DAVENPORT — The Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) recently held its General Assembly at the Rogalski Center on the campus of St. Ambrose University. More than 100 Sisters and associates attended the annual meeting, with many traveling from across the United States to be present.
The general assembly is a time for community business, sharing among members, and celebration. Major events during the event, held June 23-26, included a welcoming rite for five new CHM associates and a memorial service for 10 Sisters and four CHM associates who had died since the assembly last year. On June 26 a Jubilee Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Bettendorf where 12 Sisters and one CHM associate were honored for their years as members of the CHM community.
During the assembly:
• Sister Mary Jo Nelson, OLVM, led the congregation in a day of reflection and discernment education as the next step in the new CHM election process adopted by a special representative assembly in 2010. It will be used in the election of the president and vice-president who will take office in July 2012. Sr. Nelson, a member of Our Lady of Victory Missionaries, has master’s degrees in religious education and organization development, and training in spiritual direction and mediation.
• A program on immigration was presented to educate the audience about current immigration issues and to provide suggestions for follow-up actions. “In the Shadow of the Raid,” a documentary on the aftermath of the raid in Postville, Iowa, was shown. CHM associates Nancy Roberson, Muscatine, and Mary Martin Lane, Waterloo, were panelists addressing various immigration issues.
• A membership process session was led by Sister Catherine Bertrand, SSND. A member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, she has degrees in behavioral science and in the areas of ministry and counseling, with ongoing education and training in facilitation and mediation. A story-telling session provided opportunities to appreciate the values that connect Humility of Mary Sisters and associates to each other and to those they meet. Sr. Bertrand also presented national trends relating to women joining religious communities today.
• On June 26, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), the Missioning Ceremony included readings from Scripture about the Eucharist followed by participants’ statement of commitment. Each Sister and associate received a Mission Card while all at the table said, “Be bread for those you serve.”
In her address CHM President Sister Mary Rehmann reflected on the qualities of freedom, acceptance, encouragement and forgiveness that are to characterize relationships among the Sisters in community. She also described the concept of “eucharist with a small ‘e’” introduced by Sister Miriam Therese Winter, MMS. This idea is adapted from the many occasions when Jesus shared a meal with persons of various backgrounds, reputations or religious persuasions. Each time a person consumes the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist with a “large E,” that person ought to show a little more of God’s life as revealed in Jesus. When the faithful consciously recall God’s life within them and share it with others at the table, they celebrate eucharist with a small “e.”