diarmuid o'murchuThe Annual Summer Gathering of Columban Sisters from near and far evolved around the needs and challenges of Mission in our world today and how each community is called to use to the full the gifts given by the Spirit of God.

The keyword phrase was CHARISM TODAY. An integral feature of the days was was that input and discussion sessions were interspersed with times of prayer and reflection for the work of Mission is God’s, not ours and so fidelity to the call is essential.

CHARISM TODAY was the topic presented by Fr Diarmuid O’Murchu MSC who highlighted the following points:

  • Religious Life is a gift of the Spirit not just for the Church but for the world;
  • The Charism is embodied primarily in  people TODAY and only secondarily in traditions, constitutions, etc.;
  • The Charism of a particular Congregation may change from one historical period to another depending on the needs to which the group is called to respond;
  • Reinterpreting the Charism means responding to the needs of today’s world with something of the vitality and creativity with which the founding person or group responded to the needs of her day;
  •  Many Charisms of the vowed life seem to have been gifted to the world for a specific purpose, at a particular time in history.  No Congregation should consider itself immortal;
  • Laity can enter into the Charism.

The second day’s input was on MISSION TODAY –  a brief overview of how religious have adjusted themselves to respond to the most pressing needs of their time.  In Diarmuid’s opinion some of the skills that religious need for the future are the following:

  • Global literacy – this would include such things as systems theory, social analysis, group skills such as mediation, etc.
  • Economics;
  • Legal Skills
  • Media Competency;
  • Creative Theology, adult education.

Following on from this input, three questions were given to the assembly to ponder on and share together:

  • What for me is a challenge from the input that I have just heard?
  • Where do I need to take it?
  • What are two major challenges for us as a Congregation?

The second day began with Morning Prayer for the Feast of St Benedict prepared and led by Sister Maura Lyden.

MISSION in ACTION was then unfolded through inputs from Sisters from four different missions:


maryanthony      lucia so

Mary Anthony Ryan described the current Hong Kong/China mission scene after which Lucia So responded to questions about the Columban  Lay Associates in Hong Kong.

Kathleen Geaney shared on the Myanmar mission; Marie Galvin described the current  political situation in Pakistan; and Mary Neylon’s focus was on the Peru Mission with particular attention given to Huaycan.

            kathleen geaney                               marie galvin                      Mary Neylon1

Throughout the second day many memories were relived and shared and we were updated on the very diverse expressions of mission in which we are involved around the world. And of course, there was time for informal sharing in between the inputs, discussion and reflection. We were reminded in many ways that the living out of our Columban Charism is at all times best expressed, as in our community motto, ‘Let us be Christ’s, not our own.’

                               M Lyden, M Dillon, Catherine Lillis at Event 10 July  14                  Group2            Group3

 In many ways the days together highlight that the living out of our Columban Charism is at all times best expressed, as in our community motto, ‘Let us be Christ’s, not our own.’