Reflecting on our past - inter-Assumption
International inter-Assumption session for those in charge of formation in Nairobi, Kenya
The session finishes… life continues. Thank you
The documents we have been working on have been written and translated, proposals have been announced, the evaluation completed.... In the room where the session took place, the photos which decorated it have been taken down, the microphones arranged, and participants followed one after other with their memory sticks to copy everything possible.
Yes, we finish the session, and an atmosphere of relaxation can be felt, everything has been accomplished, and a certain sadness: we have created something beautiful together and now it is time to say goodbye. Life continues for each one of the participants. Tommorrow at 5am the exodus begins: little by little we say goodbye to Nairobi, as the city will welcome Obama. It was not possible to coordinate the planning of the American president so as to include the session in his diary!
It’s now the time to say goodbye to you as well. Thank you for having accompanied us during these days; fraternity has cetainly been lived. We will meet again during our lives, in this mission for the Kingdom.
July 25th, 2015
When dance rhymes with formation
Now that the second week has already begun, we, the participants in the international session at Nairobi, are busy with the key convictions which inspire us: sharing them, taking notes, summarising in groups, presenting to the assembly... It is as if we were at a Provincial or Congregational Chapter! Our efforts are concentrated on six themes in three languages: 1 - Contemplative life and the experience of God. 2 – Community life and interculturality. 3 – Leadership and personal responsibility. 4 – Apostolic life: mission and work for the Kingdom. 5 – Ongoing formation, studies, integration, re-reading. 6 – The economic dimension of our life and solidarity. If all goes well, in several days we will be able to share this work with you.....
To give our brains some breathing space, we have hot chocolate (or coffee) breaks... with cake! And to get rid of the excess calories, we organised a dancing evening, with music from Spain, India and the Congo. Perhaps the videos have already passed beyond here? The dance is in any case a beautiful means to gather us in inter-Assumpiton. Two celebrations lived with our AA brothers of Nairobi demonstrated how the joy of being together and dance go together.
On the evening of July 19th, our small family of sessionists joined with the nearby community of AA theology students for a very special Sunday mass: 4 young brothers made their first vows and another his final profession. The choir sang the final hymn while dancing. And today, we have just returned from a double ordination of AA brothers at the parish of St Monica of Ngiru: a deacon and a priest. The bishop arrived in the sacristy surrounded by fifty women who sang and danced. And during the giving of presents, the two newly ordained were acclaimed with songs and dances. Inspired by the psalms, we dance with cries of joy.
For the communications team, Nicolas, Assumptionist
July 23rd, 2015
An outing in the middle of our session
The days pass and the work progresses. And so, we build our relationships: we put names to faces, in the ‘groups of life’ arranged according to the various languages, we express our joys and preoccupations, we prepare the liturgy. We have the opportunity to formulate our convictions on themes relating to formation.
Life is non-stop in the house! Only one afternoon so far for outings! What shall we do? Where shall we go? The ‘groups of life’ organised themselves rapidly so as to make the most of this opportunity, and the sisters and brothers who knew Nairobi generously offered to accompany the groups. Some went to the centre of the town, the cathedral was a popular destination, others, as one might expect from a group of formators, visited a popular religious bookshop and stocked up on particularly interesting books. Others went to the local parish and there encountered ‘Kebira’, a slum which is said to be the largest in Africa.
On returning we met for dinner and recounted our experiences, a little sad, like students whose holidays are coming to an end. But on the horizon there is the hope of another free afternoon and the assurance of desiring to journey together for His Kingdom.
For the communications team, Charo, Little Sister of the Assumption
The first three days of our session have been a remarkably enriching experience, with many opportunities to get to know one another, to pray together and of course, to work hard together!
Each of the five congregations of the Assumption family have shared the key features of the origins of our congregation and our specific charisms. Religious of the Assumption, Augustinians of the Assumption, Oblates of the Assumption, Little Sisters of the Assumption, Orantes of the Assumption – such a wealth of common history, and shared zeal for the reign of God and the transformation of society. Although we’d read about each congregation in preparation for the session, the history has come to life through the presentations, discussions, and perhaps above all, through the personal encounters of these days.
We’ve also taken time to share how our congregations helped one another, in ways varying from providing spiritual direction, to caring for the sick during an epidemic, to making the first habits and taking the first photos! All this has brought home to us the blessing of belonging to the Assumption family, and a desire to both deepen our identity as a spiritual family and to ensure that we transmit this to those in formation. We’ve also laid solid foundations for the work of the coming days, as we move from considering our origins in the 19th century to reflecting upon our role as formators in the 21st century. It’s a challenging task but we have the faith and witness of our founders and foundresses to encourage and inspire us!
On behalf of the communications team, Cathy, Religious of the Assumption