After listening to experts about the life of the Church and of the world today, we moved a step forward in our Chapter and looked at the CONGREGATION’s journey.
We prayed to the Spirit, so that, like Mary, we may keep and ponder everything in our hearts (Lk 2:19) and that our listening may become wisdom enabling us to discern and choose what is Good (Lc 6:45).
Sr Nicla, the Chapter’s facilitator, reminded us that we are called to discern and make decisions to help the Congregation’s boat go out into the deep, leaving behind the safe harbours so well-known to us, being sure that the Lord is holding the boat’s helm.
For the discernment to lead to movement, so that we may encounter the Spirit coming to us, critical listening and the will of taking responsibility for change are required. Critical listening help us see how what is shared reflects the Gospel, it prompts the progress of humanity of each participant and helps us express the charism today. Besides it teaches us how to relate to others and it inspires an evangelical style of governing.
We began our journey in Europe, listening to the Besançon-Savoy and Euro-Mediterranean Provinces which are going to be unified and shared the pain caused by the loss of many Sisters during the pandemic. The closure of houses, the efforts required to constantly update the buildings according to the safety laws, etc., have become seeds of hope leading to new services, to international formation, and to centres of spirituality in places that have particular significance for the Congregation.
The Orient and Central Africa provinces shared their suffering and concern for the life of Sisters and communities whose cities and villages were hit by bombs and ravaged by soldiers. We are thankful for their resilience and their presence at the side of the poor. With them we say: we are fragile, but not discouraged … !
In the afternoon we crossed the ocean to listen to the Latin America and U.S.A. provinces, where the Sisters inspired by the Gospel of Bethany kept the mission going in spite of the decreasing number of Sisters, as many went to Heaven while others have gone back to their countries because of age and health problems. Nonetheless the Sisters have strengthened their communion and creativity finding new ways to respond to the pandemic.
Pakistan, India, Indonesia and South East Asia, (Laos and Vietnam), shared the liveliness of their young communities facing the challenge of formation. We may say with St Jeanne-Antide that “the Sisters are very young”, yet trusting in the Lord we believe that they shall root our charism in their cultures and share it everywhere.
All together we thank the Lord for all He works in us and with us!