Province Meeting, High Leigh
From 9th-12th May 2023 – 63 Daughters of Charity from across the 4 geographic areas of the province: Australia, North England, South England and Scotland , gathered for the first post Covid Province Meeting in High Leigh Conference Centre, Hertfordshire since our integration in 2020. We arrived on the 9th May – Feast of our Foundress, St Louise de Marillac- in this special year marking the 400th anniversary of her “LUMIERE” experience. Our meeting was facilitated by Sr Karon Donnellon RSM who quickly had us using a First Nation Aboriginal art form, linking our circular tables with trails of plaited wool to help us create an encircling bond of belonging. As the days unfolded, we worked on our new Province Plan until we had agreed both content and format and how it could be implemented locally through the writing of a local community plan. We also heard from four of our current Province Teams: Youth, Ecology, Welcoming the Stranger and COMMS. They gave enlightening and challenging inputs. The COMMS Team even provided a visit from our founders – Vincent and Louise – showing how COMMUNICATION has always been important to our congregation because: “Communication means – good organisation; good service and good relationships. Health Care both in Australia and here in Great Britain was also addressed and opened up for discussion. At our meeting, the focus was both inward and outward. Dr Phillippa Whitford, MP for Ayr and our guest speaker, ably walked us into the NOW of our lives with all the issues of today : the rising cost of living, the world-wide ecological crisis we have inherited, the poverties of today and what we need to do as Daughters of Charity to be “good ancestors” to the generations to come. We also heard from our four Mission Heart Co-ordinators about the ministries and events happening in each geographic area of the province. Finally, Sr Ellen Flynn, Provincial, gave a comprehensive overview of our new province and how much we have achieved together since our integration on 11th March 2020. Throughout the meeting we were accompanied by our two Vincentian-priest “brothers”, Fr Paul and Fr Phil, who celebrated Mass each day. The liturgy was beautifully prepared involving each and every one of us. Many of our Sisters were unable to come to High Leigh, so the meeting was livestreamed by our videographer, Sr Rita, to the Province YouTube channel enabling access to all. We began our meeting with the word “WOW” and it ended with an even louder WOW of praise and thanks to God for everything and a sense of hope and joy as we continue with our shared, common mission into the future.