DREAMING * DARING * DEEPENING
What is a Province Chapter?
Preparing for Chapter is a function unique to religious orders. A Chapter may be held at a general, provincial, or local level depending on the structure of the religious congregation.
Chapter is a gathering of a religious community to set direction and elect leaders. Chapter, when in session, is the highest decision-making body. Delegates are chosen among the vowed members to represent the whole Province at Pre-Chapter and Chapter meetings.
Within the United States Province of Saint Clare, (more commonly known as the Wheaton Franciscans) a Provincial Chapter is held every 4 years. The Chapter consists of two parts—the Chapter of Affairs and the Chapter of Elections. Read more about the history of Chapter and Purpose of a Chapter.
On March 16, 2019, Sr. Melanie Paradis, our Provincial Directress, convoked the Provincial Chapter of 2020. She reminded us that “we have been women and men of courage – of heart. We have looked to the needs of the times and evolved and transformed ourselves and the way we live out our values.” She challenged us with questions to help courageously discern the next step … the next transformation…. “What is our joy? Where is our purpose? Who do we say we are at heart?” She stated that “We have the great opportunity to face these questions of this time and we have the wonderful possibilities of answers. This time of Pre-Chapter and Chapter allows us to focus again on our values as Wheaton Franciscans and to respond to the need of our times.”
Purpose of Provincial Chapter
Ever since the beginning of our congregation, the founding charism of Mother M. Clara has been lived in different countries; thus, division into provinces came about. Each sister shares responsibility for the life of her province. In accord with our Franciscan heritage and the tradition of our congregation, each province holds a provincial chapter, within the framework of the constitution.
The Provincial Chapter is the highest decision-making body of the province. Within the framework of the constitution and the decisions of the General Chapter (Held every six years) the provincial chapter has its own autonomy in leading the province.
The task of the Provincial Chapter is
▪ to promote the spiritual vitality and life of the province;
▪ to evaluate our lives and ministry in the light of contemporary needs of the Church and society;
▪ to consider new and inherited meanings of our Franciscan heritage and the founding purpose of Mother M. Clara;
▪ to discuss reports of related to province administration and ministries;
▪ to discuss important matters which pertain to the welfare of the province and to make necessary decisions concerning them;
▪ to examine the financial report;
▪ to elect the provincial leadership;
▪ to authorize the provincial leadership to act in matters not foreseen by the provincial chapter; and to provide for adequate communication systems.
(Reference: Constitution and Directory of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary paragraph 73-74 and the Book of the Province ST 76.01)