The Province of Saint Ann completed its XXVI Provincial Chapter on August 12, 2022 and as most of the SSS Congregation knows, the real work begins for the new council! For the USA Province, it meant a chance to take seriously the synodality that was a high point of our chapter. The listening that the twenty-two USA religious and four international religious experienced was a profound experience of renewal, awakening the desire to serve with the greatest care, passing on the Eymardian vision to the next generation. For the majority, they voiced the strong desire to quickly reawaken international ties and bonds forged over many years and concretely take steps to have international religious come and share in the mission of the Province of Saint Ann.
When I was elected Provincial Superior, I was quite humbled and stunned, for I did not see this possibility for myself. But, knowing that my term as local superior had come to an end, I hoped that the chapter would bear fruit in its internationality goal in a real concrete way immediately. And so, it happened! Morning came, evening followed, and our local community met to discern a new local superior. We have three separate communities in Cleveland, the northeastern Ohio area having the Provincialate in Highland Heights, our special ministries house in University Heights, and our assisted living community with other religious in Richfield. All came together to continue the synodal process and discern. Additionally, we decided to be one community in three houses to show our ever-growing unity and love for one another.
Through the process, we first asked what the community needed at this time in local leadership. One desire was an international presence leading us, proudly sharing with the world that we wish the talents of ALL religious to be shared and supporting one another in the local community. The desire for more of our spirituality shared, studied, and lived also became a concern.
So, for the first time, the local community chose Filipino religious Juancho (Choy) Ramos as its local community superior. As assistant superior, Michael Angel Perez was selected to work in the areas of spirituality and continuing formation specifically. For the first time in Highland Heights, the community, “the big house,” has an international priest at the helm with a Puerto Rican descent religious as assistant. It should be noted that both Michael and Choy served as superiors at the theologate in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively, and Michael was once again also superior in New York-Saint Andrew, but this is the first time we have had such a diverse, cultural base for our local leadership in our provincialate community.
Our chapter results have many scattered seeds and are now being sown. We shall see how they blossom as our province discusses ways with the countries of the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and India, ways we may better collaborate. We also look forward to working with our other English-speaking provinces of Great Britain, Ireland, and Australia as we work in a truly international partnership, serving one another in our Eymardian, Eucharistic way. Stay tuned!
Father John Thomas Lane, sss