Previously I have shared that when I was hired as the Pastoral Associate, the parish wasn’t getting just one Adrian Dominican Sister, you were getting 500 Sisters! Well, the now 450 Adrian Dominican Sisters are entering a special time in the life of our con-gregation as we get ready to begin General Chapter, June 27–July 2.

General Chapter is part of Dominican Life and, for us, is convoked every six years. When the General Chapter is in session it is the highest governing body of the congregation. As stated in our Constitution and Statutes, its responsibilities are to:

  1. provide direction for the congregation’s participation in mission;

  2. review the state of the congregation;

  3. elect the Prioress of the congregation and the other members of the General Council;

  4. legislate for the common good in response to the needs of the members; and

  5. preserve the authenticity of the charism of the congregation.

Beginning on Monday, we will engage in prayer, invoking the Holy Spirit to inspire us and give us the grace needed to see the direction that is needed for the next six years. We will address updating our Constitution and Statutes to deal with the reality of our aging and diminished number of members (when I entered 42 years ago there were 1800 Sisters). Next we will consider the areas we are calling ourselves to address in the next six years. Lastly, we will discern the leaders we will need to help and guide us in that direction.

General Chapter just doesn’t happen in one week. Formal planning has been going on for the past two years! General Chapter has always happened at the Motherhouse in Adrian, usually in February, with the new leadership team assuming office July 1. While this was the original plan for General Chapter 2022, because of Covid-19, it was decided to postpone it to June. But with the onset of the omicron-variant in this past winter and given the age of the Sisters living at the Motherhouse (avg. age there is 85) it was thought best to move General Chapter offsite, the first time in our over 100 year history! So plans were made to meet at a hotel in Chicago near O’Hare airport since a number of Sisters would be flying in from the Philippines, the Dominican Republic as well as from across the country. Normally General Chapter transpires over two weeks. Because of the added expense of meeting offsite, we are hoping to squeeze all that needs to be done into 6 days! The delegates were together 10 hours via Zoom this past week reviewing Constitutional material as well as the Enactments, getting some preliminary business out of the way.

In addition to the added logistics of meeting offsite, there has been the usual preparations involved with reading “the signs of the times.” We asked ourselves, “To what is God calling us, both now and the future?” We have met via Zoom monthly for the past two years getting to know one another better and to share what has been happening in our ministries as well as in our world. We asked, “What are the needs of God’s people? How do/can we bring Christ to others?” All of those conversations have been synthesized and developed into five Enactments which will be discussed, refined, and eventually voted on. Those Enactments will set our direction for the next six years.

I am one of the 133 Sisters voted to be a delegate and participate in General Chapter. Although this is not the first time I have served as a delegate, I find it to be an honor as well as an awesome responsibility. Because General Chapter requires voting in person, I will be away from the parish, June 26-July 2. Please pray with me and my Adrian Dominican Sisters as we consider God’s ongoing call.

Jeanne, OP

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16)