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‘Abide in Me, as I abide in you’ (Jn. 15:4.)

eventThursday, 29 February 2024

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Final Newsletter Third Year Community 2023

 

THEME: John 15:4a “Remain in me, as I remain in you.”

“All comes from Jesus Christ. All belongs to Jesus Christ. All must be for Jesus Christ.” MME

 

After almost three months at the Mother House for the third year session, we are now harvesting the graces received. We would like to share with you concisely what each one experienced.

The third year experience has been a moment of renewal and affirmation that God’s grace is at work in me. (Sr. Martha Kamotho)

The third year has been a moment of renewal, blessing, learning from other provinces, and a time for transformation. I am affirmed to live my life to the fullest at the present moment by loving God, my sisters, and to have a spirit of listening, and forgiving one another with love, peace, and joy. (Sr. Anna Maria)

The third year for me has been a moment of strengthening my spiritual life and the unity of life of the three poles – prayer, community, and apostolate. (Sr. Lucy)

The third year is an experience of transformation and grace. (Sr. Precilla)

The third year for me is the intimacy with Jesus, to be at His side, talking and listening to Him, and knowing each other deeply rekindled the fire of love in me. Like the Samaritan woman, I found the living water. I am grateful for all the blessings. (Sr. Veena)

My third year experience is grace-filled and renewed my heart. (Sr. Visitacion)

The third year for me is a precious experience of being loved, transformed, and renewed. God has recreated me to be a new creature with a new mind and a new heart. (Sr. Marie Thu)

The third year is a grace-filled moment and a much needed “wood” to re-kindle the fire within us that we may continue to remain in Him with a deeper love and passion for God and the Congregation. (Sr. Vicky)

The Third Year has been an amazing grace-filled experience, which enabled a profound spiritual encounter with Christ, and a created a true bond of solidarity with the sisters with whom I journeyed. (Sr. Carolyn)

For me, the third year has been a time of renewal, of strengthening my life. To enjoy the internationality, to drink from the source, to continue my life with Jesus. I thank God for this blessing and for each sister who has contributed to this unforgettable experience. (Sr. Rosario)

For me the third year has been an experience of drinking from the source, God and the congregation, nourishing my inner faith. To feel loved, called by God, a time of healing and transformation, a space to know the gift of God in me, I feel sent to give the most of my life. (Sr. Lucrecia)

Thank you Lord for your great love and mercy, manifested in me during this third year. (Sr. America)

“My food is to do the will of the Father!” Lord I want to remain in you, with an ardent, creative and passionate heart for your Kingdom, guided by the light of your Spirit. (Sr. Ma. Felix)

Spiritual resourcing in God's gratuitous love in an international community in the joy of giving and receiving in the company of our Mother Marie Eugénie. (Sr. Véronique)

For me it's an atmosphere of fraternity in our 3rd year, especially in prayer. (Sr. Marie Louise)

The 3rd year is an important time to review our lives, to deepen our relationship with God and to live with the community and the world. ( Sr. Léontine)

An experience of faith in Jesus Christ Son of God, Son of God Savior of the world. ( Sr. Viviane Amegan)

A time of thanksgiving, of joy at returning to the Mother House, a privileged time to recharge my batteries, to be converted, to renew my relationships with God and with others. ( Sr Odette Eugénie)

An experience of caring for God, self and others. Interior intimacy, with God, taking care of oneself through rereading, returning to the Holy Trinity, Marie Eugénie. Caring for others through communion and listening. (Sr. Marie Claire)

An experience of living deeply with God, in profound silence, rooted in God. Fidelity, friendship with God, living internationality in prayer and community. (Sr Bernadette)

A thanksgiving. “Praise be to you Lord for giving us the joy of serving you. Praise be to you Lord for having given us brothers and sisters to love" and thanks to my Province for having given me the time and availability to live this experience. (Sr. Laure)

