The aim of the Community of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd is the adoration of God in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ and the imitation of his most holy life. Its fellowship and discipline are intended to encourage and direct its members in achieving this aim. Their membership will remind them that they can carry out their vocation of worship and service only in communion with the Good Shepherd and in the power of the Holy Spirit. They will seek in the Community these blessings for themselves and will order their lives for the strengthening of their Sisters in accordance with the Notes which follow.
The first note of the Community's life is fellowship. Individual members will endeavour so to merge their lives in the corporate life of the Community that they will feel incomplete without it and the Community incomplete without them. Sisters will find and maintain in the Community a true Christian family in love and mutual service. Each member's work will be an element in the work of the whole. Members will seek the advice of the Community in matters requiring discernment and in meeting personal difficulties. In undertaking additional or new work, will take into account the corporate life of the College and Community.
Sisters will be open to constructive criticism as well as encouragement when they ask for advice.
The corporate life of the Community will be expressed in the common observance of the Rule, in the sharing of a common call and in the daily fellowship of prayer and sacrament. This fellowship will be deepened by understanding and affection between the Colleges, so that the whole Community may grow into a holy temple in the Lord.
The Community will allow full scope for the development of individual talents while insisting on fellowship as the first note of its life. It will encourage its members to develop their personal gifts and thus to enrich the offering laid at the feet of Christ.
Members of the Community will always strive to regard material possessions, as well as spiritual and personal gifts, as a stewardship of wealth to be consecrated to the service of God. Sisters are not required to renounce worldly possessions or to surrender positions of influence or moderate comfort, but they are required to render an account of their stewardship, and the Community has the right to suggest modifications in how a member is using her material assets.
4. Labour of the Mind
The learned tradition of the Religious Life gives the Community a duty of thought and study. Members will endeavour to worship God with their minds as well as with heart and soul. They will be fearless in following truth, and will constantly try to express it, so that Christ may be as fully presented as thought and word allow. They will have a private rule of reading. Each Sister will seek according to her ability to bring new thought and knowledge under the discipline of Christ, in order to promote a better understanding of the loving purposes of God.
5. The Love That Makes for Peace
The foundation of the life of the Community will be that mutual love which has always been the essence of community life in the catholic Church. The unfailing love of its members one towards another will be increased by extending this love to all people, whether within the Church or without it. Members will have a concern for living interests and problems in Church and State, and, in discussing opinions which differ from their own, will avoid harsh judgments. Sisters must try to understand these differing opinions, in the hope that they may help to restore the unity of all Christian people in the spirit of charity and peace. They will recognise in all people those for whom Christ died, and will treat them with the courtesy and reverence due to his great love.
Members of the Community are women under authority, pledged to assist in maintaining its common discipline. They will, with the help of the Community, be particularly careful in the practice of inner discipline and in embracing the will of God. Each Sister will have a share in the formation of the common mind of the Community, and will accept and obey it in a spirit of love and loyalty, trusting in the communal discernment of the whole fellowship. It is her duty to see that her own contribution to the corporate mind of the Community will strengthen the authority of the whole society over individual members.
Members of the Community will regularly make thanksgiving to God for his love until thanksgiving be spontaneous and perpetual. They will be regular in recreation; they will avoid anxiety and fuss; they will disown discouragement, and check all complaint and bitterness as being destructive of their Sisters' joy as well as of their own. They will accept gladly their share of weariness and sorrow in the joyful spirit of the saints and in the faithful following of him who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross. They will welcome any labour or sacrifice which will minister to the joy of others, looking toward that most blessed voice, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."