We have walked the way of the second, which was at the same time the final chapter of the Province ‘Mother of Providence’ under the theme:
"Let us walk together as women of the DAWN in fidelity to the God of the covenant!", and the motto: "Whatever we have achieved, let us go together in the same direction!" (Phil 3:16).
We are happy to share a summary of the experiences of these chapter days. In essence, it contains strong moments of evaluation, praise and gratitude for the years that we have been able to experience as a Mother of Providence Province and of looking to the future of a new Province in Latin America. We are sure that we have done everything we can.
We began this great event on August 6, 2023 in Porto Alegre/RS with the opening ceremony of the Provincial Chapter, presided over by Bishop Aloísio Alberto Dilli, Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Cruz do Sul. The celebration was well attended by sisters, priests, trainees, lay people and the Messengers of Divine Providence, collaborators and parishioners. We were pleased to welcome Sister Maria Rita Xavier Mendes and Sister Maria Beatriz Mohr from the General Coordination, Sister Maria Cristina Giani (counsellor of the Chapter), Sister Beatriz Zanatta (Provincial Coordinator of the Trinity Province of Curitiba/PR) and Sister Sandra Judite Roaris (Provincial Coordinator of the Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Florianópolis/SC). We can say that it was a beautiful and meaningful celebration together with the people, followed by a festive lunch and social gathering.
During the opening ceremony, Sister Sandra Maira Pires (Provincial Coordinator) introduced us to the image of sowers. She invited us to join hands and sow good seed in good soil with these women. She then declared this last chapter of the Mother of Providence Province open, which touched the sisters and lay people present alike.
The second day was dedicated to the analysis of the socio-political situation in the world and in Brazil, led by Father José Ivo Follmann, SJ. Sister Maria Beatriz Mohr presented the reality of our Congregation with its possibilities and perspectives and Fr. Luiz Carlos Susin, cap. an analysis of the situation of the Church and consecrated religious life.
On the third day, we looked at the realities of the provincial administration in the last five years, starting from the perspective of the processes and the priorities. The activity report and the financial report of the province were presented. Based on this, the provincial coordination presented a long report on the light and shadow of the province with great openness and transparency. We were also presented with a beautiful presentation of our older sisters from the Eduard Michelis House.
On the fourth day, we checked which topics had already been dealt with and what we wanted to advance further with our proposals and requests for the founding chapter. In the evening we were surprised with a beautiful get-together, where we were presented with a creative and dynamic presentation of the history of the congregation - from its beginnings with Eduard Michelis, to the arrival of the first sisters in Brazil, the founding of the provinces and the present days of the Mother of Providence Province.
On the last day of our chapter, August 10, the Sisters of the General Coordination read the answer from Rome, which confirms the extension of the term of office of the Provincial coordination until January 31, 2024. This moment was linked with a beautiful symbolism by handing over the names of all the sisters of the province represented by beads, and a candle as a symbol of union, to the provincial coordination. After this touching moment, in an atmosphere of prayer and discernment, the delegates to the Unification Chapter were elected from among the sisters. In the afternoon, the closing ceremony of the provincial chapter took place.
We are very grateful for the messages of good wishes and prayers we have received, and for the lively exchanges that we have experienced before and during the chapter, as well as for the strong prayer communio that has been formed in these days. With hope and expectation we walk together towards the new province!
Testimonials about the provincial chapter from sisters and lay people who participated in the chapter:
"Personally, this provincial chapter was expected and prepared in its essence "sui generis" (unique), since it is a chapter of continuity and at the same time of departure. We women of the dawn have embarked on the path of discernment. Our consultant made us think through a poem by asking the new for permission to be born. Nice, isn't it? And so we went, pondered, prayed and tried to make our contribution to the Unification Chapter/Foundation Chapter in January 2024. It was remarkable to pray about one's vocation to freedom, to walk for Jesus and in search of his kingdom. Let the seed break through the earth's crust in search of light while remaining trusting and loving in the process. Only the free person can participate in discernment, and is then able to contribute to hearing the voice of God, as Jesus did. Today, when we look at the history of the congregation, it becomes clear to us that we carry the treasure in clay vessels. Uniting the different is a prophetic gesture. In the fragility of life, let us walk together to strengthen each other. It is not for nothing that Pope Francis insists on synodality, on a co-responsible common search. Let us build the new with confidence, because God is with us and guides our history". (Sister Elise Sehnem)
"For me, the chapter was a solemn milestone on the path we are walking together. The two days of reflection shed light on the entire chapter. I felt like a "woman of dawn" who pays close attention to the signs of the way. The calls and challenges are numerous, but they are sustained by the power of charism, hope and the desire to continue as a "sowing woman" in an attitude of listening and cooperation. We give thanks to Divine Providence, which shows us the way and guides us". (Sister Lurdes Luke)
"Our provincial chapter was a time of grace in which we took stock of our lives and our mission with its challenges and joys. With grateful hearts we praise the God of Providence who has led our province so far and who has helped us to radiate and live our charism with our brothers and sisters through the tasks and priorities that have guided our journey over the past five years. With simplicity, openness and hope, we are invited to pay attention to the signs of the times and to move together towards the unification of the provinces of Latin America". (Sister Marinês da Silva Bezerra).
"Participating in the chapter as a lay-person was a unique experience. Accompanying the Sisters of Divine Providence in reflecting on social, economic and political issues in the light of the Gospel and drawing up concrete proposals/ applications, calls us lay people to continue to participate actively in these processes and to express charism in every field of activity to which we belong. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this historic moment." (Taiana Lando).