With Others

We are living with others in our neighbourhoods and commit ourselves to make them places that are human.. We like to discuss and review events with others. We work and dream with others. We celebrate life with others.

This phrase ’with others’, which is in our congregational texts and in our way of being, became a little more concrete, a little more factual in the provincial chapter that has ended. 
 
In December we celebrated the first provincial Chapter of Europa Sur-Congo in which laypeople participated with regard to the mission to which we know we are sent, sisters and laity. 
 
And now we are wondering why we delayed so long in doing this. 
There were six lay persons there: Ilu, Amadeu, Vanesa, Encarna, Nono and Maria José. Actually, a seventh, Nuria, only eight months old was, we believe, the youngest lay person to be present at a chapter. They came from the groups in Barcelona, Granada and Cartagena and from the provincial JPIC commission (Tarragona). Some already knew one another, others were meeting for the first time. 
 
We shared with them in the daily work, the gospel, the fiesta, in the Eucharist, in protest and in joy; we had the same indignation in the face of injustice. We want to share this chapter time that is so important for us. The different lay groups had prepared for this meeting as we Little Sisters had done in the communities, with the awareness of doing something important, of sowing a seed. We do not yet know its fruit, but we are confiding its growth to the Lord. 
 
In their work as a group of laypeople in the chapter they reaffirmed the life and mission we share, in ordinary daily life, with a specific spirituality of proximity and accompani¬ment with those who are impoverished. A way of bringing the faith to life through social commitment and the accompaniment of families. 
They set us the challenge of being capable of generating life, making possible the creation of opinion and of alternatives. The image of the house emerged force¬fully: the open house which is how they perceived our communities, their own house which they wish to open, and the house as the place of a new community, a space of encounter, a humanising space. 
 
They also expressed the need and the desire for training in common, among themselves and with us, the need to create a network, to know one another and to meet together. 
Their contributions mentioned commitment, training, the Reign, belonging, the impoverished, mission etc. They saw in the future a ’we’ that would include everybody: sister and laity. 
 
It was a valuable experience and the best thing is that it is only a foretaste of what will be, just as in this time of advent there is a beautiful promise, surprisingly beautiful. Already, there is a hint of the Sun that is being born from on high. 
Ilu, from the group Tesoros Comunes in Barcelona, wanted to share her experience with the other members of the group and friends and sent us this note: 
 
Greetings to all !!! I would like to tell you that it was a great gift for me to have had the possibility of participating in the LSA provincial chapter. For me, their testimony is the strength that encourages me to continue trying to bring about the construction of this other possible world and this in our simple daily life. Your way of acting and transmitting things fills me with enthusiasm and, from my small place, humbly, in listening to each of you during those days I was saying to myself – ’How much I have to learn !!!’ 
We were journeying along in a carefree fashion... for a long time. Now I feel that we have arrived, yes, it is the moment for the laity… to begin to live, transmit, be present in that special way of yours which comes so close to people, especially to those who are considered to be of least importance. A simple, close and anonymous way of doing things. Focussed on life, this life which is so imbued with love and dreams, with hope and the desire for utopia, but also with efforts, pain, hunger and thirst (physical or other), with struggles and solitude… the life of the families and the people of your, and our, neighbourhoods. 
While I was at the Chapter I was asking myself how I want to live, what I want for my family, what I commit myself to, what change the Lord is inviting me to make, what conversion… what is my mission and how it is being put into effect in my life…. And yes, I feel that the word Strength fits like a ring on my finger. I feel this strength interiorly, like a little whirlwind that is driving me to something new… to a personal, family and community transformation. I am thinking that if Vocation is something that makes you love and that shakes you interiorly and exteriorly with the desire to live in accordance with what you believe… then I have an LSA vocation !! 
Sister Ilu
 
 
The Cartagena community, 
Sister Pilar 
 
12/04/2011
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