General Chapter Experiences

By Sr. Vimala Vadakumpadan, USA

Having participated four General Chapters and experienced the richness of such special Congregational events, I understand well what Fr. Bruno Cadore O.P, Master General of the Order shared with us during the retreat of our General Chapter in 2014.

He said:

“General Chapter is a celebration of: Gratitude, Unity and Generosity."


I experienced these three elements in each general chapter I participated.

Through the various presentations and sharing from the Structures at the General Chapter, expressions of tremendous gratitude for the marvelous works the Lord has done and is doing where our Congregation is present was a touching experience. They were moments to turn to the Lord with hearts full of gratitude for using each sister as His instrument to announce the good news of Jesus Christ where she is sent.

Delegates from the different Structures with various ministry involvements and cultural background brought in a wealth of knowledge to the entire group. In spite of the human limitations and language barriers, celebration of unity found a prominent place at various moments during the Chapter.

As we all know, the birth of our Congregation is the work of Providence and the vision, gift of self and generosity of Blessed Marie Poussepin. I was always in awe in listening to the experiences of our sisters and how they have touched the lives of thousands of people in various countries all these years with audacity, love and simplicity through their generosity often risking their own lives.

To me, General Chapter has been a celebration of the entire Congregation. During those days I was able to have a wider vision of who we are as daughters of Blessed Marie Poussepin in different parts of the World and how we respond to the needs of the church and the world keeping our charism alive and relevant for each moment of history.

The first time I participated in a General Chapter, it was an experience to learn, to be open, to understand, to discover and embrace the sacredness of the moment. I learned to let go off my small corner of the world that I knew, and open myself to the reality of the wider context of our Congregation. Searching for the common good in its fullness is more important than what is good for my individual structure. Subsequent General Chapters enabled me to deepen my understanding of what I was called for. As a Delegate trusted and sent by my structure, I was convinced that my selfless, open, free and authentic participation was my call of the moment no matter how small it may be.

The prayerful support of the sisters of the whole Congregation was a great strength for us as delegates and relying on the guidance of the spirit for the sacred work of the Chapter was clear each time.

When confrontations and human weakness gave way to unpleasant and difficult discussions, I experienced the mercy of God bearing fruits in the group through the help of our own sisters as mediators.

One of my memorable experiences that I cherish the most from the General Chapters I participated is of being able to pray at the tomb of our Mother Foundress daily at La Breteche. To witness many other sisters praying at her tomb was a moving experience for me. Imploring her guidance and strength to do the will of God in our deliberations, discussions and agreements to live the charism to the full and bring vitality in our Congregation was a privileged moment for me.

Election of the superior General in such a solemn atmosphere each time is another unforgettable moment that remains in my heart as a profound time of listening to the spirit to choose the sister able to lead the Congregation for the next five years in the footsteps of our Mother Foundress.

It has been a blessing for me to be a member of the General Chapter. Each time I learned more of who we are and what we stand for as a Congregation. I experienced the richness and challenges of an International Congregation in a deeper way. These experiences have enriched me to open my eyes, mind and heart widely and live my daily life with passion and love for our Congregation and encourage others to take this journey with joy in spite of the obstacles we may encounter on the way.

I want to share with you a thought that I heard in a homily recently. “Do not wait for a golden opportunity to do something; search and find the gold that is hidden in the opportunity you have been given right now.”

Be assured of my prayerful support to all the delegates of the General Chapter as you reflect on the theme “going beyond the borders”, envision the future of our Congregation and elect our next Superior General and her councilors.


Initial photo by Sor Gemma Morató (General Chapter 2009 - La Grande Bretèche).