Presentations

A number of speakers were presenters at the Chapter in its first days. You will find here, where appropriate and available, an audio recording of the relevant presentation. They are listed here by speaker. The audio recording is in the Soundcloud web format.

Gemma Simmonds

Gemma Simmonds is a theologian at the Jesuit Heythrop College in London. She spoke on Holy Thursday and she presented on the topic of patriarchy and power. In the course of her talks she explored the relationships between patriarchy and masculinity. In particular she developed the topic of masculinity in relation to what it means to be a religious brother. She sees the exploration of this theme as valuable in understanding the vocation of a religious brothers as a call to be a revolutionary of tenderness (Pope Francis).

In a second presentation Sister Gemma Simmonds brings to our attention the fact that Catholic religious men and women (in the canonical sense) have become redundant in the global north while expanding in the global south. She also enunciated the insight that it is no longer the case of ‘having’ a mission but of ‘being’ the mission. We are the mission in virtue of our consecration as religious men and women.

Sister Pat Murray

On Good Friday Sister Pat Murray from the Union of Superiors General (UISG) in Rome reflected with the Chapter participants on a variety of themes from recent Church documents, in particular, from Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si. Both her presentations were challenging. They offered a sociological perspective which permit us to understand the current situation, one of decline in the global north while there is growth in religious life in the global south, and also posed new challenges. Drawing on insights from a recent document from the Brazilian Conference of Religious she opened up for the Chaper new perspectives and challenges. These involve a willingness to live fully the redundancy and liminality of religious life as it has been traditionally understood.

In her second talk Sister Pat developed the theme of being at the crosswords and explored pathways to a spirituality consistent with new directions. It is challenging to live the new story that we glimpse in the encounters with the realities of our time, particularly when we opt for living ‘in the middle of’ the people. This, however, is the clear challenge to which contemporary religious men and women are invited to respond.

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