How to live the charism of Marie Poussepin as a lay person

on 23 Jan, 2021
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"Men and women of the Church in the heart of the world, and men and women of the world at the heart of the Church"

Puebla N. 786; Aparecida N. 209.

Sofía TorresSofía TorresBarranquilla (Colombia), 01/23/2021, Lay Fraternity of the Dominicans of the Presentation, Sofia Torres Algarín.- In our experience as Lay Dominicans of the Presentation, we live the Charism of Marie Poussepin according to our possibilities. We present ourselves as servants of charity called to be light of the world and salt of the earth through our style of life. Prayer, meditation and contemplation are part of our everyday life; solidarity, gratuity, compassion, generosity and joy are characteristics of our life. We prepare ourselves every day for the call of God, being aware and attentive that only his grace encourages, sustains and takes us forward at each moment.

We make effort so that our works speak for us, living as Marie Poussepin recommended that: “the example makes an even greater impression than words", in such a way our daily life begins in the Lord as its source and we entrusts to Him its end.

As Lay Dominicans of the Presentation, we make the Charism known in our homes, we share the pain and joy of others and makes them our own. We know each other and share different moments of the life of the Province of Medellín as part of the family of the Presentation.

We have committed ourselves to the Project for the Lay Dominicans of the Presentation and renew it every two years. It specifies the dimensions to be lived from a daily ordinariness of life; in spite of individual limitations, we offer different services in the parishes: proclamation of the Word, extraordinary ministers of communion, pastoral care to the sick, services in education in schools as well as in the universities. Moreover, we organize activities for leisure and recreation in the homes for the elderly. We are benefactors of geriatric homes, especially in Asilo San Antonio, in Barranquilla, for approximately fifteen years.

The challenge of the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020, has led us to important changes such as working online and, in some cases, periodic work in presence. The meetings in the parish communities have been suspended; we participate in the Eucharist, holy hour and liturgy of the hours online; monthly we have on-line meetings in which we come together, celebrate life, do Lectio Divina, study the current documents and encyclicals such as Fratelli tutti, and review the experience of our project as lay people, among others.

The Covid-19 virus has directly touched us, taking the life of our sister and founder of our Fraternity, Antonia María Acosta de Olmos at 78 years old, on June 18, 2020. Other members and their families were also seriously affected, who overcame it by the grace of God.

Although sometimes the day seems like night and the night is so long and dark, we are sure that everything will change, that any experience, however hard it may be, will also pass. Finally, as members of the great Presentation family, we wait in faith; we wait in the Lord through the example of Blessed Marie Poussepin. The first stanza of our Hymn summarizes our journey as a Lay Dominican of the Presentation: “All united in spirit, in a fraternal embrace of love, fresh sap from a robust trunk, blue dream of the Presentation".

Isabel GonzálezIsabel GonzálezMedellín (Colombia), 01/23/2021, Lay Fraternity of the Dominicans of the Presentation, Isabel González López.- The invitation that the Congregation made to me to participate in the Lay Fraternity, which was begun in the Province of Medellín in 1999, gave me an opportunity to live my baptismal vocation in the midst of the world, motivated by a special Charism that I had known since I was a child. It was the time to begin a new stage of my life, committed to deepen what it means as a layperson, to be "Salt and Light"; I was open to the formation process offered by the Province to follow in the footsteps of Marie Poussepin and the Spirituality of St. Dominic.

Marie Poussepin says it very clearly: " they will omit nothing in training persons who could perpetuate these good works after them." R I.

The formation received at each meeting has given me the strength to live my Christian commitment day by day, focusing on prayer, Eucharist which is the permanent presence of God in my life and study of the Word which has increased my faith. The meetings with the sisters and the members of the fraternity have clarified my identity as a lay person, as Puebla No. 786 and Aparecida No. 209 ask us: "to be men and women of the Church in the heart of the world and men and women of the world in the heart of the Church". At the same time, I have deepened my awareness of belonging to the Church and to the Congregation in order to live the Charism of Marie Poussepin in the society, in my family and the parish community.

Fifteen years ago, I made a serious commitment to participate in evangelization in my parish community through different missionary fields: formation of vulnerable mothers, accompaniment of the elderly and the sick, and animation of groups involved in evangelization. This made me feel like a vital part of the Church by participating in the building of the Kingdom of God.

I feel from the bottom of my heart that I must live and share all that the Lord has given me. I belong to the Fraternity from the year 1999 until today and this has enabled me to be an authentic witness of dedication and service in the style of Blessed Marie Poussepin in my work and in my role as a nurse.

We are grateful to the Province that has accompanied us in this process of formation and has opened its doors to give us a wide missionary horizon to live the exercise of Charity. I consider it a grace and blessing to belong to the Congregation, as a Lay Dominican of the Presentation.