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Friday, 11 December 2015 14:28

Missionary Sisters of Service usher in new era

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mss 2015 chapterThe recent Missionary Sisters of Service Chapter gathering adopted a new way of governance, where lay people could be elected into the Governing Body and saw the election of three lay members into the new MSS Governing Body, reports the newsletter Highways and Byways.

Twenty Missionary Sisters of Service from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria gathered at Holy Cross, Templestowe Vic. on 22nd November 2015.

This gathering for Chapter would be momentous, the last in MSS history. It would usher in a new way of governance for the congregation.

Traditionally, the Chapter, made up of the whole body of sisters, has been the core element in governance. It set the direction of mission for the following years and elected from among themselves the sisters who led the congregation in that direction. This mode of governance has worked very well for us in the past.

Attentive to current conditions in the world and the ageing of our sisters, the Chapter adopted a new way of
governance. In place of Chapters, which in church law can only consist of the sisters, we will hold Assemblies which
can include participating lay people. For most of MSS history we have worked closely with lay people. Until this
change, they could not be involved in our governance.

Now, not only can they now be members of our Assemblies, but they can also be elected to our Governing
Body. Chapter concluded with passing these changes into the MSS Constitution.

The next morning we gathered as an Assembly with a number of participating lay people who have already become part of our story. We looked seriously at our future, the questions we need to raise and decisions that will need to be taken towards shaping that future.

The Assembly re-elected Stancea Vichie as Leader and Bernadette Wallis as member of the Governing Body to serve for the next four years and commissioned them, together with Margaret Lynch, Doug Sumner and Gabrielle McMullen to serve as the MSS Governing Body.

There was a palpable sense of confidence, joy and gratitude in this newly constituted Body, knowing the governance of the congregation is in the hands of a competent and committed team, deeply imbued with the charism and mission of MSS.

This was first published in the December 2015 edition of Highways and Byways, the newsletter of the John Wallis Foundation and the Missionary Sisters of Service.