This morning we elected a new Superior General*
for the Daughters of St. Paul.
Sister Anna Maria Parenzan is from northern Italy, and has served in our Generalate (world headquarters) for many years, first as a spirituality researcher (and practitioner! she's our leading expert in the spiritual theology of Blessed James Alberione), then as the Secretary General, then as a General Counselor and Vicar. I have known her for about 15 years, and have always seen her as a wise and humble woman, ready to be of service.
After the election, she took an oath of office and general merriment ensued, with the sister from Congo supplying some enthusiastic ululating. Sister Anna Maria did not wait to receive the sisters one by one, but left the podium area returned to the assembly rows to greet us. (The Congolese sister did a little celebratory dance around her at that point.) At supper, the different language groups offered songs. The English speaking group (US, Great Britain and Australia--India and the Philippines had their own cultural offerings) didn't quite know what to sing, so we just gave a rousing version of "She's a jolly good fellow." The French-speaking sisters were at a real disadvantage: there are only two of them (although several of the sisters from Africa-Madagascar speak French). So it was "Alouette" from Montreal and France. Earlier, a group of the Italian sisters jokingly sang "E qui comando io" to the meek new Mother General.
Tomorrow we begin to elect her closet collaborators, the members of the General Council.
*A word about the wording: In the religious life (even in the Jesuits!), the word "General" has no military resonance at all. It simply means "overall"; as in "General Electric." So the Superior General is simply the superior with overall responsibility for the order or congregation.