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God continues to make us taste His love, through this session. We started the week with our Sister Pilar Trillo, Little Sister of the Assumption who told us about JPIC. Through her presentation, we have discovered more about the reality of the world, marked by inequality, climate change, conflict and migration. We have been called to be conscious and to look at what is happening around us, the peripheries that are close to us, as we saw in Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti No. 97. Seeing these situations will allow us to Judge and Aact. Through our small gestures, we become artisans of peace and justice, and this will help us to always put the victims at the center of our lives. It is then that the glory of God will be manifested through testimonies of life. It is enough to have an open heart and count on God who is the Righteous par excellence.
This beautiful experience was followed by the theme of ecology. You can't talk about ecology without talking about JPIC. Our lifestyle must say something about our commitment. Sister Irene Cécile made us contemplate nature and this made us understand that we are part of nature. St. Francis of Assisi reminds us that we are brothers and sisters of all that exists. For him, loving God's creation is a way of loving his time. Nature communicates to us the presence of God. Taking lunch in silence and mindfulness made us sensitive to the generosity of God in creation. This leads us to take care of nature and every detail of our lives in an attitude of gratitude. It is also a joy for us to discover that our three vows help us to draw closer to creation.
Sister Agnès Thérèse helped us to know the Church both mystical and historical. The Church is not a human invention. She is holy and sinful. By the various very significant names that Lumen Gentium No. 6 gives to the Church, we have understood that the Church is mystical. St. Paul defines the Church as the Body of Jesus. So the love of Jesus and the love of the Church are inseparable, as our Rule of Life tells us. Mother Marie Eugenie loved the Church as she is, she gave herself for her. To love the Church one must know her, read the documents of the Church and be interested in what is lived in the Church. It remains an invitation for each of us. We concluded with an exchange on this question: how can we each contribute to the life of the Church as its members?
The day before we left for Preisch, Sister Véronique came to talk to us about the evolution of our Congregation. The succession of our General Superiors has made us discover their fidelity to the legacy of M.E. We also visited the museum inaugurated on May 8th. Sr. Véronique also spoke about the Grand Office and Adoration. We were touched to see how Mother Mary Eugenie fought with courage to keep the Divine Office and Adoration. It was a joy for us to discover how the place of the Office was gradually clarified. The first sisters began this Grand Office at the beginning of Advent and ended up keeping it. For M.E the Great Office frees the sisters from distractions; it unites the sisters to the universal Church. These reasons for ME made us think about how we live the Office. We have seen that our apostolic and active life are inseparable. M.E tells us that our whole life must be adoration. Doing everything out of love in our apostolate is a way of worshipping, for adoration is the perfection of love.
With what joy we walked towards the place that saw the childhood and youth of our Founding Mother! In Preisch we tasted the beauty of nature and God blessed us with a little fine rain. We were touched by the rereading of M.E.'s childhood which also helped us to visit our childhood and youth. We discovered some virtues of M.E, such as delicacy and simplicity through her friend Ernestine. In Metz, the Cathedral, the places of residence of the Milleret family, Sainte Ségolène ... "It is God who leads everything": Marie Eugénie teaches us to reread our history, with the eyes of faith and the Gospel to discover the traces of God who never leaves us alone. Let us expose ourselves to his grace and love.
Finally, we thank the whole Congregation, all our sisters who are always with us. God bless you!
Laetitia, Province of Rwanda Tchad and Sr. Marie Marthe, Province of Madagascar
The international session just ended with so much joy and happiness in deepening our understand on Apostolic and Community life, as well as Economic Dimension. We are very grateful for the all speakers who enriched us through their knowledge and experiences’ sharing.
We began a session by reflecting on our call narrative. Through this, we realized that it is God who calls us to mission and the mission is God’s. Hence, what we are doing, is not for our own interest but for making “Jesus loved and known” through our charism of Christian Education that the Church entrusted to us; and it must be in the community dimension. But HOW? Sr. Irene once shared with us her experience: “By doing, you learn.” At one point, we might doubt our capacity in assuming a mission but there is always way and mean for us to learn and discover our gift that we have ever known. For this, prayer life is really a strength for us to move forward. Besides, in whatever we do, we carry the name of the community who trusts and sends us. Therefore, we have a confidence to share our joy and struggle to the community; they are there for us. Lastly, lay partners are playing an important role in doing God’s mission. Evangelization is never an individual act nor even that of a community on its own. It is the work of the Church. So, collaboration is requiring an attitude of listening and respect one another. By this, we become Good News to others and let others become Good News to us.
Above all, community is the first mission that we need to take care of. By this, Sr. Marthe Marie helped us to deepen an understanding of how to make a “Home Community” where everyone is welcomed and accepted as s/he is. We were convinced strongly that community is a ‘school for love and holiness’. However, this is required so much effort in acceptance, forgiveness, true listening, conversion, putting aside biases , etc. We cannot arrive at the resurrection without dying in our own will and self. And prayer life plays the most important role in this matter. Without God’s grace, we can’t do nothing; but with Him and in Him, we all find life. Sometimes we would ask: “What does the community do to me?” But instead of that, we are invited to ask: “What can I do to my community?” We are the community and we can build God’s Kingdom by our “whole-heartedly commitment” to live out our vows in daily life.
ECONOMIC DIMENSION OF OUR LIFE
This reflection is about economic dimension which contains personal and community conviction, interpellation, calls, and advice. As young sisters, our goal is to grow in freedom and liberty.
We saw that in the context of Religious life, the economic dimension is inseparable from the three vows which are chastity, poverty, and obedience. It has to be applied to the good and the service. Sister Cecile Franquin helped us to be aware of our relationship with things, and the time to take care of our life means that we are supposed to have modesty. Applying economic dimension to our Religious Life and its exigencies, in the context of vows is a call to detachment from material attachment and possession illusion of fully enjoying a good other than God. It takes a capacity to be content with what is needed to live and for its apostolate. It goes with the virtue of transparency and responsibility of each person in freedom and liberty. Without forgetting the discernment and dialogue which are very important to live out the Religious Life entire.
May All-Mighty God keep us safe.
Sr. Therese Augustine, Asia Pacific Province and
Sr. Marie Agathe , Province Rwanda-Tchad