Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum

Monday 15 September: Sixth Day of the Symposium

Monday 15 September
Sixth Day of the Symposium

The main language of our liturgy was German, None was led by our sisters from Australia.

Morning Session

After Terce, we were fortunate enough to have Abbé Jean-Pierre Longeat, the President of AIM (Alliance InterMonastères), to speak to us, introduced by Sr Judith Ann.

Listen to Sr Judith Ann’s introduction, and to Abbé Jean-Pierre
(English and French)

Sr Judith Ann’s introduction, and Abbé Jean-Pierre

Sr Judith Ann thanked Abbé Jean-Pierre, both for sharing with us, and for AIM’s continuing support for the CIB—she also told us how AIM had made it financially possible for some of the participants to be present at the Symposium.

As we came in, we had noticed a large stack of books on a table. The Abbot Primate then addressed us, explaining that he had brought a signed copy of his recent book, ‘The Art of Leadership’, by Notker Wolf and Enrica Rosanna, as a gift for each one of us!

Panel Presentations

It was time to listen to our senior panelists. The four panelists had been asked to comment on one of four ‘situations’ for their presentation. (No one chose situation 2)

Situation 1
‘Obey the orders of the abbot unreservedly, even if his own conduct – which God forbid – be at odds with what he says. Remember the teaching of the Lord: “do what they say, not what they do.”’ (RB 4:59-61)

Situation 3
‘The eighth step of humility is that a monk does only what is endorsed by the common rule of the monastery and the example set by his superiors.’ (RB 7:55).
Nowadays many sisters in key positions no longer inform their superiors regarding their projects or activities. It is sad to note that at times it is the superior who is the last to know or hear of the project or activity of a sister. Does ‘listening with the ear of the heart’ include a superior’s support of the activities of a sister and also the eagerness of a sister to inform her superior or community regarding her involvements? Elaborate.

Situation 4
‘The young monks then must respect their seniors and the seniors must love their juniors’.
A sister who is not in speaking terms with her superior communicates through email for information, permission etc. even if they only live a cell apart. The superior bides her time to confront the sister, and answers the sister concerned by email.
Comment on how listening of the heart can be applied here.

Mother Andrea Savage (Situation 1)

Sister Carmen Davila (Situation 1)

Mother Hanna Van Quakebeke (Situation 3)

Mother Theonestina Nambunga  (Situation 4)

We concluded the session by singing ‘Laudate Omnes Gentes’.

After the break it was the turn of the Young Sisters to be the panelists. The Young Sisters tackled the questions that had arisen from the panel presentations we had heard, giving them a chance to ‘react to the seniors and put in their own ideas’ we were grateful for their frankness in sharing with us from their real-life situations.

Community of Sant’Egidio

Later in the day a large group of us crossed the ‘Fiume Tevere’ and walked though the fascinating cobbled streets and squares of Trastevere to Piazza S.Egidio to visit the community of Sant’Egidio. We were welcomed by Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the community, who spoke to us with great enthusiasm about his community, their history and their work.

We joined the community for evening prayer in the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, returning to Sant’ Egidio for supper. Then it was time to walk back to San Anselmo along streets full of brightly-lit stalls and people enjoying an evening out.

Photos by Sr Benedict Brown (Flickr)

Photos by Sr Mary Luke Jones (Flickr)