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Province of Ecuador: A journey of Communion

P eventThursday, 29 February 2024

"The last word of love or of truth is never said ... The field is infinite, every day God makes us take a few steps...."

St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus. Notes intimes 154/06


Invited to take a step forward so that the Charism and the Kingdom may have more dynamism and fuller life in our realities, the Assumption of Mexico and that of Ecuador began a journey, a year and a half ago, towards a union of Provinces in response to the orientations of our 2018 General Chapter and in fidelity to the long process of Restructuration that the Congregation and Religious Life in general are undergoing.

As an Ecuadorian Assumption, and in the midst of beautiful projects and much nascent life, we were aware that our limitation in number and possibilities urged us to take steps towards a merging with one or other Provinces of the Continent. After a process of local discernment and encouraged by the General Council, we decided to knock on the doors of the Province of Mexico, with the certainty of belonging "to the same family", our Assumption, nourishment and shelter for all in communion of destiny.

Convinced that "littleness is the home of the Spirit" and hoping that our precariousness would engender, together with our Sisters in Mexico, something new and beautiful in the Congregation and for the Kingdom, we set out on this beautiful adventure.

And, what we would call "a dance of the Spirit", took place. Mexico opened its doors, assuming this request as an invitation to welcome a new stage of change not only of organization, but also of personal conversion and profound renewal. They felt it was "a moment of grace, a Kairos they could not let pass". And, while recognizing their fragility, they experienced the joy of sincere hospitality and the excitement of newness.

Both Provinces wanted to emphasize, without denying the paschal dimension of every process, that it was not a question of "dying", but of creating, with prophetic imagination, a way of reaching the union that could be unprecedented and creative, respectful and evangelical. We were moved by the search for synergies for a richer and more fruitful mission. The Lord gave us this space to witness to the mission of being "experts in communion", an opportunity to bring to life that challenging "mystique of encounter", so often evoked in our Church.

Throughout this year, both Provinces have created a road map that is both inspiring and demanding. Accompanied by the General Council and by an external advisor, we are going through different moments of the process, which are not necessarily sequential, but simultaneous:

1) the expression of our fears, temptations, inspirations, snares and desires, and the knowledge of our realities and communities.

2) The design of a common structure of governance and animation.

3) The sharing of our projects, dreams and concerns.

4) the cultivation of a "mystique of the INTER" that allows us to live this process as a spiritual experience.

We want to commit ourselves to a synodal, co-responsible and participative process in the same spirit in which our Church is walking, which is currently gathered in Mexico City for the First Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Paradoxically, making this journey in times of pandemic has allowed us to explore other ways of presence and to take advantage of the blessings of the virtual world, where frontiers are blurred and distances are relativized, to make possible the meeting of Communities, meetings of Provincial Councils, Provincial Assemblies and the work of Interprovincial Commissions.

In the search for an icon or image that could capture our Interprovincial experience, we recalled that two biblical passages illuminated our Provincial reflections: the calming of the storm (Mk 4: 35-41) in Ecuador and the miraculous catch of fish (John 21: 1-14) in Mexico; the abundance of Jesus' trust and the generosity of the catch in the face of the disciple's obedience. This led us to gather the common elements of these intuitions: the sea, witness of uncertainties, resistances and fears. But also, a witness of abundance, tenacity and faith. And as a constant invitation: TRUST. Thus, we understood that the most important thing in this adventure was THE JOURNEY. That the Lord was calling us to contemplate Him there, to savor this time of attempts and trials, beyond the known shore, because we don't really know where we are going. But we know where we have come from and with Whom we are making this journey.

I paraphrase the words of Pope Francis to the Ecclesial Assembly and I add it to our experience: "May what we are living be an expression of the "overflowing" creative love of His Spirit, Who urges us to go out and meet others without any fear".

María Eugenia Ramírez, ra



Prayer for the process of the union Ecuador - Mexico

Lord, we thank you for the creative impulse of your Spirit which energizes our Congregation. We place in Your Hands the process of union between our Provinces. We ask you Lord to grant us wisdom, discernment, freedom, to be docile to Your Will. Strengthen our faith, help us to row together with hope, enthusiasm and creativity, so that Your Kingdom may grow in us and in the Communities where we are inserted.

We ask this through the intercession of St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus, who knew how to place everything in Your Hands, allowing herself to be inhabited by Your Peace.

SME... pray for us (3 times).