Spain-Barcelona (Sarria) “Widening our community life”

Our community of elderly and infirm sisters has is in its Community Project the aim “To continue building our sisterly community, among ourselves and with those around us, living an evangelical spirit with serenity and tenderness.”

Recently we opened our community to some lay adults (the majority relatives of sisters) that they might share our sisterly life of prayer and welcome. This was the cause of a life together that in itself brought some new aspects of ‘relation’ that enriched us mutually. 
Most recently Emiliana Medina (AOLA) has come to live with us, being elderly and having delicate health. 
Also during holiday time some sisters from the enclosed “Discalced Carmelites” have shared our life of prayer and sisterliness. This was treat for them and for us; they were very happy. 
 
All of that leads us to live “together with other persons” the same difficulties, limitations, joys, celebrations … It has truly been a joy, and we learn much from these contacts with the lay persons and the religious. It was an opportunity to “broaden our tent and our heart”. 
 
From 2010, on the property where our house is, there also been a small house known as “Etienne Pernet”, in which about 20 young people aged between four and sixteen years are living alongside their educators. It is a project that is managed and financed by the government of Catalonia. These children are experiencing their parents’ problem and suffering because of it. In this reception centre they encounter tenderness, attention and accompaniment. 
 
 
Since 2013, in our property at Sarria, where we live, there is a technical-practical formation project in gardening and horticulture for the “undocumented” immigrants. It is managed by a non-profit-making Foundation supported by some Religious Congregations, one in particular having taken charge of it. This is helping us to keep the garden in good order and to be in solidarity with those who are the most impoverished. The harvest and sale of the green vegetables is a means of subsistence for the life of those who are living in shared apartments. We are very happy that the water is used, the land cultivated and that it can “give fruit” that is shared with those who most need it. 
 
 
Following a call for the URC (Union of Religious of Catalonia) to the Religious Congregations in response to the calls from Pope Francis concerning the urgency of making our houses available to welcome refugees, we responded to that call, echoing the evangelical call “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”, it was decided to choose this collaboration at our level. 
 
 
In Sarria, next to our community, there is another small house that we call “Mother Mary of Jesus”, in which a community of Little Sisters lived for a time; later it served to accommodate sisters who were making a retreat or taking a few days rest or for assemblies etc. We offered them this little house. 
Since the 1st of November 2015, about 18 refugees, persons from different countries, have lived in it, for a period of six months. 
 
 
During that time their documents are arranged, they learn the language, they find work and a place to live. With them there is a team of translators, psychologists etc. who help them to integrate and overcome the different traumas they have suffered. This Project is managed by CCEAR (the Catalonian Commission for Help to the Refugee). 
Our relations with them are those of good neighbours, they enter by our door, we greet one another, the letters that arrive in some way we deliver to them or they come to ask for them. After reflection and dialogue, we had a ‘universal’ get-together with them for Christmas celebrations in which we shared life, food and songs. 
Two pregnant women, accompanied by their husbands, were almost the first to arrive; we could see their young small children in their pram, in our garden; this filled us with pleasure, and made us relive the dimension of “re-making the Family”. 
 
Recently, those from the CRAE (Youth Centre) asked our community if they could use our kitchen to make bread, that a baker was coming to teach them. They were young, aged from 13 to 15, and they profited by asking us masses of questions 
 
All of this assumes a new missionary dimension, which for us, already elderly, is a joy as we see that our property at Sarria is shared with these 3 projects, that besides giving us life, we offer it. 
 
All of this if to give thanks to God, for our community of Sarria, since it has an evangelical” sense” for us and for all those people who are around us. 
 
 
Sister Vicenta Boada
 
30/10/2017
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