Srs. Immaculate, Goretti, Stephania, Rosemary, Noeline, Roseline, Odile, Mami and Marthe of the third year 2022 together with the team composed of Srs. Stephanie Coughlan, Elizabeth Ramirez, Antonett Chebet and Rosa Vizcay who are with us in one way or another greet you from Rome with much joy and gratitude before God the source of all grace and blessing.
In advance, we thank you also for your messages of love, good wishes and prayers on our formation.
As we all know, the Third Year programme started in Rome on September 1st and will end on December 26th.
We would like to share with you that the team gave us a warm welcome to the house when each of the participants arrived according to the travel itinerary of each region and continue to be attentive to make us feel truly at home.
For us, this Third Year is a very important time for ongoing formation, a time of grace and an opportunity for personalised discernment in the history of each one of us in favour of life and our mission.
We started the first day of September with a lot of emotion to live deeply the experience of this time. It was a beautiful day of introduction with a prayer using the text of the Samaritan woman, a song to Mary in French invoking her together with Emilie and St. Ignatius, the first one on the way to walk with us and with the dynamic of continuing to weave the heart with different coloured threads that the team has prepared for us.
It is the heart that was created during the General Chapter of 2019, symbol of a conscious and personal continuity in this way as a congregation. Then there was a dynamic to get to know yourself and to get to know each other in depth, even though we all already know each other. The feelings of openness, joy, peace, serenity, tranquillity, hope, trust, acceptance and respect were highlighted. In the afternoon we visited the house and discussed some practical things.
In the following three days, we experienced the dynamics of the conversation of the heart prepared by the team. Each day, three sisters share from their deep experiences while the others listen attentively and then express what they felt in their heart. And at the end of this sacred time, a song chosen by the sister who has just shared was sung. This experience highlighted the importance of the language of the heart, which goes beyond the meaning of the language we use in common to communicate.
We joyfully concluded the first week and I reiterate once again that it was about getting to know yourself better, getting to know each other and listening and sharing from the heart. We had personal accompaniment at the end of the week.
On Saturdays and Sundays we don’t have a particular theme to deepen in the programme. We call it a free day, even if each one assumes her responsibility in the house or something else. We enjoyed a film called the “Chorist” on Saturday evening.
On the 12th and 13th, as usual, we started with a prayer prepared by two of us with songs and readings in different languages that introduced us to the theme. We had another great opportunity to deepen the theme of interculturality given by Sister Christina Avalos, Missionary of the Holy Spirit.
This gave us new insights, gave us new orientations, and above all allowed us to reinforce our option to live interculturality joyfully, and to situate ourselves in our authentic personal and community experience of interculturality with the achievements and challenges guided by the orientation of the last General Chapter. It was a very enriching experience with feelings of joy, hope, availability, respect and gratitude to the Lord and to the congregation. It brought a burning desire to establish a pluriform quality of human relationship from and in the community and pastoral experience. We were invited to integrate and to purify cultures for the culture of the Gospel with the only certainty of doing it from the SOURCE that gives life us and is present in all things and in all human experience.
Days 14 and 15 were dedicated to deepening and leaving us deeply touched by the reality of human trafficking. Sister Abby Avelino from the Congregation of the Missionary Servant of Mary and Mrs. Marion Paperella, a laywoman, both members of the Talitha Kum Organisation. In general, they conveyed this theme based on their personal experiences with real cases from different continents and from the biblical foundation.
The dynamics they proposed helped us to open the eyes of our hearts and to know better what is happening in our respective countries and in the world today, to enter personally and to let ourselves be immersed and touched by this reality. We reflected on our charisma with discernment to detect what God wants and what He calls us to contribute to eradicate this phenomenon.
In our interventions, we expressed in different ways that to engage in this mission is a very delicate question. It is very complex and with many risks and challenges. At the same time, we feel an urgent call to promote the dignity of the person through our charism. It is urgent for us to show the tenderness of God for humanity in every vulnerable situation and in every place. It is urgent to believe in and rely on people who have survived to help others and not to fall into or be victims of human trafficking. It is urgent to create a new paradigm by seeking new alternatives, to work in networks of opportunities by building a bridge of a more human relationship restoring the image of God that humanity carries in itself.
On the morning of the 15th we had the joy of reflecting on synodality. We were accompanied by Mr Julian Paparella, a lay person involved in the Church.
After the prayer prepared by one of our sisters, Julian invited us again a moment of silence to meditate and relate to the Gospel story of Luke 24: Emmaus. He invited us to share our understanding of Synodality. We know that this is a very timely theme for our Church's reality today. We have a God who accompanies and walks with his people at all times. This is synodality, walking together under the tender look and guide of a God of life. We feel confirmed and connected to the motto and the desire of our Congregation to give life to the General Chapter 2019. We share the feeling that the Church today shows humanity the face of God the liberator, forming people, building more human relationships. At the same time, we feel invited to live a radical change of heart and availability to put our grain of sand (our part) with our experience of feeling accompanied by a living God with our people.
The session ended again with a prayer, fruit of the personal desire of each one of us, expressing the grace we want to ask for so that there may be a true synodality and a new way of being Church in this world in which we live. We closed this last day of the second week wonderfully with personal accompaniment.