Centred on Jesus Christ, we walk together to make the Charism visible

on 08 Sep, 2022

Bogotá (Colombia), 09/08/2022, Sisters in preparation Perpetual vows 2022.We were called to live the interprovincial meeting of preparation for perpetual vows in the Province of Bogotá from June 15 to July 15, 2022, a time of grace to deepen and strengthen our consecration and to give our perpetual Yes to the Lord in the Congregation.

From the beginning, we had a clear objective: "In a synodal atmosphere, following the orientations of the 55th General Chapter, we seek to provide the sisters in preparation for Perpetual Vows with a profound experience of God, in order to grow in openness to the demands of the Gospel, of fraternal life in community in view of the mission" (Cf. GC p. 18). (Cf. GC p. 18). In response to this horizon, we set out to live it with openness, commitment and enthusiasm. Since June 14th, sisters from the Province of the Caribbean and the five structures of Colombia have been arriving in the Colombian capital, Bogotá. Three nationalities (Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Colombia), diversity of cultures and the same desire to follow Jesus Christ in the radicality of the Kingdom.

Province of Bogotá

Sr. Nancy Carolina Correa Chingaté

Sr. Ligia Tatiana Bernal Sierra

Province of Bucaramanga

Sr. Ludy Johanna Garzón Ballesteros 

Sr. María Alejandra Machuca Cáceres

Province of El Caribe

Sr. Mayleana Mayliuw Pérez Valero

Province of Manizales

Sr. Jessica Alejandra Álvarez Rocha

Sr. Diana Constanza Ramírez Cortés 

Province of Medellín

Sr. Deicy Paola Montoya Arredondo

Sr. Lina María Quintero Ríos

Province of Santafé

Sr. Carmen María Martínez García

WELCOME AND OPENING

The house of the Postulancy opens its doors to welcome us and to open the meeting. In an atmosphere of simplicity and fraternity, Sister Pastora Marín, Provincial Superior, the formation community and the postulants offered us an afternoon of sharing, laughter, conversations, songs and many other surprises. From that day on, we welcomed the challenge of opening, entering, praying and closing (cf. Mt 6:6).

ENCOUNTER WITH HISTORY

We went on pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Lord of Monserrate. We celebrated the Eucharist and began a tour of the places and the first communities of the Congregation in Bogotá, under the guidance of Sr. Ana Francisca Vergara: the Hospice, the Candelaria neighbourhood, the Chapel of the old San Juan de Dios Hospital where the first six French Sisters arrived in 1873, the old Novitiate, among others.

Then Sister Martha Lucía Millán accompanied us on a tour of the archives of the Central House, an opportunity to learn more about the history of our mother Province and to be imbued with the audacity and courage of those French Sisters who incarnated the Charism of charity with missionary daring throughout the length and breadth of our national territory in Colombia.

AFFECTIVITY IN CONSECRATED LIFE

In our personal processes, self-knowledge is key to understanding the Mystery of God revealed in our own history. Aware of this, the psychologist Liliana Gómez, guided us through the workshop on Affectivity in Consecrated Life, which provided us with tools to face our personal and community relationships in freedom and respect, to grow in personal acceptance and to integrate the dimensions of our being in order to generate more fraternal environments.

COMMUNITY PROJECT

In order to give unity to all the moments and experiences that we would live during the month, we elaborated our community project, animated by Sr. Fabiola Rojas, formation counsellor of the Province of Bogotá, delegated to accompany us during this time of renewal and encounter.

DIFFICULT TIMES TAKEN ON WITH FAITH AND IN FRATERNITY

It is important to note that during the days we were in the city of Bogotá we were confronted with temperatures lower than normal, in the context of the increase of Covid-19 infections, to which we were no strangers. The infected sisters took on this time of isolation with responsibility and the others with fraternal charity, being an opportunity to live the values of the Kingdom. The virtual platforms made it possible for the programme to be carried out and for everyone to participate.

LIVED IN COMMUNITY

Sister Martha Lucía Andrade Morales, Provincial Superior of Manizales, and Sister Leonila Castaño, formation counsellor, guided us in the deepening of our first mission: to build community, based on the figure of the polyhedron proposed to us by Pope Francis in order to better understand the culture of encounter. In an atmosphere of trust and freedom, we shared our community experiences and the challenges we face in living the art of being sisters. At the end, we celebrated a fraternal agape as an expression of authentic unity.

