Nonviolence - Introducing our Groovy Chapter Act

Last summer I was lucky enough to attend our Congregation General Chapter. Every 6 years Sisters and Associates gather to elect our new leadership and decide what we want to focus on as a community for the next 6 years. This year we actually didn't elect new leadership, because we made the huge decision to become One Congregation Without Provinces. That's worth a whole different blog post in itself, but in practical terms it meant that we delayed electing new leaders until later this month while we figured out what that would look like. We also adopted two other Chapter Acts - one on Care of Creation and Climate Change, and one on Nonviolence.

I commented in my post on the Pope's 2009 Peace Message - "Fighting Poverty Building Peace" - on my growing awareness about our common usage of violent language. It made me think that it might be worthwhile to excerpt our Nonviolence Chapter Act here on the blog, both to help me further my own study and reflection, and to spread awareness as we begin this new year about the hope and promise that I think nonviolence brings us.

And so, over the next few days, I will do just that! Here's Part I:

"Seeds of Peace: Growing in Nonviolence"
Adopted by the CSJP Congregation Chapter, August 2008


The challenge to live our Constitutions was a refrain echoing throughout the Chapter, heard in one form or another from Sheila Lemieux, CSJP, in her introductory remarks, from Nancy Sylvester, IHM, and from John Dear, SJ. We are people of peace, open to the liberating power of God (Constitution 28), committed to live and proclaim Christ’s gospel of peace (C 20), experiencing our own need for continuing conversion (C 10), and willing to become peacemakers in the spirit of the beatitudes (C 39). Our vows and covenants commit us to walk in the way of peace (C 40), our history has set a direction, and our experience of contemporary society compels us onward.

Today we stand at a new crossing place. We live in a society marked strongly by the violence of war, violence to people through poverty and a sense of powerlessness and alienation, violence to earth, sea, and sky – violence that is truly cosmic. In response we commit ourselves to grow more deeply toward a non-violent way of being and acting as peacemakers.
More to come ....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. It sounds interesting.

Just one unrelated question: why do you always refer to the CSJP as the "groovy sisters"? Is this an informal nickname by which they are known? Or is this just your own personal nickname for your order?

Sorry if you have addressed this already somewhere else. I couldn't find any explanation for it anywhere.

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Good question! I've always called the CSJP's - Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace - my "groovy sisters" here on the blog.

This is by no means our name, and I'm not sure all our sisters would like being called groovy. But for me it's a term of endearment.

It comes from the days when I was first looking into religious life. I was exploring different communities, convinced I'd never find one where I felt at home. Then I met the CSJPs and they seemed ... well ... particularly groovy to me. Hence the name, given and used by me.