On 11th November 2017 was marked as a closing day of the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter in the annals of Guntur province. The planning committee presented the final draft of the directions for the general chapter 2018. The communication committee was invited to present the information which is to be send to the communities for the consent of the floor. The delegates were given an opportunity to share their spiritual insights and experiences. The provincial team expressed their gratitude to Fr. Sebasti L Raj, the chapter guide, Sr. Anacleta, & Sr. Showri Tresa the Observers and all the delegates who actively contributed their might for the success of the chapter. The delegates acknowledged the relentless efforts of provincial and the team. The close of the extra ordinary provincial chapter has culminated with thanksgiving Holy Eucharistic celebration. Sr. Regina Mary provincial superior declared closed the provincial chapter 2017 at 5.pm. The chapters delegates were send forth with a command of the Gospel to be the light and salt of the world.
We thank each and every sister in the province for your prayerful support which kept us moving in the right direction. We, the chapter delegates experienced the guidance of the Holy Spirit during our chapter deliberations. Let us continue to pray for the success of the General Chapter. Let us join together in marching towards building a just and hope filled Society in continuing the Mission of Christ.
The sixth day of the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter held On 10th November 2017 at 6.15 AM by invoking Gods’ blessing during morning worship. Sr. Emily Chennakatukunnel, in her introductory note during the Holy Mass highlighted the annals in the life of the society which is marching us towards the celebration of Bicentenary. It is time for us to evoke, count his blessings and perceive what God has done for the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph. She brought forth the Icons of the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph- Rev. Fr. Mathais Wolff, Founder, a visionary for all signs of times, 7 Missionaries and Pioneers who endeavored from its foundation in India 1904, Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey, the Servant of God, an Australian missionary, founder of CHAI, St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. John’s Medical College and Sr. Stanislaus Swamikannu Pillai, the originator of JMJ Education Apostolate in India. As earlier period was inspirational, present period is progress and a paradigm shift. Let our future be focusing on building the kingdom, blessing people and living the gospel by placing our trust in God and prepare ourselves to welcome changes together with hope towards the emerging future of the Congregation of JMJ.
The delegates gratefully remembered our past history, our founder Rev. Fr. Mathias Wolff and all our pioneering deceased sisters and visited JMJ Memorial park. The group also had the privilege of an outing to golden sand beach, Suryalanka and we relished the day together.
9th November 2017 was an important and significant day, where the delegates for General Chapter were elected. In view of the election, guidelines from the general council were given and the chapter members were asked to prepare oneself from previous night onwards. During the morning hours the delegates spent an hour in adoration followed by election.
The facilitator enlightened the members to play a prophetic role in electing the general chapter delegates who can carry forward the Congregation of JMJ. It was a spirit filled moment and the entire atmosphere was spiritual and all the delegates felt the divine grace during the process of election. The overwhelming presence and promptings of the Holy Spirit, the provincial chapter delegates elected the general chapter delegates. Eight members are elected for Extraordinary General Chapter 2018 from Guntur Province.
The fourth day of the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter 2017 began on 8th November 2017. The Holy Eucharistic celebrations commenced at 6.45 A.M with the theme “Vision for the Future”. Sr. Shiny, in her opening note said that God does not reveal His vision for our lives all at once. God reveals His vision when He knows we are ready and able to receive it. Vision is the bridge between the present and the future and He calls each one of us to renew and fulfill that vision.
Fr. Sebasti L. Raj began his homily with the life example of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who was the instrument in God’s hands and sought the will of God in her life. She says that we are not here to carry out our mission successfully but faithfully. The Religious are called to be spiritual leaders through our Religious profession therefore, we need to personalize and be convinced of the decisions that we make, and actualize it, personally and collectively for the growth of the province. As we are making proposals and policies for the future of new congregation, we need to have right disposition of heart and mind to discern the will of God.
