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6 October 2017

Province Reports

The final two province reports were given in the morning. The Province of Austria-Italy, with the Czechoslovakian Province, delivered their report in German, Italian, Czech and English. National boundaries have changed many times over the past centuries profoundly affecting the lives and ministries of the sisters. To help illustrate this, the room was divided into four sections to represent the countries that were part of the Habsburg monarchy in the time of Blessed M. Theresa Gerhardinger:

  1. Breslau/Wrocław – Silesia / Wrocław – Poland
  2. Bílá Voda – Slavkov / Czech Republic / Slovakia
  3. Vienna – Austria
  4. Gorizia – Italy

At one point, a net divided the room to represent the Iron Curtain. Today 60 sisters live in three countries, speak three languages, use two currencies and work in six houses in the ministry of education. They live unity in diversity.

The Hungarian Province report began with the story of the six sisters and two lay women who travelled to Temesvár, Hungary, October 1-8, 1858, at the invitation of a Hungarian Bishop. On October 10, their arrival in Temesvár was celebrated. On October 12, the school opened. Wars, shifting national boundaries and oppressive governments greatly affected the province and their ministries. In 1950, all but four religious congregations were suppressed. The School Sisters of Notre Dame was the only congregation of women religious permitted to continue but with a limit set on the number of sisters and the number of schools they could run (Budapest and Debrecen). This ended with the fall of communism. Today, they have sisters in Hungary, Romania and Serbia.

Reflection and discussion

Over the past three days, the reflection questions after each presentation were:

  • What are you noticing in light of the Chapter theme?
  • What are you wondering about and what will be most important to remember?

Today, they spent time in reflection and discussion to integrate what they had heard. They are now moving into the process for setting the direction for the congregation for the next six years.

Questions for direction setting:

  • In light of the theme and all the information you have gathered, what is God’s call to the congregation now?
  • Who are you called to be?
  • What are you called to do?
  • What needs emphasis and energy?

Direction setting continues on Saturday.

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