Spain: A Day of praise and thanksgiving… 150 years!

on 10 Nov, 2017
Hits: 3014

Barcelona (Spain), 11/08/2017, Srs. Community of Madrid.- October 28th was a great day: in the Province we celebrated 150 years of the arrival of the first Sisters in Spain...So much time has passed, so much has been lived, so many certainties and uncertainties, so much pain and efforts, love offered, service and self-gift!! 

A good number of our Sisters met together in the Provincial House to experience, pray, celebrate and reflect on this event which for all of us, is a source of great joy and thanksgiving for all that has been done and also to ask forgiveness for what has not been done throughout this time. We began our celebration by singing the Morning Prayer in the Chapel which was beautifully decorated for the occasion. Sister Angela Anta, Provincial Superior addressed a few words to us as an introduction for the prayer, which helped us to participate well in this family feast that brought us together. On coming to the hall, like the first fruit, the interview that the Sr. Gemma Morató and Sr. Conchi García had with Sr. Maria Escayola, Superior general, was played on the screen. It was a moment of great joy and emotions for all, as Sr. Maria is a living part of our history and her virtual presence compensates a little for the impossibility to have her with us. With the simplicity and closeness that characterize her, she was responding to the questions of the Sisters about the past, present and future of the Congregation, emphasising specially on the importance to have the courage to open our eyes to perceive the new needs in the situations where we are realizing our mission and to know to adapt our responses to the problems and clamors of our world through the service of charity.

Drawing made by Sr. Ana María ValeriDrawing made by Sr. Ana María Valeri

After a short break, we began to look at ourselves through our history, using the materials from our Provincial Archives. We used three dynamics, from the hand of Sr. María Dolores García Maquívar. In the first dynamics, we started with a panel in which a big and diverse forest helped us to go through these past 150 years, praising and thanking God for all that was lived and received as heritage, which at the same time was a call for us today for conversion.

The forest which began with one tree, (Xifré Hospital, Arenys de Mar, in December 1867) has been growing with different trees, each one at its time and place, with its form and strength. Each new house that was founded was a tree. The forest passed through good times full of light, new places and many different activities to live and transmit the Good News of Jesus; these were moments when life was rooted in joy and commitment, and prayer and work. In this story of the forest there were also times of darkness and pain...which made us go back and begin again with trees capable of sprouting again. During this whole time we have lived our life of consecration, fraternity and mission. Each one of us recognized a few houses and we do not know much about the others, but all of them together form our forest which enables us to continue our journey today. The interventions from different Sisters helped us to share from their knowledge about some of the houses and their experiences of life and mission in them.

In the second dynamics, we were invited to a second panel, to enter and contemplate on our house, which was being constructed during these past years by 777 of us, Sisters. Each Sister brings her style, abilities, thoughts and feelings, opinions and tastes, her strengths and weaknesses as unique and unrepeatable elements. Together we try to follow the foot prints of Jesus and His command: “Go to everyone”. We have done this in many different places and social milieu, among people of all ages and different activities. Thus we have tried to actualize the heritage of Sainville through different means: Education, healing, teaching, curing, guidance, caring, accompaniment, learning from others, collaboration and sharing... 

We did not forgot that it is only our ability to be in communion by sharing our faith, life, mission and material goods that has made and continues to make our lives credible.

Each one of us contributes to make this world and the Community in which she lives, a house for all in harmony, a common house where there is also dust and filth, a house which has to be cared for and arranged daily so that we can enter there with a smile.

This second panel was finished with a French rhyme for children, which had a twofold purpose: as a homage to our first Sisters who arrived from France and its text...”Frere Jacques” which makes reference to a friar, the bell ringer who was sleeping, as a reminder to us of the words of Pope Francis “I expect from you that you wake up the world”... but, what will happen, if we are sleeping? All of us sang the song together and the question remained within each one of us.

At mid-day we celebrated the Eucharist, the center of our feast and our life. During the offertory each Community offered a lighted lamp as a sign and commitment to continue to walk in the light of the Lord and to be a light in the world. In the afternoon, after sharing with everyone the feast day table, we met together again for the third dynamics. As we were at a family feast, we dedicated some time for diversion in a typical way of any family: we saw old photos of some of our Sisters as children or as youth and tried to recognize them and once again we listened to the anecdotes which are known to all, but which made us laugh again.

To end this intense day, being aware that our time is short and that the journey is long, the Evening Prayer invited us again, to thank and praise God as Lord and Master of the history and to bring before Him all that was good and bad in the past and all that remains with us now. We ask Him to give us His light and strength for all that we are living and that remains to be lived by us. We pray that the Holy Spirit may change us and make us experience His tenderness and joy in our missionary presences of today and also in those He will be presenting to us in the future. A symbolic souvenir was given to each one of us to remind us of what we lived on this day. All of us congratulated each other for the preparation, content and the fraternal, participative and festive atmosphere during this celebration.

Click on the arrows to moveClick on the arrows to move