The first full day of the Federation Chapter began with a breakfast orientation session for people attending their first Federation Chapter or others who wanted a refresher. Sister Susan Hutchens gave us a quick historical overview (reminding us that we had read Ardent Women!) and a sense of what the purpose of a Chapter: promoting unity while safeguarding the autonomy of individual monasteries, defining the spirit and goals of the Federation in the current context, preserving the Benedictine heritage and promoting cenobitic life, and the practical task of establishing general policies.
Sister Susan encouraged us to think of ourselves in two different models.
- In the Proxy model, we promote the interest of our individual monasteries, gathering information and bringing forth their viewpoints.
- In the Wisdom model, we work together to discern what is best for all the monasteries of the Federation
It was useful to have this perspective: I was ready to dive in.