HONG KONG (SE): The 24th general chapter of the Sisters of the Precious Blood closed on August 8 with a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung to thank God for his guidance and blessings.
After 10 days of discussion and sharing, the 30 delegates left with the confidence that they had found new direction in the challenge of evangelisation faced by the only locally founded religious congregation for women in Hong Kong.
The chapter served to galvanise the sisters in their determination to be salt for the earth and light for the world, by living out the mission of Jesus Christ in service of the people.
Bishop Yeung stressed that they should respond to the call of God without precondition, because “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).
He said that they should be part of the salvation of Jesus Christ and carry their cross with him and it is only by sharing in the suffering of Christ can they enter into his glory (1 Peter 4:13).
In reflecting on the theme of the chapter, Be part of the salvation of Jesus Christ to ignite life’s energy and live out the joy of the gospel, Bishop Yeung reminded the sisters that in physical or spiritual suffering, they are partaking in the salvation of Jesus Christ.
The newly appointed bishop of Hong Kong said that it is only by facing such challenges and difficulties squarely that the glory of the resurrection can be shared.
He added that a loving and merciful heart has the courage to move out of its comfort zone and encounter others and embrace everyone as a neighbour.
In exhorting the sisters to take on the responsibility, he encouraged them to love their free will, so that love will flourish and extend itself.
He also encouraged them to live out the joy of the gospel with gratitude, so as to proclaim the gospel to all creation and testify to the kingdom of God.
At the offertory procession during the Mass, the delegates to the chapter formed three groups, each of which offered a gift symbolic of their reflection over the past days and prayed that God will accept their offering.
Sister Madeleine Kwong Lai-kuen, the re-elected superior general, reiterated that as the only locally-founded Hong Kong diocesan congregation, the Sisters of the Precious Blood has a close connection with the bishop of the diocese.
She promised the bishop that the Precious Blood Sisters will follow his leadership and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, she said that the sisters will commit themselves to carrying the cross of Jesus Christ, testifying by joyfully living the three evangelical counsels and a communal religious life while engaging in apostolic work.
The Sisters of the Precious Blood is formed by the precious blood that Jesus shed on the cross, which is the source and treasure of the unique spirituality of the congregation.
Sister Kwong described the cross as being the intersection of heaven, earth and man—where sin meets grace, hatred meets forgiveness and conflict meets reconciliation.
She reflected that the general chapter reaffirmed that the Sisters of the Precious Blood are called to embrace the cross and although they are in the world, they do not belong to the world (John 17:11-14), but are challenged to find God in all things and to live out the mercy of Christ in their life and work.
She stressed that while throwing themselves into serving others, they live with a focus on eternity and the kingdom of God, rather than on this life.
Although the congregation seems to be aging and lacking in human resources, in the light of the Holy Spirit the sisters gained a new perspective on this challenge and explored the possibility of tapping other resources, coming to the realisation that the benefactors and supporters who collaborate with them in apostolic work are the precious resources of the congregation.
Sister Kwong said that she believes that the Holy Spirit is alive and active, and blazes like fire in the heart of every sister.
With the fire of the apostolic courage that the Holy Spirit kindles in the sisters’ hearts, they will be able to face the challenges and respond to the needs of the contemporary world confidently and bravely.
Sister Kwong encouraged the sisters to be imbued with the apostolic spirit, embrace the cross, sacrifice self and transcend the suffering of death by offering life to God to ultimately enter the glory of resurrection with Christ in the age to come.
The general chapter has closed, but in the days and ahead will come the dawn of the resurrection! “Arise, let us move from here!”