ELM 2023 communication for all

This page offers communications during the Extended Leadership Meeting held from Monday the 22nd to Friday the 26th of May. The week before Pentecost!

link to ELM 2023 Padlet This is an interactive space where participants and sisters and friends across the globe can share messages, photos and more.

Note: Keep refreshing this web page each day and scroll down here for next daily update

Leaders participating

Judy IligUSA
Helen TimothyUSA
Sabrina EdwardsSouth Asia
Elena CerdeirasSpain
Patricia McLaughlin Peru
Ann O’ConnellPeru
Barbara MurphyIreland
Jen BromhamUK
Lucy NderiEast Africa
Evanne HunterCanada
Mary MallanyCanada
Jane Mc DonnellCanada
Marie-Ange Lim Kim YeeMauritius
Therese Yaw Kan TongMauritius
Pat HanveySouth Africa
Wendy HildebrandAustralia and South East Asia
Geraldine MCAleerFinance
Carmel SwordsGen
Kate MyersGen
Geraldine MoktanGen
Natalie HoulihanGen
Mary KamothoGen
We begin with the Celebration of Eucharist on Sunday the 21st of May,
– The Ascension of the Lord
David Holcroft SJ will be our celebrant.

Opening Words by Institute Leader Carmel Swords ibvm

First Reading Acts 1:1-11 ·

Second Reading Ephesians 1:17-23

Gospel Acclamation
Matthew 28:19. 20

Alleluia, alleluia!

Go and teach all people my gospel.

I am with you always, until the end of the world.


Gospel of Matthew 28:16-20

Go and make disciples of all nations

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

Before the Opening Liturgy, the ELM leaders had a session with Tina Campbell, Safeguarding Consultant to Religious Congregations including the Union of International Superiors General, UISG.

Summary of ELM Day 1, 22nd May 2023

After Carmel introduced the facilitators, David and Pablo from the Discerning Leadership Group, the ELM leaders readily moved into five faith sharing groups to join in prayer, deep listening, and spiritual conversation with the Gospel of the day, John 16:29-33.

Subsequently the day that unfolded was rich and productive, with three main sessions shaped around the connections between discernment and leadership. With courage, the leaders dived deeply into an exploration of their own experience of call and vocation, then worked at gathering and growing in their shared understanding of the current reality. This flowed into a collective and animated review of the more recent years of our graced history of the Institute. The whole process was encouraged through a variety of creative lens’s offered by the facilitators. The leaders were invited to see with fresh eyes, relate with open hearts, become fully present to each other with holy expectations that something new will emerge this week.

The group was at home with a spacious examen at the end of the sessions and with gratitude moved into Celebration of Eucharist with David McCallum SJ and a shared dinner followed by a well deserved rest.

Summary of ELM Day 2, 23rd May 2023

Faith Sharing Groups began the day contemplating Jesus’ intimate prayer of love to his Father in the Gospel of John 17:1-11 and spiritual conversation.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Rome and throughout the day many sisters decided to take advantage of the generous garden spaces for the deep listening, spiritual conversation, and discernment exercises that they were offered by David and Pablo. Reflecting on charism and strengths as an Institute, increasing awareness of one’s own leadership experience and style and dreaming with God about what is being called forth now for the future was the focus. Discovery through appreciative inquiry was the method used to ‘mine for gold’ in one another’s stories and gather and refine the collective wisdom of the group. With an image of the Alps presented to them early in the day, and knowing Mary Ward crossed these mountains back and forth three times -how could they help but respond to this powerful invitation to join her in heroic persistence, faith and courage in this journey of discovery. The group worked at depth throughout the day. What a blessing it is to end the day together with Celebration of Eucharist and a shared meal.

Summary of ELM Day 3, 24th of May 2023

Faith Sharing Groups began the day with the Gospel of John 17:11-19. After reviewing the day at depth with its consolations, insights and questions in a deeply engaged plenary session, the leaders moved into an exploration of leadership within the context of which we are living. David gave some input around this context. An image of canoeing through rapid waters was offered and the acronym based on leadership theories was explored. VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Pope Francis’s address to the Roman Curia in December 2020 provides a framing of crisis in context that the leaders found helpful and deepened their discernment. Detailed sharing of the different styles and experiences of leadership at depth is in process. This is a profound time of exploration for the ELM who are wanting to really attend to what the Spirit is inviting them to and take notice of what is emerging for the Institute at this time.

Summary of ELM Day 4, 25th May 2023

Faith sharing groups contemplated the Gospel of the day, John 17:20-26 Father, may they be completely one’ and joined together in spiritual conversation. The Gospel then permeated the day. The spirit of oneness that many had experienced at the GC, was alive and became incarnate as the group ‘enlarged their tents, (Isaiah 54:2) in their dreaming and began to make concrete their designs. Over the course of the day the leaders continued to refine the glimmerings that had been stirring and shape them into concrete realities, working towards commitments and actions. Using their imaginations in prayer and deep listening to each other with spiritual conversation, the charism was well and truly vibrant with felicity flourishing. There were interactive sessions on the ‘diffusion innovation curve’ and the ‘integral framework’ tools used at times of organisational change that engaged the group with their heads, hearts and bodies. Amazingly the energy levels were high at the end of the last session and the rhythm of an examen, celebration of Eucharist with song and dinner a perfect end. A very warm welcome at dinner was had to our visitors Pat Murray ibvm Executive secretary of the UISG (International Union of Superiors General) and consultant to the Dicastery of Culture and Education and Pauline Macharia ibvm, International Mary Ward JPIC coordinator.

Summary of ELM Day 5, Final Day 26th May 2023

“Feed my lambs, feed my sheep’ Jesus says to Peter after responding three time to Jesus that he loved him. On the final day, the leaders began by contemplating Jesus’ love and mission in today’s Gospel. As with all the readings this week preparing for being sent forth with the Spirit, the leaders have been breathing with the rhythm of the Church.

The first session was again an open circle plenary to review the moments that came up in their examen yesterday, building on them in the way of appreciative inquiry that they were growing into with grace.

They then moved into the design phase, shaping five tasks that they had discerned were the priority for the Institute using the ‘world café model’ of working. Five presentations were then shared and distilled with further conversations. Shared wisdom, questions, clarifications and shaping developed through the sessions that built on one another and continued through conversations at morning teas and lunch. They arrived at a place of grace and concrete actions, energised and full of gratitude, eager to share it with their sisters at home and friends of Mary Ward.

seeing with the eyes of the heart
crossing boundaries
stimulating and deeply satisfying
gratitude, synodality
hope and gratitude
touching gold
deep gratitude, a life giving experience
gratitude enriched
trust and new life
abundant and alive
life-giving connection
gratitude for a graced experience
inspiration from my Ignatian sisters
bringing to birth
enlightenment and gratitude
gratitude and life
fire rekindled
Christ centred
love awe and reverence
special grace to trust and positive energy

Some words shared at the end of the Examen

The Spirit was abound at our Celebration of Eucharist where we all gathered in a circle around the altar. After mass, Carmel thanked the outgoing leaders, Bernie Boland ibvm (in the UK) Elena Cerdeiras ibvm, Spain Helen Timothy ibvm, USA, Wendy Hildebrand ibvm, Australia and South East Asia, Judy Illig ibvm, USA, Patricia McLaughlin ibvm and Ann O’Connell Peru and the sisters prayed a special blessing of love and gratitude.