Uruguay – Paysandú

On the 17th of July this year, the date when the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of our Congregation began, we wanted to celebrate it at parish level. However, as the 15th of August was very close we discussed the possibility of celebrating both together and decided to do so. Our parish priest, Father Jesús, asked us to talk about our founders and to give a testimony concerning our charism. 
 
On the 13th of August two of us gave a talk to the people on the life, the intuition and the early days of the Congregation. The following day we spoke about the charism and the mission we have carried out during our life. 
 
Mass on the 15th of August was a very special one for us and for the local community. The parish priest introduced it as follows: 
 
’Today we are celebrating the Assumption of Mary; her Assumption is a message of hope that makes us reflect on the joy of reaching heaven, the glory of God and the happiness of having a Mother who has attained the goal towards which we are all journeying. Today we are celebrating the generous response of Mary, her availability and attitude of service, and we thank her for agreeing to be our Mother. We pray for the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Assumption who are celebrating and beginning the commemoration events for the 150th anniversary of the Founding of their Congregation..’ 
 
We asked the Lord to forgive us for the times when we have not been generous in responding to the call in the way that Mary did. We give thanks to God for giving us a Mother who, with her ’Yes’, collaborated in God’s Project. We pray that families may encounter spaces for dialogue, that they may restore the human fabric that has deteriorated, may experience that God loves them, and that they may live united in the way the family at Nazareth did. We pray also for the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, that they may live their consecration as Mary did, in service that is attentive to the poorest, the workers and to families, working for justice and peace, being faithful to the charism that God has given them as a founding grace. 
 
After the Mass we invited the people to the Parish hall. 
 
We had prepared a PowerPoint presentation on the Congregation and the mission of the Little Sisters who had passed through Paysandú. It was very simple, but eloquent. We showed it in the parish hall and the people congratulated us for our Jubilee year and for the mission we have. Then we had a celebration with a contribution from each one and, gathered around a beautiful cake we sang "Happy Birthday". That was how the jubilee year began, with great joy and participation by the people. 
 
In the PowerPoint presentation we described the beginning of the Congregation, with photographs of the sisters on mission. We did not intend to describe all the mission throughout the world but to concentrate on what is closest to us, which some persons are familiar with and others not so much. Our account began as follows: 
 
"Filled with passion for the Gospel, for the proclamation of the Good News and with the joy of believing, we work for the coming of the Reign of God, the revelation of his Glory, through the salvation of "the poor and those considered to be unimportant". 
 
In July we wrote an article for the parish bulletin. This dealt with Etienne Pernet and Antoinette Fage, our charism and spirituality. In August we wrote about the Assumption of Mary, quoting some numbers of our Rule of Life. 
 
We made bookmarks inscribed with their thoughts and gave them to the people on dates that are significant for us. 
We described concern that Father Pernet had for the workers, that they might be the builders of their own destiny. 
 
In the PowerPoint presentation it was possible to see the Service offered by the sisters in various forms. We could not photograph the care of the sick, but there is great attention to them within the working families of our district. 
 
We ended the celebration with a "prayer" dance to Our Lady of the Assumption by Sr M. Estela. 
 
Mirandolina Austria, 
María Estela Torres, María Angélica Riveros 
Paysandú community, Uruguay
 
15th of August, 2014
27/01/2015
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