A moment of renewal, of weaving my relationship with God and of zealously committing myself to the Kingdom of God. (Sr. Alphonsine Marie)

An experience of accepting my vulnerability, a process of liberation and freedom for daily metanoia. (Sr. Pascaline)

An experience of connections with God, with my sisters in the Congregation and Province and with myself. (Sr. Christine Immaculée)

As we prepare to return to our respective Provinces, Sr. Rekha gives her words of love and wisdom for us. First, to breathe-in as much as we can the spirit of Mother Marie Eugenie. Second, to be more compassionate when we go back to our Provinces. Third, to be the change that we would like to see in our community. To be a candle of light radiating joy, passion, and love as faithful daughters of Marie Eugenie, as disciples of Jesus, and as prophets of the Lord.

 

Our hearts are full of gratitude, joy, and love.

Thank you to Fr. Noel, who guided us during our 30-day retreat. He journeyed with us in our inward pilgrimage to meet our Lord, ourselves and others. His simplicity, humility, generosity, holiness, and genuine smile truly inspired us.

Our heartfelt gratitude to the General Community for organizing and making this third year happen. A big thank you to all of you. We love you!

Our gratitude to the Auteuil Community, for the welcome, for the meals and the liturgies we shared together. Thank you for being part of our journey.

Thank you too to the Staff who served and made our stay as comfortable as possible.

Thank you to our 3rd year community. We will surely miss one another, but we remain in communion in God’s faithful and merciful love.

 

 

 

Fifth Newsletter Third Year Community

The journey continues...

After the first free day on October 1st, which was a welcome stopover, we are back on the road with the theme  of the economic dimension of our lives and the spirit of solidarity. The economic dimension is an integral part of our consecrated life. All the acts of our lives have an economic dimension and our way of living the three vows is not to be outdone. Thus certain attitudes and means such as discernment, transparency, dependence in the use of goods, the simple and frank expression of our needs, the limitation and revision of our goods, the pooling... can help us achieve greater consistency.   Superiors at all levels are primarily responsible for economic life. They bear this responsibility together with the bursars who have a pedagogical mission. But each sister is responsible for the economic life and lifestyle of the community. Each sister, whatever her mission and responsibility, is called to account for  the money and property that passes through her hands. Sharing between communities, provinces and with the underprivileged is a concrete expression of our solidarity.

On October 3rd, we continued our formation process of this 3rd Year with our Sister Merce Méndez with the theme ICT, [1]social networks, mission and vows.

We are invited to deepen our knowledge of digital culture based on Pope Francis' invitation "Communication at the service of the culture of encounter." The pope tells us that "social networks have brought with them a broadening of horizons, which fosters solidarity and respect for others in their differences."

Merce asked us this question: "How do we humanize the world of communication?"

As educators, we are called to communicate the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus and his word.

Teaching our students to be wise, to learn the art of living, because artificial intelligence only collects something that has already been created.

The new evangelization comes from an EXPERIENCE OF GOD, from the encounter with Jesus Christ and from the proclamation of the Kerygma.

We are advised not to contribute to fake news, to verify the sources of what we receive as information, before circulating it.

Let us communicate what is good, let us promote positive thinking to promote hope, the Good News. If a piece of content doesn't build, decide not to see it, not to listen to it.

Another call for us and for our communities: continue to create a culture of communication, to want to communicate. We all love to receive news, we can offer content that shows a different image of the world, that evangelizes and brings value, that builds the "body of humanity".

Solidarity between us is important, the culture of care can also be lived on the web, we must create a culture of solidarity.

Let us continue our synodal process that will help us to make decisions together based on community discernment, reviewing the criteria of our readings, the films we watch, the news we read and to be transmitted or not, etc.

It is also important to see the global development goals and to involve children and young people in social and political change.

On October 4th, we continue the route with the theme JPICS,[2] guided by our sister Cécile Renouard. We get to know the Campus de la Transition that she manages with a group of people who, like her, have chosen to take care of our common home. On this campus, university professors, young professionals and students live and cohabit to share a simpler and more austere life in favor of the care of creation and the social dimension.

