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March News

Superior General's Mission Among Us and in the Congregation of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

By Sister Julia Dias Fonseca, FHIC

Reflecting on a theme to write about for the April-May issue of the Chatterbox, I thought that writing about the Superior General´s mission in my religious community would be most appropriate. Why? Because everyone is aware that she has come to New Bethany to spend time with the Sisters and also to visit the residents. This special visit is part of her mission as the Superior General of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who own and operate New Bethany. This visit is called canonical visit. By now, you probably understand that writing about a Superior General´s mission is to write about a "Mother´s presence" as a spiritual leader, shepherdess, in a religious community. In fact this special person, Sister Maria da Conceiçâo Galvâo Ribeiro, was chosen by the Lord through her election by Sisters representing all geographic congregational regions. This election took place at the XXV General Chapter of the Congregation held in Portugal at the Motherhouse last August 2, 2007

Endowed by God with many gifts of the mind and of the heart, Sister Maria da Conceição Galvão Ribeiro is generously sharing them with her religious family and with God´s People entrusted to her care. Her approach to assist the Sisters is to motivate them to be faithful to their vocation and mission

In her role as Mother General of the Congregation of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception her mission is mainly to be a link of unity for all the Sisters spread throughout the world. For this reason she will be visiting each regional unit during her six year term, where she will be a prophetic presence to encourage the Sisters to live faithfully their vocation to its fullest in intimacy with God, fidelity to the life in fraternity and mission, following in the footsteps of Jesus and the Founders whose charisma impels us to be faithful to the Gospel making our way of life centered in Jesus Christ. Living out Hospitality through the practice of the Works of Mercy in the Spirit of the Beatitudes is at the core of our life as FHIC Sisters .This religious family which was founded by Mother Maria Clara do Menino Jesus and Fr. Raimundo do Anjos Beirão On May 3, 18 ­71 ¯ has seen a succession of eleven General Superiors who have contributed markedly, according to the talents received, to the legacy of doing good where good needs to be done. They are the ones who throughout these 137 years of existence of our religious family have kept the flame of the charism alive leading the Sisters to live out their vocation in fidelity keeping the congregational flame burning and passing it on until this very day.

It is with a grateful heart that we acknowledge the love and mercy of our God who gives us Sisters to accompany us on our spiritual journey of holiness, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the person of those He chose to be our major Superiors whose mission is mainly to motivate us to become more Christ-like. We really enjoyed the presence of Sister Maria da Conçeiçâo Galvâo Ribeiro and her Counselor, Sister Musela Nunes May God continue blessing them abundantly.

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