Upon awakening on the morning or Saturday, October 13th little did the Sisters, Consecrated Seculars and Associates realize that their trip to the Provincial House gymnatorium would in part become a pilgrimage.
Indeed the lively assembly eagerly nestled at their chosen tables hugging their steaming hot cups in the hopes of warding off the first nips of autumn’s chill on a dank and dreary A.M.outdoors.
This traditional gathering featured presentations by 3 Sisters who had attended a summer seminar on the Spirituality of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit. In turn, Janet Lewis, Rose Gauthier, and Jeannine Légère led the assembly through their experience in Brittany, France, the foundation “holy” ground of the Congregation that dates back to 1706. All three presentations helped us in word and visuals to understand and appreciate those essential qualities that flow from the Spirit and whose activation and cultivation in each Daughter, Consecrated Secular or Associate assists us in our daily lives to remain rooted in the triune God and to move towards others as Christ Himself did, sharing life and love at each stop on his journey/pilgrimage.
As the program unfolded, Sr Gertrude Lanouette, Provincial Team leader, made sure to take a special moment or two to acknowledge the retirement of Sr. Claudette Huot who had served as secretary to the Province for 16 years. A standing ovation underlined the joyful and grateful attitude of all present.
The highlight of the afternoon was the gathering of the group in the chapel for a festive mass in honor of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Associate Branch of the DHS.
It was on October 23rd, 1988 that three women – Yvonne Despathy, Mary MacDonald and Diane Summa- expressed their Covenants and were welcomed as the charter members of an Associate body that today boasts 106 members in the USA and 546 members internationally.
A festive atmosphere with balloons and symbols permeated the chapel throughout the liturgy. Words of encouragement, congratulations, and challenge were well received from celebrant and honorary DHS the Very Rev. Laurence LaPointe while our organist Tom Gouin and cantor Phyllis Martin animated the meaningful hymns and songs. Covenants were renewed by all Associates in attendance including Ann Wright who traveled from England to celebrate with us.
A rousing version of “Take the World with You” accompanied by drums and the waving of colorful streamers carried the assembly from the chapel back to the gymnatorium for a celebratory breaking of bread and a taste of the delicious traditional anniversary cake leaving all participants energized and ready to continue their pilgrimage home to live and share their experience of their God and lover of us all who is present in everyone we meet and at the core of our greatest moments of joy and ‘family’ celebrations.