The project aims to train decision-makers who can change the rules of the game in public policy, for example by subsidizing renewable energy and increasing the incomes of the poorest.

The objective of this Campus is to change higher education, through an eco-campus networked with other institutions, where students, professionals, or people with research projects on various topics can come.

A skills manual was published in 2020, written by more than 70 professionals, inspired by a pedagogy that integrates the head, the body but also the heart and our whole being, in relation to nature.

Cécile introduced us to six gateways to living ecology. Each door has been given a Greek name and a description beginning with a verb that expresses the action:

  • "Oikos" (which means house in Greek): to inhabit a common world.
  • "Ethos" (behaviour): discerning and deciding in order to live well together.
  • "Logos" (word): to interpret, criticize and imagine.
  • "Nomos" (law): to measure, regulate and govern.
  • "Praxis" (action): acting up to the stakes.
  • "Dynamis" (strength): reconnecting with oneself, others, nature and God.

"What is my preferred door of entry?"

"What discernment can I make to integrate this ecological dimension into my life and in my community?"

"How can we use these six doors to live out our responsibility in caring for our common home through issues such as migration and justice?"

To illustrate this part of the reflection, she highlighted some ecological virtues: humility, attention, courage, temperance, hospitality, justice, hope, etc.

We continued this reflection with an activity in the garden: the dialogue of generations. Some of us represented the present and others represented the 7th generation in the future. This has made us aware of the impact of our actions today on future generations, and the urgency of committing ourselves to preserving a livable world.

Let us give thanks for Creation and care for it!

After the theme on JPICS, we reflected for two days on the theme: "Religious Life Today: Issues, Abuse – Accompaniment". Sr Mary Lembo, a Togolese sister from the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, formator and psychotherapist, accompanied us for two days. The reflections and sharing on this theme allow us to affirm without hesitation that abuse, in all its forms, is a reality in society, in the Church and in consecrated life and under every sky.  As a Congregation, we may not be spared.  There are several forms of abuse, which have their roots in the abuse of power. We are forever called to be vigilant within ourselves and around us, to LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGING,  the victims we may encounter in our communities and our places of mission.  We are provoked to denounce these situations and, above all, to work, by getting help, to take care of the victims.  And more than that, we are invited to enter into a culture of prevention through awareness but above all through the commitment to act to take care of each other in a safe and healthy environment.          Prevention is better than cure!

Sunday, October 8, 7:30 a.m. Here we are on the bus with some sisters from the community of Auteuil. We leave Paris, heading for Normandy, Lisieux!

Although we only saw Les Buissonnets from the outside (the house was closed because of the great closing day of the Teresian week – Jubilee of the 150th anniversary of her birth and the 100th anniversary of her canonization), we were able to ask St. Teresa for her intercession after the Mass in Carmel and especially in the basilica where her relics were exposed in a golden reliquary,  surrounded by white roses. The many quotations that were on the exhibition recounting her life have joined us in the arduous or joyful hours of our consecrated life. A fine patroness for our retreat!

On Monday 9th, Sister Martha guided us on the path of rereading  our life of faith in  the footsteps of Mary, a discreet young girl from Galilee, our sister in humanity and our mother who was ready to obtain graces for us, proposing that we look at her in 3 stages of her life:

  • At the Annunciation, showing unreserved faith,
  • Then, in the course of her life, there were moments of deepening her faith, moments of greater understanding of the mystery that was being fulfilled (the nativity and what the shepherds recounted, Simeon in the Temple, the recovery of Jesus in the Temple, etc.).
  • At the moments of the night of faith, at the time of the Passion of Jesus, at the foot of the Cross...

Meditations and sharing in groups allowed us to have "our hearts burning" and joyful with the graces shared by each one in her life of faith. Yes, the Lord is good, he is faithful!

