Vicky Kamene. Comunidad de Vallecas
A Meeting of Sisters under 65 years of age from the Province of Spain.
We are perhaps asking ourselves: Can life be lived by sharing it in a simple way as proposed by our charism? Is it a challenge? We may say YES or NO but when the gaze is fixed on Jesus Christ everything is transformed. A perfect way is going back to the source and drink in what is tasty, what we share in common.
From the desire to grow together, the Provincial Council proposed a meeting for the Sisters under 65 years of age. It was a good idea although it did not seem as an opportune moment because of what we are experiencing currently but there was a need to breathe new air, to meet and share together, which was important. We saw the need to reflect together to concretize the idea so we used virtual media, the modern means of communication, which helps us to continue with our life. Three of our Sisters prepared the meeting in El Olivar (Malaga) with a great desire to see and be with our Sisters. It was a four-day encounter where we could freely share our different experiences that would help us to know each other deeply. This was a great gift.
We had a wonderful journey on a Friday and arrived safely thanks be to God.
The next day, a Saturday, we began our first day of the meeting with the celebration of the Eucharist and Lauds together with the community after which we warmly greeted each other. A few minutes later, we all assembled on the terrace that we had chosen as the best place for our gathering. There was a pleasant sea breeze that morning and through the day.
Mary, a Carmelite Sister of Vedruna from the Ruaj Team, an accompaniment expert, was the facilitator of the day. Throughout the whole morning, she presented us with a dynamics of self-knowledge giving us the liberty to freely express our feelings and share what is within us, with three keywords: US, FORGIVENESS AND THANKS.
In the afternoon we went to visit the Treasure Cave (Cueva del Tesoro). It was a good moment of bonding with nature and enjoying creation, thanking God for His perfect work and all the wonders of creation.
The next day began with the celebration of the Eucharist and Lauds as usual. Later in the morning, we had time to return to the sources, relishing our simple and humble origins full of God's light. It was a pleasant moment that helped us to deeply understand the words of Mother Marie Eugenie when she said: "The Assumption is the work of Jesus Christ”.
To deepen the spiritual experience of Mother Marie Eugenie we were divided into three groups to work on the following topics:
○ The first spiritual experience – her First Communion
○ Her conversion – her vocation
○ The crisis of Mother Marie Eugenie and the first Sisters after the departure of Fr. Combat
Having read the texts, each group had to organize a short play depending on each group’s creativity to be presented to the other participants and to the Community of El Olivar who also participated actualizing the foundational intuitions of our religious life in the Assumption today. It was a nice moment to thank God for our Assumption family, looking back at our past, living our present and leaving our future in God's hands as Marie Eugenie said, "No more loving and wise hand could guide our destinies".
That same day, the community of Pedregalejo invited us for lunch. Later we enjoyed the cool breeze under the shade of the palm trees. Each one of us had a moment to reflect on the personal fundamental experience that we later shared among ourselves. It was a very enriching time where we experienced that we were stepping on "sacred ground".
We ended our day with Vespers, then a good sandwich for dinner that each one had brought. Later on we went for a walk on the beach of El Palo, with a mandatory stop at Santa Gema to enjoy their delicious ice creams. Happy and satisfied with all our experiences, we went off to rest since the next day we were going to have another fully day.
On the third day the meeting was demanding but also enjoyable. In the morning we had personal moments to reread Marie Eugenie’s letter to Father Gros that explains her motivation to continue with the foundation of the Religious of the Assumption. After reading, each one wrote a personal letter answering three fundamental questions: Why are we fascinated by the Assumption? What does it contribute to our lives? What does it contribute to society and to the Church? Later, during the morning, each one was free to share her letter with the group. It was a surprise to see so many good texts directed to various authorities, either political or ecclesiastic, of the present or of the past. We also wrote to Mother Marie Eugenie, to the Sisters and to Msgr. Gros himself… We will be publishing some of the letters in the Province’s website as we think they could inspire today’s youth and ourselves as well.
After a short break we turned our focus on our Province reflecting on its current reality and thanking God for the wonderful things and life given by our Sisters of the Province, noting the joys and challenges experienced by each one. We had time to personally read the work accomplished by our communities in the different zone areas describing their activities and mission they undertake. We evaluated each work with a dynamics during which we expressed our feelings with coloured stickers. A dialogue ensued which was very enriching for all.
We concluded the morning with a lunch during which we continued sharing.
The afternoon began with the Office of Readings centered on the letter to Father Lacordaire which we interspersed with antiphons and songs drawn from it. We took up again the previous themes we had not finished.
The meeting ended with a beautiful moment which was like a synthesis of what we had shared throughout the four days together which was really very beautiful and emotional. Each one was given sixteen bricks on which to write what should not be missing in the Assumption we are called to construct. That new reality, both the personal, and of the boat of the Assumption Sisters in which we all sail and are counted as members, each Sister with her uniqueness, each community, and the Province in general.
We had a moment of prayer during which we put together the bricks for the constructioin, and, sowed together seeds as a symbol of our desires and work that we hope will bear fruits at an opportune time as the psalm says "Give growth to what we sow". This was and will be our prayer. A good construction came out of it, and we noted once more that "we are built on Jesus Christ". The work is not ours and never will be. We are only collaborators with Christ to bring to fulfilment this mission that was entrusted to our first Sisters and which we now have to continue receiving to continue making “of the earth a place of Glory for God”.
We completed our construction with each one sharing a phrase that will help to continue dreaming and journeying together as a Province.
The farewell party was held on the beach, eating the famous small fish from Malaga ending our fourth day encounter together and with much joy.
We thank the Lord and the Province for this opportunity in which we shared our experiences very simply. It has been a renewing, positive, very enriching experience for our growth, helping us learn, feel and be more aware of the encounter with Jesus through prayer, with my Sisters and others, through dialogue and the sharing of small and big experiences in our lives. It allowed us to reflect, share and go deeper in our relationships and take into account what we experience daily in our communities and in life itself.