I am sorry that the superior from the Institute that includes Le Puy is not at the conference. Sr. Catherine Barange from Lyons will convey our greetings to her, however.
I had the opportunity for "une petite conversation en francais" with Sr. Carmen Vergara,
the superior general of the"filles du Coeur de Marie" to greet her and express thanks for the hospitality of the DHMs.