The morning session commenced at 9.00AM. The president said that it is a call to design the future with global thinking without any condition, trusting in God, making ourselves completely surrender to God.
The president welcomed Fr. Sebasti L.Raj for the important task of preparing the congregational directions and priorities for the new congregation, having international character as our main thrust to set priorities for the new congregation with broader vision.
Inspirational input by Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj:
The facilitator started his talk quoting the example of Fr. Arupe, SJ, late Jesuit General, who persisted the Jesuits to keep the positive and optimistic attitude when we encounter even the worst situation . Cross is sign of victory and without cross there is no resurrection. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj, insisted the delegates in order to work in the most disappointing, discouraging situations, we need to allow the intervention of God. Jesus is our Master and Guru whom we follow has set an example for us.
Like New Wine and new skins, we need to think in an innovative and creative way to express and think globally to uphold the international character of our new Congregation. The facilitator appreciated various sectors and committees for their greater contribution in the growth of the province for which we need to be proud of.
The facilitator shared with the floor the purpose of the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter, it is to prepare for the first Extra ordinary General Chapter of the Congregation of Jesus Mary, Joseph. Therefore the agenda for the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter is, for setting the direction for the next 6 years in terms of Congregational Governance. The facilitator asked the delegates to disperse to the respective groups for the discussion on the directions (priorities) and the groups came up with suggestions on the focus – spirituality, mission, collaboration, formation &governance. The day came to an end at 7.30PM with a short prayer .
The third day of the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter started on 7th November at 6.15A.M. with the morning devotion seeking the blessings of the Creator who is the source of our existence and followed by the Holy Eucharistic celebration commenced at 6.45 A.M. paying homage and respect to the Word of God by enthronement of the Bible by Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj. The theme ‘Committed to God’s will’ was highlighted by Sr. Jayaseela Thirumalareddy in her introduction that every sister of JMJ, personally and together bear the responsibility to live up to the Constitutions with great love and observe them as the guide to follow Christ in the Congregation of JMJ. Since today’s deliberations are focused on the new draft of the Constitutions, Sr. Anacleta and Sr. Tresa KAVM were invited to offer both the Constitutions, old as a sign of thanksgiving and new to be blessed which will direct us to continue to live our committed life.
The session began with a short prayer by Sr. Shiny at 9.30 A.M. The president, with a positive note recalled the Morning Prayer and meaningful Holy Eucharistic celebration participated by the members in which, Fr. Sebasti. L. Raj rightly initiated in the light of today’s context saying that Constitution is not merely a document but it is a way of life, spirit of Congregation, where every person has to live in the spirit of gospel. She also appreciated for all the efforts and endeavors taken by the Constitution Committee for their dedication, time and energy to bring out the draft. She expressed her deep sense of gratitude to all the members in the Province, for their enormous contribution which is immeasurable. It’s the opportune time for us as a sacred body to affirm our Constitution which will play a vital role in our lives.
The president invited Sr. Anacleta, the General Councilor and to Sr. Tresa KVM to share the process gone behind to bring out the proposed Constitution draft.
Inspirational input by Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj
The facilitator oriented saying rules helps us to take the right path. Interior dimension is more important than exterior. As St.Ignatius said that the Interior law of charity is the first rule, all the rules should be in it. We need to seek God’s will interiorly and follow it. Constitutions should help each of us for our interior growth. With these words, the facilitator asked the delegates to reflect on the newly drafted constitutions and statues.
Affirmation of the proposed constitution of the congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph( India and Ghana)
The members gathered in the hall at 11.15 A.M. The President requested the Facilitator to chair the session on the affirmation of the proposed constitution of the Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph. The Facilitator invited the floor to be free and open in expressing their views and suggestions. The delegates were deeply concerned and involved in the process of affirmation and informed the procedure to the house.