In the evening, an international rosary gathered us in procession in the garden, carrying intentions for the inhabitants and situations of the world, for the congregation.

 

Thank you for your prayers during the 30-day retreat, be sure of ours!

 

[1] Information and Communication Technologies

[2] Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation, Solidarity

 

Fourth newsletter

"There is only one stone, which is Jesus Christ, and it is on Jesus Christ that we are built" MME

The week of September 24 to 30, 2023 saw us return to our Assumption spirituality in a pilgrimage of sorts, entering step by step into the experience of our Foundress, Mother Marie Eugénie, from Preisch, Metz, and Paris.

First, Sister Véronique Thiebaut, our archivist, presented the circumstances surrounding the drafting of the first part of the Constitutions. In this part, MME explains the purpose of the Foundation based on the spirituality of the Visitation Order, which initiated her to religious life and from which she drew the details of community life: benevolence, gentleness, humility, humanizing relationships. However, she explains the difference between the two Orders, which meant that she could not join the Visitandines when Abbé GROS saw that the Foundation was not growing, in these terms: "It is a thought of zeal that is at the origin of the foundation...". Abbé GROS was satisfied, and gave his blessing to the emerging work.

From then on, MME continued to write the Constitutions, but not without encountering difficulties on the part of the Ecclesiastical Superiors until final approval.

From 1871, she began writing Chapter Instructions. She developed the spirit of the Assumption, including: detachment, which expresses our way of being and makes a close connection with the mystery of the Incarnation; adoration, in which our life expresses the love of God and Jesus Christ, leading us to continual renewal; our life, which must be offered by love and for love, as a commitment to the coming of the Reign of God through education. Thus she insisted: "For those of us who combine teaching with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we must be especially adoring nuns", Dec. 27, 1874.

Sr. Véronique's talk was always enriched by a series of sharing of our personal experiences and living out of our charism.

September 27 and 28 were devoted to a pilgrimage in the footsteps of our Mother Marie-Eugénie, led by Sister Véronique. We left Auteuil at 8am in a specially allocated coach. Our route took us to Preisch: we visited the chapel of Sainte Marie Madeleine, where MME was baptized, and the grand château, ending with prayer stations in the garden, now owned by the de Gargan family.

At 6pm, we headed for Metz. There, we attended Mass at the parish of Ste Ségolène and continued our pilgrimage the following day through the city of Metz to discover the various places where the MILLERET family lived. These included: the residence where Anne-Eugénie was born, 12 Rue de Chanoine; the residence of Théodore de Gargan; Rue des Trinitaires, where she spent her childhood; and the Church of Sainte Ségolène, where she received her First Holy Communion and had a mystical experience she'll never forget. All of these were moments of great emotion for us, a living experience that we lived in the company of our MME. 

The history of our foundation has also traversed the city of Paris: starting in Auteuil, we can mention the large monastery and the girls' boarding school, to name but a few. In our current home in Auteuil, called "petit couvent", we visited two important places: the garden and the community's indoor museum, where our hands touched even the clothes of our first Mothers - Marie Eugénie and Thérèse Emmanuel. 

And then, on the esplanade of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, we joined our MME in listening to Lacordaire preach in a moment of silence. Right next to the Cathedral is the first foundation house of the Augustinian Sisters of Notre Dame de Paris, whose estate (community and apostolate for the sick) was handed over to the state under the name of "Hotel-Dieu", with the same mission of caring for the sick, especially the poorest. We continued our journey to the different places following the footsteps of our dear Mother Marie Eugenie in Paris.

And so ends our pilgrimage, which has renewed our attachment to Christ through our consecration to the Assumption in the footsteps of Marie Eugénie de Jésus. With her, we can confirm that: "It is God who leads all things".

 

Third Newsletter Third Year Community

"...and never a more loving or wiser hand could guide our destinies." (M.M.E.)

We continue to walk together...

