D.R. Congo - The Fraternity in Kinshasa

"Today, we must put our talents to use in a concrete way, in line with the charism!" 
 
This sentence truly synthesises what we would like to live in the fraternity here in Kinshasa. 
 
We are not very old. We have been journeying together only for a year. Each of us has come from different encounters with the Little Sisters: through the playschool, the training centre for women, persons from the locality etc. And yet the path already seems long when we listen to what each person from the fraternity experiences personally and with others. 
Here is something of what was said at a group meeting on a day when the Gospel text was that of the talents. 
 
’The fraternity exists in the DRC; we have had changes among the religious sisters and, when we look at the Gospel, we see it invites us to make the effort to continue, to persevere even in the midst of change and to be faithful. We are there. Since we have moved house, we have a long distance to come, but because we have this fraternity in our heart we want to be at the side of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, to accompany the charism in the Spirit of the founders. The Gospel for today invites us to broaden out further in line with our charisms, our abilities, and the will of God. The fraternity is progressing in the DRC. God is listening to our prayers; it is a marvellous encounter between us and the sisters!’ Papa Georges 
’For me, the fraternity is important, I like this occasion. It makes it possible to perpetuate the charism of our founders: charity for the poorest, care for the sick. Each of us, we have talents to show forth our charism. Where I am I care for others with the means I have, I have an eye open for them. By sharing these acts of charity, of Love, I enter into the invitation of the Word: "Come, rejoice!" and the Lord is going to invite us to his feast.’ Mama Berthe
 
’The Lord gives to each one according to his or her capabilities. The little I have, I can give it all the same, the Lord knows what is possible for me, and instead of going to dig a hole to bury it, it is better that I offer it.’ Mama Jeanne Marie
 
’In the fraternity group we work on our talents at each meeting. In line with events in the country, each one contributes some important things to enrich the others and help us to grow together. This constitutes the greatness and the joy of our meetings.’ Sr Pilar 
 
’In listening to you, I understand that the fraternity does not have a long history here but, one can sense in what you say, that you are touched by the charism of Father Pernet and Antoinette Fage. You make the link between the Charism and the Gospel very well.’ Sr Anne 
 
 
’The Gospel does not describe the way to use the talents so that they bear fruit. Together with the fraternity group we can find the way to make the talents fruitful.’ Sr Catalina 
 
’In relation to the fundamental charism, we find there the invitation made by the Pope to go towards the poor, those who are rejected by society. The reason for the existence of the fraternity is that we commit ourselves in that way.’ Papa Achille 
 
’When I meet people who are ill, I give them something to encourage them and I do it in the name of our Fraternity. Coming to this group gives a meaning to my actions, I am no longer acting on my own.’ Mama Ortance 
 
When the question of how to the fraternity might evolve was discussed, two dimensions were mentioned: that of carrying out actions and that of taking time for prayer so as always to correspond more with what the charism is asking us to live. 
 
- ’This year it would be good to have days of Recollection, as many other laypeople do. I have that thirst for prayer, to have time for ourselves as members of the Fraternity.’ Mama Wallé 
 
- ’It would be good to carry out some concrete actions, do things – that strikes people more. We must look at the needs there are around us so as to correspond to the people’s expectations and pinpoint people that are marginalised so that they may feel they are part of a family: the family of the children of God. Often we human beings feel we are poorer than the others but the Lord has given us, as our wealth, the ability to place ourselves at the service of others.’ … ’The Recollection could help the project to mature in that direction.’
Papa Achille
 
At the end of the meeting we took the time to read the letter accompanying the paper ’The Charism of Etienne Pernet and Antoinette Fage brings together Laypeople and Little Sisters of the Assumption in a single family’. We appreciated the themes, being sure that each one is important for our life as Laypersons. The one we chose to begin with was: "A spirituality that transforms us", since some among us are thinking of a commitment as lay associates. 
 
It is a pleasure to share these few lines with you; they make it possible for you to discover what we are experiencing here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which will travel around the world. 
With very best wishes to all, 
The Fraternity in Kinshasa
 
23/03/2015
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