The Sisters gave a standing ovation to the keynote address by Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF. Her points included:
- We are all entering the unknown; this requires great faith compared to a theology that sees itself as having all the answers.
- We are all bound together, and our actions affect the whole.
- Creative attraction, or love is the developmental force of the universe.
- God is Love, The energy of creative attraction in which we are co-creators.
- Jesus, the second big-bang, brings us to wholeness, salvation.
- As we are made whole in Jesus, we co-create wholeness around us, thus mission.
After much discussion and finally consensus, the Assembly created the following statements:
VISION STATEMENT: The Maryknoll Sisters envision One Earth Community where the co-creative energy of Divine Love flows freely, nurturing wholeness of being in an expanding and evolving universe.
MISSION STATEMENT: We Maryknoll Sisters have been engaged in God’s mission and nurtured by the spirit of Mother Mary Joseph for over a century. In this time of global awareness and accelerating change, we have been called to reflect on evolutionary consciousness and its impact on our understanding of our charism and our response in mission.
Recent insights have enabled us to recognize that we are One Earth Community where the energy of God’s love flows freely, nurturing the wholeness of being. Wholemaking is the overarching mission task for our time. This mission imperative requires partnering, collaborating and networking which will enable us to respond effectively to emerging and urgent needs, particularly on the margins of society.
We acknowledge that we as individuals, communities, and as a Congregation generate energies that affect each other, as well as the global community. Therefore we need to heal and transform ourselves as we strive for healing and peace in our world.
We choose to engage our energies in mission by promoting the free flowing of God’s love to:
- Transform the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace;
- Oppose modern-day slavery and attend to the healing and empowerment of survivors;
- Build bridges of understanding and acceptance to promote inclusivity among cultures, religions, society, and within the Catholic Church;
- Promote the healing of the earth and the sustainable use of all natural resources; and
- Affect economic, political, and social structures to benefit indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, and the voiceless in society.
VALUES STATEMENT: Wholemaking, Contemplative Awareness and Reflection, and Missionary Spirit were addressed. A number of specific proposals were also agreed upon.
NEW LEADERSHIP: The Sister Delegates also nominated and elected a new Congregational leadership Team (CLT): Nonie Gutzler (Taiwan), President; Norie Mojado (Contemplative Community), Vice President; Anastasia Lott (Rogers Community), Team Member; and Teruko Ito (Guatemala), Team Member.
Affiliates Presentation: The assembly evenings were times for particular interest groups to meet. I had the opportunity to co-host with Ann Hayden a meeting to share information about the Affiliates and for Sisters to share their experiences with Affiliates in mission and with Affiliate Chapters. We had a very lively discussion with about 50 Sisters in attendance. I shared information about the MAC, new Chapter formation, and the Affiliates’ movement into third wave mission efforts. We were impressed with the amount of interest and enthusiasm shown. We heard wonderful stories about groups becoming loving mission communities. I cannot tell you how often I heard comments like, “I want to become more involved with the Affiliates,” or “How can I start an Affiliate Chapter?”
As you can imagine, I was deeply moved by the spirit of acceptance, welcoming, and love shown to me during this time. The Sisters actively sought my input in the discussions and valued the perspective of the Affiliate Movement. Our open system structure (or lack of) was seen as a model for the freedom and creativity that it provides. Echoing the MAC 2014 keynote address, we are uniquely poised for the third wave mission into the future. Words that seemed to weave their way through the assembly were “whole” and wholemaking: Jesus’ salvation is bringing us to the wholeness of being, co-creating a wholeness in creation. We Affiliates share in the mission of wholemaking in who we are and what we do.
I looked upon attending the GA as an opportunity to experience what Church may look like in the future. What would an evolving Cosmic Christianity look like? I think the Maryknoll Sisters may be experiencing a paradigm shift that probably won’t be seen in the Church at large for many years to come. The reflection prayer experiences were very moving, each based on the geographic region of the presenters. I know from this experience that I am definitely still in process. After hearing Ilia Delio, I believe that the God story and the ongoing creation story are being told in a better way, yet there is still a lot of old story left in my brain and maybe more in my emotions. It was certainly a broadening experience for me.