Affirmation of the constitution:
All the delegates affirmed the constitution draft with some suggestions
Sr.Vijaya, the listener of the Extra ordinary Provincial Chapter was invited for sharing her views of the day and she began with an anecdote denoting that all the sisters were alike in their thinking and understanding throughout the sessions. She expressed that there was lot of enthusiasm, involvement, openness and participation within and outside.
The members valued the contribution of the constitution committee for their tireless efforts in bringing out the draft clearly and appreciated the members for the effective participation with the moment of the spirit.
Sr.Anacleta and Sr.Showri Tresa, the observers were welcomed by the President to share their views and they valued the participation and interaction of all the delegates.
The meeting was concluded at 6.15PM with a short prayer .
The second day of the Extraordinary Provincial chapter 2017 commenced at 6.15AM with the morning worship followed by Eucharistic meal. “Proclaim the glories of the Lord - Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. As a sign of our gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s goodness showered upon the Guntur province Rev. Sr. Regina, Sr. Showrilu, Sr. Victoria and Sr. Chandra offered the report of the Province, rice, Coconut, Fruits and flowers symbolizing Divine providence, wealth, success, abundance, prosperity, nourishment, healthy life and well – being especially during the past six years.
Fr. Sebasti L. Raj, in his homily, highlighted that the purpose of our life ultimately is to glorify God both individually and collectively.
The first session started at 9.00AM by invoking God’s blessings upon the members and the president greeted the floor.
Inspirational input by Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj ( 6th November 2017)
The facilitator began the inspirational talk by saying that Ninety percent of perspiration and Ten percent of inspiration makes person successful. He shared some of the personalities from the Bible who have affected his life personally, namely John the Baptist, Abraham, Joseph (OT), Moses, and Saul (NT).
Sr. Regina expressed her deep sense of gratitude to God for His tangible presence, for His wisdom and insights during the decisive moments. The ship of Guntur Province could have not been moved without the help of God. She placed on record for the greater role played by Superior General Sr. Theresia Supriyati and the General Councilors Sr. Anacleta and Sr. Showri Tresa and Provincial Councilors of other provinces. She appreciated the contributions made by Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj for his gigantic role played in formulating relevant action strategies, the keen interest shown in the process of implementation and evaluation.
Sr. Regina appreciated and thanked the Provincial Council team members for their colossal effort, hard work and extended her thanks to Sr. Sundari Rani Pudota, the Province Procurator for her enormous effort, hard work, cooperation in maintaining the Province accounts and in the financial management of the province and units. She also gratefully acknowledged the contribution made by Province Advisory Board, Core Team and Interview Team of province evaluation. She concluded saying “Province has numerous reasons to be grateful to God”.
The chapter delegates and the facilitator appreciated Sr. Regina and the team for the tremendous achievement and improvement and applauded for the excellent presentation of the province report 2011-2016.
The delegates promptly gathered for the group discussions at 2.30PM in 5 groups to discuss on the province report focusing on future thrust and come up with suggestions, opinions and views. The representatives of each group presented the report on Future challenges. The second day of the chapter came to an end while Sr. Regina Mary, quoted the Words of Founder Fr. Mathias Wolff “All things for the greater glory of God”
The Extraordinary Provincial Chapter, Guntur Province began with fervor and hope in the Lord who walks with us on our journey as we embark the new beginning, on 5th November 2017. It was the most significant day in the history of the Province and in the Congregation.
The Chapter delegates along with Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Raja Rao, the Bishop of Vijayawada, Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj SJ, the Chapter facilitator, Sr. Anacleta and Sr. Showri Tresa Observers of Chapter, Sr. Regina Mary, the President of the Chapter marched forward from the portal of JMJ Snehalaya to the altar of God led by Poornakumbam which is a symbol of fullness. Delegates offered lamps symbolizing the total surrender and dependence on God. The Bishop, Priests and congregation was welcomed with traditional Kumba Aarathi by Sr. Raja Kumari.
Sr. Victoria in her introductory note emphasized the promise of God in the words of Prophet Jermaiah, “I know the plans I have for you, Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It’s a Clarian call to believe in the God of history, to look into the past with gratitude, live in the present with passion and embrace the future with hope, and there listen to God, where life calls.
Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Raja Rao, in his homily, collating three readings cited the life example of Sr. Rani Maria exhorting the prophetic and Gospel values in her missionary life. As she lived her life passionately and lovingly for the sake of Jesus, he challenged us to venture into something audacious and tenacious for the sake of the gospel. He emphasized that “Every Provincial Chapter is a new Pentecost, the spirit manifests himself anew to its members to be united, communitarian and prayerful for the mission with great fraternity and sisterhood beyond boundaries.
The three inspiring statements he addressed: “When the power meets power, there is the ugly consequence of power-struggle. When the power meets vulnerability, it becomes alienation. When vulnerability meets vulnerability there is divine intimacy”. Then, God becomes real in our life. Hence enter this chapter with Godly and transformed mind which will help us experience the presence of the spirit amidst us.
The solemn inaugural of the extraordinary Provincial Chapter 2017 started at 9.30 am in the Conference hall. Sr. Chandra, the Provincial Councilor initiated the session, with enkindling words “Chapter is a Journey in Faith, a Pascal Process and a Renewing Event”. To mark it as a symbol of sacrifice and to illuminate the minds and hearts of all the chapter delegates, she welcomed the Guest Speaker, Most. Rev. Dr. Joseph Raja Rao, Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj, the Chapter facilitator Sr. Anacleta, Sr. Showri Tresa the Observers, and Rev. Sr. Regina Mary the President to light the lamp. This spiritual atmosphere was reinforced by Srs. Jaya Ratna Bala and Saritha who implored the benevolent blessings of God on all of us, followed by a rhythmic dance by our formees.
Sr. Regina Mary the president offered the scroll that contains the name of all the sisters in the province and invoked the blessings of Holy family and our Founder that the members could feel the presence of everyone to witness the whole event in the spirit of oneness.
Rev. Sr. Regina Mary, the Chapter President, in her presidential address exhorted the members that the chapter is an ecclesial event, specially at this time of the transition, we as JMJs stand at the cross roads with hope to create better tomorrow. She highlighted three important challenges which are ahead of us:
Rev. Sr. Regina Mary, the president of the Extraordinary Chapter officially declared open the Extraordinary Provincial Chapter on November 5th, 2017 at 10.30 am and unfolded the theme of the Chapter “March Together with Hope Towards An Emerging Future” in the presence of Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Raja Rao, the Bishop of Vijayawada, Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj, the Chapter Facilitator, Sr. Anacleta and Sr. Showri Tresa, the Observers and all the delegates.
Sr. Chandra invited all the delegates to introduce themselves with their symbols connecting to the theme of the Chapter. This symbolic representation added meaning and purpose to this noble gathering.
Sr. Regina Mary the president announced the name and role of the secretary, tellers and listeners.
The members of the extraordinary Chapter pledged themselves to contribute their best for welfare of the province, congregation and church according to the spirit and charism of our congregation and proceeded to sign in the register.
The second session resumed at 11.30 A.M. Sr. Regina the president invited Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Raja Rao to deliver the keynote address. He began his key note address saying that the Chapter is an event in the life of a province for it deals with the life of a larger community for its edification and service. He continued saying the theme of the chapter is an answer, that your province and your congregation wishes to give to the challenges of the world today. Religious are same everywhere in essence but lived differently in each context. He placed before us two issues- challenges and crises i.e. challenges from outside and challenges from within from the present Indian context. The key note address was concluded with praying of Angelus and his apostolic blessing.
The session started at 3.00 pm invoking the presence of God by the liturgy committee. After which, Sr. Regina started with an English Proverb saying “well begun is half done” and she appreciated the liturgy and reception committees for their creative efforts in choosing the symbols involving all the chapter delegates in order to make the inaugural event more meaningful and memorable, keeping everyone into the rhythm of chapter.