IN RENEWAL AND FIDELITY, MARY:

Accompanied by Sr. Nidia Beatriz Mesa, Provincial Superior of Santafé, we contemplated our mother Mary as the Temple of God, model of perfect Consecration, who assumes her project as her own. We understood that to be consecrated women is to be bearers of the Gospel in the world and that fidelity is the daily living and renewal of our "Yes" which is sustained by God's fidelity. Hence our challenge is to let Mary Temple be the one who teaches us to allow ourselves to be inhabited by the Trinity in order to always remain faithful to the Covenant.

WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS (ALTAMIRA):

To admire in our sisters their ardent desire to share the goodness of our Charism in the promotion and dignification of people who live realities of inequality, pain and marginalisation, is to recognise the greatness and vigour of this legacy. This is how we saw the Spirit of our Mother Foundress palpable in the visit to the foundation: Marie Poussepin Women Entrepreneurs (Mujeres Empresarias Marie Poussepin) in Altamira (Bogotá), which seeks to promote the development of the capacities and potential of women as entrepreneurs in urban agriculture and ecological art. We appreciate that in this process, bonds of fraternity and a deep sense of belonging are created. We thank God for continuing to inspire real expressions of Charity.

ENLIGHTENED BY THE WORD

Guided by Sr. Pastora Marín Vásquez, Provincial Superior of Bogotá, we contemplated the Word as a source of life that trans-forms. Enlightened by the biblical texts: The Parable of the Sower (Mt 13:18-23), the Samaritan Woman (Jn. 4: 5-42) and the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10: 25-37), we rediscovered the importance of living a faith based on convictions, in a choice to meditate on it both personally and in community. From the contemplative reading of these biblical texts we questioned ourselves, reflected and understood that our relationship with the poor is the clearest criterion for identifying whether we are on the path of the Gospel.

REALITY

Embracing reality is much more than praying for it, it is understanding that the needs of our brothers and sisters are the cry of God that urges an effective response to alleviate their pain and dignify their lives. Rafael Diago, a Dominican friar, who gave us a deeper look at the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) and characterised each of the characters, bringing the reflection down to our way of relating to others. Faced with this sharing, we are left with the task of sympathising and acting concretely as a manifestation of authentic and effective humanisation.

A CONSAGRATION (Vows)

Sr. Ángela María Vélez Restrepo, Provincial Superior of Medellín, with a profound look centred on the essential, helped us to interiorise the vow of Obedience as a Mystery of trust! to listen and love with all our being; the vow of Poverty as a Mystery of gratuity! to get out of self-referentiality in the gift of self in daily life, and the vow of Chastity as a Mystery of communion! where all fruitfulness in our religious life depends on the quality of fraternal life which requires welcoming our vulnerability and that of others with concrete attitudes of respect and mercy. The need for choices that strengthen convictions and certainties translated into coherence of life.

RITUAL OF PERPETUAL PROFESSION

Sister Angela Maria, made our hearts burn with her deep and passionate reflection on each part of the ritual of perpetual profession. She emphasised the meaning of the joy of belonging to the Lord and belonging to one another in the communal experience of our final consecration.

IN VIEW OF MISSION: "Committed t by our religious profession to follow Christ, we are sent to realize the mission of the Church according to the charism of Marie Poussepin". C81

Sister Yamile Martínez Orozco, formation counsellor of the Province of Bucaramanga, presented to us the importance of welcoming the Word as light in our missionary quests consistent with the discernment of reality, starting from the sending of Jesus to announce the Kingdom of God and the Good News of being children of God.

Following this, we continued with the deepening of the life and mission of Marie Poussepin, analysed the reality of the globalised world and shared the missionary challenges of the 15 structures of our Congregation. All this confronted our commitment and participation in the places of mission and our availability to the needs of today's world.

SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE - "THEY GATHERED ALL IN COMMON" Acts 4:32

"Each sister needs the others if she is to be fully herself" C5. It was very gratifying to see in action those teachers of the heart, our own companions offering with love and simplicity their talent and disposition for manual work in different techniques: pointillism applied in painting on stones, candle decoration, the making of handles and cross stitch weaving. Each one revealed the greatness of her heart and the ability to share her gifts and talents.

INTERIORISATION - GOD WHO SPEAKS IN SILENCE

"Silence, condition for encounter with God and his Word, is plenitude of the heart; it brings peace to the soul and facilitates contemplation and study" C14. The days of interiorisation and the day of the desert were a very special gift and favourable to take up the themes again. They were meaningful spaces to listen to the voice of God in silence as well as to strengthen our convictions as consecrated women.

CONCLUSION 

In thanksgiving to the Lord and to you sisters who gave us the opportunity to meet to revitalise and strengthen our option, we remind you how important you are to us; thank you for your details, prayers and messages. The time has come to return to our communities with a heart full of happiness and the commitment to bear witness to what we have experienced.

Thank you so much. We entrust ourselves to your prayers.