 

The days of reflection continue:

We contemplate Mary, a woman who embarks on a journey, a woman in action, who seeks God's will and sees the work that God accomplishes in her, a woman confirmed by Elizabeth's mouth: "Who am I, that the Mother of my Lord may come to me" Lk, 1: 43.

The meeting of two mothers, two children, two cultures, two generations. Mary breaks the silence, secretly bringing Elizabeth's pregnancy to light, transforming this meeting into great joy and praise; where everything moves, where mothers embrace, where children jump for joy, all this is an action of God and the Spirit in each one. Mary receives confirmation of the angel's announcement through Elizabeth's mouth. All this shows us how to live the synodal journey, being available, free, to go out to meet the invisible. Discern where God presents Himself to us.

The importance of prayer in our lives:

Jesus gives us an example - says the Evangelist Luke - Jesus prayed at the beginning of his mission and at the end, after a day's work and at important moments: the Transfiguration, the choice of the Apostles, in the Garden of Gethsemane, during the Passion for his persecutors. Our whole life is a spiritual combat, it is up to us to cultivate a certain ability to discover where temptation comes from, what I must be attentive to, where I must be careful. The more we are in a relationship of trust with God, the better we will face and experience the situations we face in the world.

Rereading  is a privileged encounter with God and with ourselves, every day I need to reread, it is an experience of incarnation, because I have had an experience of life and it can lead me to an experience of transformation, conversion, forgiveness, it is an experience of humanization. By rereading my day and events, and if I pay attention to these events, I realize that I am not the same as yesterday.

To reread and collect everything that happens to us, before God and myself, to discover how God leads us, is an exercise in truth and transparency, to live in an attitude of forgiveness and joy.

The Apostolate:

It is part of our life, it is a path towards the extension of the Kingdom, in community, in the Church in synodal process. R.L.75 "Whatever their age, their health, their talents, the sisters are all apostles by vocation."

The mission is of God, it is He who calls us, it is the story of a response to a call of love. Jesus, in a surge of filial love, calls us Religious of the Assumption to live this love in the heart of his people. We are invited to ask ourselves: are our schools truly Catholic? How do we do it? Our attitudes, our words... What differentiates us from others?

We are called to revise our apostolic life: how do we live the mission with the poor?

Are we transforming ourselves for the good of the poor, in charity and humility? Or have we become givers of things, placing ourselves above them and not equally? Because the poor, no matter how poor, have something to share.

Marie Eugénie calls us to be contemplative women in action, to love our sisters and to learn from them, to share without fear. May we discover God in each person, with her gifts and differences. We are the builders of Marie Eugenie's mission: how do I give of my person to the mission of the Assumption? How do I do it? 

Invitation to reflect and deepen:

"Remember a time when you were transformed by your apostolic life."

The importance of unity of life.

We shared in small groups: who is the saint who seems to us to have lived the unity of life? With the saints, in fact, we find an integrated life, in which God is the strength, and this has led them to live in coherence, and to be faithful to God's plan.

Our personal and community life is marked by unity of life, the three poles: a life of prayer, community, apostolate. To live in the presence of God, as Marie Eugenie invited us to do, to be what we are Religious of the Assumption, as fully as possible. The importance of taking the means that help us to live interiority, these can be silence, spiritual reading, prayer... The contemplative life is a source of simplicity and unity of life. It is important to ask ourselves again: What attracted you to the Assumption?

 Many times the Rule of Life insists on the interweaving of the three poles of our lives, how one influences the other two. Each one of us, and in community we must find the balance. Without letting ourselves be carried away by the enemy of the spiritual life: fatigue or acedia.

Together with Sr. Clare Teresa, we saw how  our Sisters - Superior General, guided the Congregation through difficult times by seeking to be faithful to the intuitions of Marie Eugenie and our first sisters. God, in His faithfulness, guided the Congregation and we trusted Him. We are here thanks to the dedication of the sisters who have gone before us and of those who continue to commit themselves to the Kingdom, in the mission entrusted to us, in every place – a source of blessings. Through her experience, Sr. Clare Teresa gave us a historical tour of the Congregation.

