A Singleton Gathering
As we move closer to the end of our existence as an autonomous congregation, the Singleton sisters gathered at Kincumber for three days towards the end of October.
We had been due for a chapter this year, but opted instead for a series of assembly days throughout the course of the year. These three days were set aside for some of the formalities usually associated with Chapter, in particular the formal Report from the outgoing Leader and Council, and to allow us some time together to consider the momentous ending and beginning now just weeks away.
The first evening began with pre-dinner drinks and nibblies, and established an atmosphere of relaxation and pleasure in the opportunity of coming together away from our usual distractions. It was a welcome element on each of the following evenings.
Copies of the Leader’s Report itself had been distributed to every sister in advance so that there was ample time for everyone to become familiar with its contents, and the finance section was presented by the Business Manager on the first morning. The rest of the day was spent responding to these two presentations.
We were led in this process by Sr. Anne Lane PBVM. Anne has worked with us as a facilitator over several years, and has become familiar with our sisters and with much of our particular history and culture. In her usual gentle and skilful way, she assisted us to look past the ‘facts’, and let our responses come from that deeper place within.
We had the opportunity to reflect quietly on the contents of the report, and all that these contents represented in our lived experience of these past 5 years. The pleasant weather and beautiful grounds combined to assist us in our remembering, and in the opportunity to be quietly in touch with the feelings associated with that experience.
The afternoon concluded with a very beautiful Thanksgiving Ritual which incorporated both our thanks to our Leader and Councillors, and our gratitude for the rich blessings of the past 136 years of the life of this, our much loved Congregation.
The following day was aptly called “Doing a New Thing’’, and was dedicated to the reality of our present existence: the imminent ending of the Singleton Congregation as an autonomous group, and the beginning of our participation as part of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and PNG.
A significant element of these past 5 years has been the ongoing process towards reconfiguration, and it was good to have some time together to “realise” the choice we have made. We know this is about to happen, we have chosen to have it happen, and it was indeed good to have this opportunity to reflect together on our choice.
This was to be our last formal gathering as the Singleton Congregation. That fact gave it a “feel” different from any other such gathering and will, I am sure, enrich our experience of these coming weeks as we move towards 12 December 2011.