“The Mercy of God” was the theme of the August 16, 2022 US Province Assembly. In light of the July 21st disappearance of Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ, the original three-day gathering was adjusted to one, as was its focus from social justice issues to instead, the concept of mercy.
“How do we understand God’s love, God’s mercy in a situation like this,” said Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, referring to the disappearance of Fr. Anthony. “If God is really merciful, how did he ‘allow’ this to happen?”
But mercy, said Sr. Dianne, is not just forgiveness. “Sometimes mercy also means challenge and suffering.”
Sr. Dianne, a Sister of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac, WI, served on the faculty of Catholic Theological Union from 1978 to 2014, where she had many SCJs as students. Her curriculum vitae is lengthy, including service as President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (2000-2001) and as the Rev. Robert J. Randall Distinguished Professor of Christian Culture, Providence College, Providence, RI (2009-2010).
Following her presentation, Sr. Dianne encouraged SCJs to reflect on mercy as a community.
“What is the mercy of God calling the community to do in this moment?” she said. “How does this experience call on faith in the mercy of God?”
Sr. Dianne reminded SCJs to look at how they witness God’s mercy in each other, especially in the face of vulnerabilities seen and unseen. “Sometimes others know our vulnerabilities better than we do,” she said. “How do you reverence each other; how do we respect those to whom we claim to be united?”
Following small group discussions at table, SCJs were invited to share their reflections.
“I thought more about how mercy touches our interactions and experience with each other,” said Fr. John Czyzynski, SCJ. “Sometimes we must look hard at someone and realize that he is doing the best he can, just like me. We need to be merciful to one another.”
Fr. Jim Walters, SCJ, reminded his confreres of the comfort and support that the community gave to Fr. Anthony, helping him as his memory has significantly declined. “Someone always went to make sure that he knew that we were having prayer and helped him to come and join us; someone always helped him to find his place in the book,” he said. “These are simple acts that helped him feel welcome and appreciated and helped him continue to be with us at home in dignity.”
In the afternoon, SCJs were invited to take part in a “spiritual walk” in honor of Fr. Anthony. For some SCJs, this involved an actual walk; divided into small groups SCJs searched areas near Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake for clues regarding Fr. Anthony’s disappearance. The areas were chosen in collaboration with the Franklin Police Department. While the walk took place, other SCJs held an Adoration service.
2022 Province Assembly links:
FIRST PROFESSIONS (Monday evening)
SR. DIANNE BERGANT’S PRESENTATION ON MERCY
Please note: we experienced technical difficulties which forced us to halt the livestream of Sr. Dianne’s presentation. The first link is to the livestream that began with the opening prayer of the assembly. The second link is a video of the final eight+ minutes of her presentation. We apologize that there is a gap between the two segments
JUBILEE CELEBRATION (Tuesday evening)