Asia-Pacific Formators’ Training begins October 17 in Tagaytay, Philippines
The first of two modules of the International Formators' Training for Good Shepherd Sisters in Asia-Pacific began October 17 in Maryridge, Tagaytay City, Philippines.
The six-week training, “A Living Story at the Heart of Good Shepherd Mission” is being participated by 50 delegates from the Provinces of Japan, Indonesia, East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam-Cambodia, Myanmar), Northeast Asia (Macau, Taiwan, Hongkong, China, South Korea), Singapore/Malaysia, Sri Lanka/Pakistan, India/Nepal and the Philippines. Sr. Susan Chia, Sr. Elaine Basinger and Sr. Linda Lizada RC are the facilitators and are assisted by the interns from Sri Lanka and Malaysia. They coordinate with the Asia-Pacific Core Team on Formation.
Participants include apostolic and contemplative formators-- directresses of vocation promotion, pre-notivitiate, novitiate and temporary professed sisters. This formation program will enable participants to be better prepared for accompanying women in formation as Good Shepherd Sisters.
An Arch Dance opened the session’s liturgy as the participants answered God’s call to enter into the Sacred Space of Formation. Forming one big circle, those gathered encountered the others through movements. After the dance the participants described their experience of being connected with one another, they felt the tenderness of the other , the welcoming spirit of those they encountered as partners; letting go as they and their partners moved on to meet the others.
Message of Sr. Brigid
The message of Sr. Brigid Lawlor, congregational leader was read by Srs. Elaine and Susan. Quoting St. Mary Euphrasia in Conference 63, “Needless to say, above all, have charity for yourselves, that is, a burning zeal to make progress in the spiritual life, without which you could not have real charity or real zeal for souls, whom you must nourish by the overflow of live in your own heart. Oh be generous,” Sr. Brigid said that in their role as formators, they are all at the forefront of ministry.
She emphasized that the participation of all in Formation is important, particularly as the congregational leadership team launches the training for all regions that will search for alternative ways to formation. She said this “will require us to go beyond structures that are no longer relevant for today’s context.”
“ I am hopeful that this training session will engage your participation in meaningful conversations. You will have opportunities to share your experiences of formation, address critical issues, explore alternative approaches and seek out new resources.”
CLT and Formation for Shepherding Today Committee
The training was planned by Congregational Leadership Team (CLT) with the Formation for Shepherding Today Committee in Rome in 2010. The Committee was formed after the Congregational Chapter 2009 to: “ensure a holistic and relevant formation that prepares, renews and sustains for the challenge of today’s realities.” The committee is composed of Srs. Martha Nthinga (Kenya), Teresita Figueroa (Philippines), Elvira Rodrigues (Contemplative) Southeast Latin America, and Francisca Ponce (Bolivia/Chile). Members of the Congregational Leadership Team who give focus on this area of Formation are: Srs. Susan Chia RGS, Anne Josephine Carr RGS and Ma. Teresa Pomar CGS.
The CLT and the Formation for Shepherding Today Committee envisioned to organize international formation sessions and training sessions for Good Shepherd formators. Formators will also review the Guidelines for Formation in the light of the present realities in the congregation and the lived experience of the various units. The planned international formators’ training is being coordinated with the Spirituality Center in Angers whose staff are in the Philippines as resource persons for the sessions. Another objective that the committee hopes to accomplish is the organization of leadership sessions for new unit leadership teams.
The first module that the Formation for Shepherding Today Committee planned will be held in three locations: Philippines, October 17-November 27 for Asia-Pacific; Chile , February 20-April 2, 2012 for the Americas; and Kenya July 2-August 13, 2012 for Europe/RIMOA.
This training uses an experiential and co-learning model. It is a process of weaving conversations to gather the wisdom in the group in discovering what we care about. Through this we learn together, discern the strengths and purpose of formation and the changes that are needed in order to bring about a formation that is relevant for mission today.
Resource persons include Good Shepherd Sisters Clare Nolan of the Good Shepherd International Justice and Peace Office in New York, Paulina Diez and Tarcila Abano of the Spirituality Center in Angers, Donal Kirk of the Christian Brothers and Lim Mung San of the Integrative Learning Consultancy.
Sr. Rebecca Kay Thi OO of the Congregational Spirituality Center and Sr. Maria Teresa Pomar of the CLT contemplative council also came as participants.
The second module for Asia-Pacific is scheduled for November 10- December 10, 2012, also in the Philippines.
Congregational Chapter Threads
It will be recalled that the Congregational Leadership Team presented the nine Chapter Threads or the areas important to the congregation as the Directives of the 2009 Congregational Chapter are implemented. Formation for Shepherding Today is among the nine threads. Other Chapter Threads are: Spirituality- Source of Spirit and Life, Justice and Peace in Global Solidarity, Good Shepherd Partnership in Mission, Envisioning Connections, Journey of Enrichment, Mission Development, Enabling Congregational Mission and Missionary Process and Expansion.