The final day of Chapter is getting under way. Talk at breakfast was about boarding passes and departure times. A sense of quiet satisfaction reigns as people reflect back over the past two weeks and allow themselves the credit of a job well done. Guided by the facilitator, Sister Catherine Ryan, a direction for the next six years has been charted.
Yeserday evening I took advantage of some free time to walk in the garden. Sister Anne showed me the fountain that had just been activated that very day. In the gathering dusk its faling waters provided a mellow soundscape for a few reflective moments. Across the lake Castelgandolfo had become a dark silhoutte agains the evening sky. The lake was like glass and the first lights around the edge were beginning to show. Up here in the quiet and in the remoteness of the place it seems that the ordinary bustle of life is very far away. No traffic, no noise, no urban sounds. Just the quiet.
I found myself thinking what a good experience being here at Villa Palazzola has been, despite the sometimes frenetic pace of it all. It has been, for me at least, a powerful moment of inspiration and openess. I have also enjoyed the communal dimension of shared meals, jokes, stumbling up and down the stone stairways, the various liturgies, and the opportunties to share faith. A graced time.
Still, though, there is some remaining work to be done. This morning the Chapter will meet to review final formalities. There will be a few final remarks and formal expressions of gratitutde. Then, this evening, a formal Ritual of Closure will take place in the Chapel. And that will be it.
Tomorrow, participants will leave on buses and taxis for the varous airports or other places. We will be happy that the Chapter has been a graced experience. Jesus was among us and the Spirit was present in many moments of invitation and challenge.
The Chapter Statement will eventually be shared more widely and its inspiration will inform decision-making across the wider Congregation of the Presentation Brothers. We wish the new Congregation Leadership Team success and many blessings. They will be supported by the prayers and good wishes of many.
It is a new day!