Opening Assembly of the canonical visitation of the provinces of Bogota and Santafé

on 19 May, 2022
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Santafé (Colombia), 05/17/2022, Sr. Berta Graciela Acero Gutiérrez.- The Assembly for the opening of the canonical visitation of the provinces of Bogotá and Santafé was held on April 19 in the facilities of the Sans Façon school. 139 sisters from the two provinces participated in person and the rest of the sisters participated virtually from different parts of Colombia and from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Cuba.

A great expectation was generated among all the sisters and this marked the participation, since for the process that is being carried out in view of the restructuring the presence of the General Government is definitive.

The two provinces have organized the work to respond to the decision of the 55th General Chapter:

The Chapter decides to initiate a new stage of restructuring in the Congregation, assuming the necessary changes, which will lead us towards a new style of life and the resignification of the missionary presence as a fruit of the action of the Spirit.
55th GC, p. 26
We have just commemorated the founding of the Congregation: 325 years; we are preparing to celebrate the missionary expansion of the Congregation from Europe to Latin America and Asia, which Mère Du Calvaire carried out under the action of the Holy Spirit: Next year we will celebrate the sesquicentenary of the arrival of the Charism of Marie Poussepin to our lands, which the first six French sisters sowed with their dedication and witness.

Breakfast was at Sans Façon, where we greeted each other in a fraternal atmosphere of welcome. From there we went to the Coliseum where at 9:00 am, we participated in the Eucharist. Rafael de Brigard, the new Vicar of the Vicariate of Merciful Jesus, to which the Provincial House of Santa Fe and St. Façon College belong, presided. The celebration was solemnized by a harmonious choir composed of sisters from the two provinces and two lay people.

In his homily, Bishop de Brigard began by inviting us to return to the sharpness of the Word and explained how today the Gospel presents us with some questions that we should ask ourselves at this time when we are in the process of restructuring:
  • Why do you weep?

The Risen Jesus insists that we seek Him in our daily lives, where He has always been. To renew the awareness of our mission which is: To preach the Gospel, but much better if we do it together and do not move away from the community: Walking together in the synodal spirit. Communion is a way of being in life.

  • What do we have to do?
To trust always in the Risen Christ and with the same Spirit to bring the Gospel to so many people?
Afterwards, we were able to enjoy a tasty snack, after which the meeting with the Sisters of the General Government began. Mariamma, who is in the Philippines, was not present. She will have to go to Vietnam to advance in the process of the arrival of the Congregation in that country. Sr. Joanna, General Treasurer, was also absent because she is visiting the Economo of the Bucaramanga Province.

Sr. Maria Escayola Coris, Superior General, began her greeting by giving the floor to the General Councilors present. Each one introduced herself and gave a quick overview of her mission in the Congregation.

Sr. Maria began her greeting by thanking the sisters of the two provinces, Bogota and Santafe, for their availability and fraternal welcome, and appreciated their fidelity in the process followed in the search for the response to the decision of the 55th General Chapter.

The General Government hopes that this canonical visitation will be, in a special way, "a space of listening and dialogue, of knowledge and communion, of searching and walking together creating our own history, in order to give a response more adapted to the needs of the Church and the world at the present time. We know that the evolution of the world demands of us a continuous updating and I am convinced that we want to open ourselves to it in an attitude of permanent conversion, to live with audacity and prudence the project of Marie Poussepin (cfr. C1)".

Sr. Maria then contextualized the visit by pointing out the reality of the world that is going through a difficult period because of the pandemic, violence, insecurity, where countries are subjected to many powers, among which are: the economic, the media and new technologies. In the Church we are living a moment of great richness with the call of Pope Francis to develop what was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, to promote synodality that asks us for new ways of situating the Church and the mission.

The invitation to the General Assembly of the UISG in 2022 has as its theme: Embracing vulnerability in the synodal journey. Responding to the Pope's request to assume the conflict and not ignore it. Putting it at the service of a process of permanent maturation of each one of us.

Sr. Maria highlighted several of the challenges we have as an important part of what the 55th General Chapter is asking of us. They are:
  • To see the growing diversity among us as a richness, not as a threat.
  • The reality invites us to walk and work on interculturality: to build a new culture of fraternity and communion, where the important thing is to be sisters.
  • Work on the organization and balance of life. It is vital to allow our life to respond to the demands of our consecration to the Lord according to the intuition and charism of Marie Poussepin.
  • To renew the spirituality: centrality in Christ to recreate the fraternal community.
  • To revive the availability to the mission, to go to the places in need of the proclamation of the Word of God... transcending the frontiers that prevent us from the service of charity in the frontier zones.
  • To grow in communion with the Congregation and the Church in order to make them a home and school of communion and to enter decisively into the attitude of walking together.
The greeting concluded by highlighting the importance of the Canonical Visitation: Time to question our spiritual, community and missionary life journey.

A time to renew our fidelity to the charism of Marie Poussepin, expressed in the family traits: simplicity, work and poverty; in the Constitutions and in the orientations and decisions of the Chapters.

It is a time of encounter among us and of family, which allows us to increase the bonds that unite us to the whole Congregation.

Thus the sharing of these days will help us to strengthen and revive the gift that each one of us has received.

After Sr. Maria's greeting, some sisters expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the depth and timeliness of what was expressed.

Maria invited the sisters to express their concerns or doubts. There was participation of the sisters who were present virtually, from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Some sisters expressed their gratitude and joy with the visit and expressed it by saying: "Thank you. We feel them among us; not only here".

Opening Assembly of the canonical visitation of the provinces of Bogota and SantaféOpening Assembly of the canonical visitation of the provinces of Bogota and Santafé