"Do not be afraid, love and surrender. Your God will be your all. (M.E.). 

 

 

Second Newsletter Third Year Community

“Abide in Me as I abide in you” Jn15:4

This week, our 3rd year Community went through many activities and encounters with oneself and with others. Being at the Mother House, we feel deeply connected with the whole congregation. There were celebrations of life on the one side, and on the other side, celebrations of fuller life with God as we united ourselves in prayers with the death of people close to us. During the Sunday Mass in our Chapel, Sr. Illuminata was welcomed and introduced as the Sister In-charge of the Auteuil Community. The 3rd year Community was also introduced to the parishioners. We had a small celebration after the Mass with all those present. We also celebrated the birthday of Sr. Marie Thu. We joined her in thanking the Lord for the blessings received. We integrated in our liturgy the Independence Day of Mexico. We are grateful for our meaningful liturgical celebrations.

We were deeply united with the Province of India for the passing-on last 17th September, 2023

of Deepti. She was 57 years old. She was supposed to join our third year community. We also prayed for the father of our dear Sr. Rekha; Sr. Francisco Yozefu (Rwanda); Sr Carmela (Asia Pacific), from the Philippines. We were in communion with the relatives of our sisters: Mr. Sherly, Sr Veena’s cousin died of a heart attack on 13th September; Mr. Jean Marie, Sr. Marie Clare’s niece’s husband died in an accident on 10th September .

Life is always evolving. We are filled with grace and blessings on this week because of the valuable presence of our dear Sisters as resource persons who filled our minds & hearts with joy and thanksgiving.

Sr. Illuminata talked about the vow of Chastity and shared with us her life experience on living this vow in our times. She led us through the affective nature of our lives and challenged us to learn to love by saying “Do not fear: love and surrender Your God will be your all”. In the group we shared the challenges and the blessings we received by being faithful to this vow.

Then it was the turn of Sr. Francoise who shared on the vow of Obedience. She explained to us two dimensions of this vow: the vertical and the horizontal. She took references from the Bible, Rule of Life, the obedience of Marie Eugenie and obedience in the tradition of the Congregation and in the Church. She invited us to look into our customs and traditions that are not life giving and to rather be attentive to the spirit and respond accordingly. Pope Francis challenged us to put new wine into new wineskins. Let us be creative in our response.

The vow of Poverty was the topic Sr. Leela Kottoor. She widened our horizon to the new realities of our times, the new calls and challenges we face today regarding this vow. She helped us reflect on the four levels of poverty: Intellectual Poverty, Emotional Poverty, Social Poverty and Spiritual Poverty. For many of us it was like a boundary shattering experience. She led us to dialogue with creation in relation to this vow. The words that echoed that day was that: we are signs not saviors of the world.

Sr. Irene and Sr. Marthe helped us to reflect on the importance of the Vows as lived by each one of us. We had time for personal reflection and we shared its outcome in the group. We all realized that we had more blessings than challenges. We concluded the reflections on the Vows by renewing them at the feet of Our Lord.

Sr. Martine Tapsoba enlightened us on the importance of life in Community and on our Internationality and Interculturality with her wisdom and experience. We were reaffirmed in the gift of our Community life and the heritage of internationality. The awareness of belonging to the Universal Church and to an international Congregation provoked wonder in us.

Sr. Sophie Ramond enlightened us on how to pray with the Bible and with the Psalms which we chant every day. We did Lectio Divina by language groups. Her intervention made us reflect about our personal life and our relationship with Jesus.

We celebrate the wonder of our community through our different recreation moments together. We continued the sharing of the Provinces: Europe & France and East Africa and West Africa. As we listened to the Provinces’ sharing, we saw how transformative education is taking place in the different apostolates of the Provinces, and the challenges faced due to the aging of the Sisters in the Provinces. At the end of each presentation the Sisters gave a gift to each one, gifts brought with much love from their countries.

