WITNESSES: Sr. Carmen Leonor Cortés

on 06 Oct, 2020
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Santiago (Chile),10/06/2020, Sr. Carmen Leonor Cortés Cortés.- 25 YEARS AFTER THE BEATIFICATION ... Faced with this event, the saying comes true: “remembering is living”. Go through the heart again, that which marked our life. How do I remember the “Beatification” event today? Easy to feel, difficult to express. Talking about this experience is like wanting to pour a bottle of wine into a small glass ...

The great events of life, those that are most significant, have a strong resonance in the "before" and "after"; For this reason, remembering and reliving the beatification of our Foundress, I spontaneously go back to my adolescence, when I was 15, as an Aspirant of the Congregation, I insistently asked Marie Poussepin to take me to know "her house" and, as God goes beyond our small wishes, he granted me not only to get to her house but to celebrate with the Church and the Congregation the recognition of her virtues, assessed both in the prosperous city of Dourdan and in the small village of Sainville.

How wonderful it is to remember the overwhelming joy of the sisters when the long-awaited news was received. How much gratitude, how much enthusiasm. We all said to each other: The time has finally come for the public recognition of Marie Poussepin, her beatification; cause started from Mere Josepha, officially introduced by Mere Leon Joseph in 1923 and finally reached on November 20, 1994, with Sr. María Fabiola Velázquez Maya as General Superior and whose last stage corresponded to Sr. Inés Mercedes Mejía Toro ... How many efforts, how many years of waiting ... Luckily she herself had given us the lesson: patient, active and persevering wait.

But the news also meant preparing us for immediate preparation. All the Structures of the Congregation were set in motion through a deeper reflection, a more intense prayer, a more convincing mission. For example, the vice-province of Aconcagua wanted to offer a new presence among the poorest as a tribute and on February 16, 1993, he took the step from continental to insular Chile, to set up her store on the island of Chiloé and share life and faith with the families of the fishermen, thus symbolizing the passage from Dourdan to Sainville.

Getting a little closer to the celebration itself. In 1994 I was as Vice Provincial of Aconcagua (Argentina-Chile), preparing with all my sisters for the 50th General Chapter, in which I was elected General Councilor. From this new and unexpected SENDING I lived the beatification; In other words, with a very different perspective from the one I had dreamed of, returning to my Vice-Province to tell my sisters everything I had seen and heard… But it was not like that.

I still keep in my mind and in my heart many of the activities carried out in Rome as well as in Sainville and in La Breteche. I will limit myself to those that took place in Rome, from November 16th to 24th, beginning with the arrival of the guests at this great FAMILY PARTY. Everything was moving around her, the woman who had summoned us.

It is impossible not to remember the FORUM and the round table that took place at the Augustinian Institute on November 19 with the theme "Marie Poussepin: her Community at the service of Charity." An indelible experience due to the fact of verifying that people other than the sisters could know in such a profound way the human and spiritual richness of our Foundress.

Among them, brothers very close to the Congregation such as Fr. Abelardo Lobato and Jean Jacques Pérennes; Also, friends and collaborators such as Miss Patricia Terral, director of the Bellisen Center (France), a social work founded in 1861, Mr. Guillermo León Escobar Herrán, sociologist and diplomat, who later became the Colombian ambassador to the Holy See, and Mr. Michael Collins, president of Caritas Cristi of the Archdiocese of Boston, linked to our Hospital of Santa Ana in Fall River, an expression of the lay-Congregation communion, as Marie Poussepin wanted it, from the beginning.

That day 19 culminated with a prayer vigil in the basilica of Santa Sabina, where we felt, in a special way, the strength of the fraternity in the Dominican Family.

It is impossible not to recall page 7 of the L'Osservatore Romano in its November 18 edition, entirely dedicated to Marie Poussepin. Her traditional photo and four articles telling us about her and her Work: the Congregation. How not to publicize the life of that businesswoman capable of leaving everything to go to meet those who needed to regain their dignity and autonomy through health, learning, work. It is rightly proclaimed "Social Apostle of Charity." Challenge that today her daughters are called to face throughout history.

I want to bring to this small film of memories, the chorus of the song composed for her, by one of our sisters and that echoes the prayer that we recite every day in her honor.

«C´est Toi que je loue, Seigneur, en ce jour écoute ma priere et mon chant qui s´éleve vers Celle qui est ma lumiere» It is You whom I praise, Lord. On this day listen to my prayer and my song that rises towards him who is my light. Also today, remembering this event, I praise you Lord and I bless you, because on the path of thousands of young people you put that woman, as light, source of inspiration and support in their purpose of Following Jesus Christ at the service of the brothers.

Finally, I want to mention the brochure prepared by the Information and Communication Service of the Congregation (SIC): “A face of God”, published by the Vatican press. Its title that impacted me a lot. I found it wonderful. I have frequently paused in front of it, trying to deepen its reach. I confront it with other languages, to discover new nuances and enjoy its depth. "Il Volto di Dio", "Un visage de Dieu", "The face of God". And I am always in awe ... What better way to define Marie Poussepin! Yes, her mercy and love made the face of God visible to many small and afflicted people in Dourdan and Sainville.

And, now yes, with what words to speak of the very fact of the beatification? It's almost impossible for me. It is something to savor, not to describe ... Something to behold and be thankful for. This is where silence speaks better than words ... and only one expression comes out: THANK YOU, LORD.

See the Plaza San Pedro, welcoming the delegations that wore their distinctive yellow scarf with the towers of the Mother House, in the logo; discover the huge canvas with the image of Marie Poussepin in the midst of the different missionary expressions of the Charism, experience the majesty of the basilica, the harmony and beauty of the liturgy; It was for me to feel that the gates of heaven were opened to show everyone the glory of that humble, pious and charitable daughter of Dourdan and daughter of the Church, hidden for so many years.

At the beginning I said that great events have a strong resonance before and after. For me, the best expression of the "after" is the moment we are living, in this year of grace, in which the entire Congregation is mobilized to renew itself in its life and mission; to cross the borders and recover the original strength of the Charism, the word of the Gospel for today's world. This is our hour and this is our task. Is it the way to prepare for her Canonization?