Though some time has passed since our Chapter Assembly in Melbourne, we really wanted to give this story and the beautiful photos, which show the joy and sacredness of this gathering, a home on our new website.
A number of our Sisters, some travelling from Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, joined those of us in Melbourne, for our 14th Chapter Assembly, from 24-26 October 2019 (photographed to the right). Our theme was ‘Pilgrimage – The Lure of the Periphery’. The Chapter gatherings are a special time for us to come together as a congregation, to reflect and celebrate together what has been, and what is yet to come.
At this latest Chapter gathering, it was a great joy to welcome members of our MSS Stewardship Council, staff from our mission entity Highways and Byways – A Community of Service, representatives from our Highways and Byways Branch offices (including Toowoomba), board members, MSS staff and a number of friends who’ve journeyed with the MSS over the many years.
On the second day, in what was a beautiful and moving ritual, we were each reminded of our Baptismal call to go out into the world as living signs of God’s love, mercy and friendship. We are bearers of hope and life, with Jesus as our model. On that day, we also signed the Memorandum of Understanding between MSS and our mission entity Highways and Byways – A Community of Service.
On the final day we shared our thoughts and dreams of the MSS legacy, we opened up the conversation about the way forward for Highways and Byways – A Community of Service, which continues to do amazing work, providing much needed grants for community projects in rural and remote areas of Australia.
We are grateful to our congregational leader Stancea Vichie MSS and Bernadette Wallis MSS who re-committed as our leadership team, along with the Stewardship Council members (Deidre O’Donnell, Prof Gabrielle McMullen and David Alcock photographed with Bernadette and Stancea to the right) who re-committed to their dedicated involvement with us. And of course, we had some voting to do … in the good old fashioned way of holding up red, green or yellow cards! Thankfully, everyone was unanimous! We ended our afternoon by travelling to the Springvale Cemetery where some of our Sisters are buried for a graveside ritual.
We enjoyed such a beautiful and blessed time together, reflecting on our lives as MSS, and joining with friends and colleagues from across Australia, who are part of our Highways and Byways journey. We’re so grateful for the gift of friendship, for the hope and Spirit that is so alive in all of us, and in those we encounter. Thank you to everyone who is sharing this journey with us (past, present and into the future). We wouldn’t be who we are without you!
Here are the photos from our Chapter Assembly, courtesy of Fiona Basile.