We also had creative recreation in the garden. Each Continent was asked to present a game for the evening recreation. The games were so interesting and lively that the time passed very quickly but the spirit kept us playing and experience the joy of being sisters.

 

And the JOURNEY begins…WE Gather that we may REMAIN IN HIM! ‘

Life is always a great journey that constantly calls us to leave ourselves behind to follow the desire that drives us. Our journey to the land of Mere Marie Eugenie may have had different meanings, faces and stories, but everything is a process of learning and growing. It is a process of coming to know our deepest desire to be able to be with the rest of the ‘Third Year’ participants and the sisters here in the Mother House. Each one of us received a warm welcome from the sisters: from a secured trip from the airport to Mo. Marie Eugenie’s tomb, the chapel and to our rooms. We were thrilled on how the sisters made us feel so special.

Our week started with a simple, and yet, beautiful opening liturgy. We were then asked to write, on a paper leaf, the grace we would like to receive during the session. A symbolic act of placing the desire of each one of us - coming from the one source – onto the branch of a tree where the hopes of all were intimately entwined. A very good reminder that we cannot remain in Christ apart from His Word – we must be connected to Him and to His creation.

Sr. Rekha’s opening message was filled with graces and blessings. We are “encouraged to get into the rhythm of attentive listening that we may be transformed and become Good News to our Provinces.”

After the practicalities on how to use the microphones, and an introduction to the schedule of what we are to live for the next three months were given, we re-visited the stories of the significant areas of the Garden, the Chapel, and toured the whole House. Re-living the history of the sisters, who have walked and prayed through the corridors and grounds of the Mother House, connected our journey of faith with theirs as we thought about all those who will follow us.

Sr. Rekha’s three-day session on the ‘Gospel of John’ helped us to intensify our encounter with Jesus. Most of us had a life-changing experience leading us to a deeper knowledge and love of Jesus. The Johannine theology of mission, made us aware of the ‘migration of God’ from the heavens, and the shift that we need to make so that we may continue to bask in His Presence within each one of us, and abide in His love.

Sr. Marthe’s ‘Community Building’ session brought us to the ground of growth when she journeyed with us to understand better what it means ‘to let go’ of whatever it is that holds us back from fully trusting in God’s love. Our sharing helped us to loosen our grip, surrender, and notice the signs that will make us better members of our communities. It was a day of fun and of knowledge, discovering the beauty of one another's hearts of love and passion for God. Truly, we are intertwined and connected with each other because of our desire to make our communities ‘a dwelling place of God’.

Our life is anchored in our relationship with God, and every day we build genuine stories about our daily encounter with Him. Sr. Mary Cecilia gave us space for silence, which helped us to rest in a deeper faith. That each one of us is held by something greater than ourselves. Her talk on an ‘Introduction to Religious Experience’ enabled us to discover a Divine Love in all our experiences especially in moments of difficulties.

Standing at the “portal of life”, we asked ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ at this point of my journey. Thanks to Sr. Anne Descour for leading us to face our emotions in different realities of our life. When we ask ourselves ‘Who am I?’ it is always in relation to the other. We explored the cycles of effective and non-effective reactions We were given examples of our driving primary emotions, described as the pursuer and withdrawer, which interact like partners in a dance. It was really wonderful to hear her genuine enthusiasm and encouragement for what is transpiring with our life with our community and apostolate. As we move forward and as we grow in our religious life, we must learn and embrace life and live it to the full. We must strive to ascertain how to dance with one another in community making every effort not to step on one another's toes. Every interaction is seen as an opportunity to learn a new dance and to perfect it. Through abiding in God, we have the power to love and we remain in Him.

We are grateful for Sr. Irene, Sr. Marthe and all the translators for making us go beyond barriers and celebrate the gift of our vocation!