A new Pentecost - Cali, Colombia

“...Let us feel the…full force of Your power…compelling us to tell…what we have witnessed...experienced…” How deeply true of our Lazos (Lazos con Colombia y Nueva York) journey to Cali during this year’s Pentecost vigil! Four of us Lazitas had the wonderful privilege of spending 10 days with our sister projects Centro Solidaridad La Esperanza (CESOLES) and Puntadas de Mujer Antonieta Fage (PUMAF) (and Taller de Solidaridad of Medellin via Hr. Alicia Jaramillo!). We witnessed and experienced so much with the Little Sisters and the “family” of staffs and participants whom we have come to know and love, that it is possible only to babble of the treasures we hold in our hearts. One event, though, can serve to demonstrate “a fire…igniting a spark” that passed among us.

On Monday, May 21, 2012, for the first time ever, PUMAF and CESOLES came together to share a time of retreat and renewal at a lovley “Inti-Raimi”(Sol y Luna) Center on the outskirts of Cali. It was a dream come true! The day was sunny and beautiful, the pool sparkled, the outdoor gathering place was easily decorated. The stage was set to experience “an all-inclusive…all-encompassing love”, and so it happened! The Sisters and women of PUMAF and Lazos, were waiting when the bus arrived with the folks of CESOLES. The hugs and gratitude and solidarity that worked its way through the crowd was palpable. The music began immediately and we danced our welcome and joy all together. With CESOLES women in the center circle and PUMAF women in the outer, we greeted each other, learning more and more about the other at each interruption in the music. 
Next came the introduction to our theme, “Mujeres Artesanas de la vida”(a song-poem by Ana Mercedes Pereira). First, the group was instructed to find letter cut-outs that were hidden around the room and garden. Once they were found, they lined them up on the wall according to the numbers on the back. It spelt “Mujeres Artesanas de la vida”. As we sang, “Somos amigas compañeras, Todas en solidaridad, artesanas de la vida, Tejiendo nuestros sueños y algo más….” the voices blended in a cascade of younger and older women, fully experiencing themselves in a supportive web of woman creativity and energy. They glowed! 
Our Lazos group made a short presentation of two small quilted wall hangings, one for each of the projects, to commemorate the day. We then gave each woman a small umbrella and a sheet of stickers. The umbrella, like its’ original purpose to protect one from the rain, symbolized how God was their ultimate protection and that they share that protection with each other. The sheet of stickers was to underline how important it is to “stick together” as they travel as a community, fully aware of their gifts of faith, friendship and creativity. Their gratitude for these very little things overwhelmed us.
We then entered into a body prayer in the pool! All the pant legs were rolled up, as necessary, and we were instructed to enter the water –together- and form a circle. Amparo led us in a profound experience of the blessings of water and woman companionship. We stood in the refreshing, cleansing water with eyes closed, feeling the warmth and nurture of the sun, “sung” our gratitude for all the sacred elements that sustain us, joined hands in joy and gratefulness.
Then arrived Jesus!
There He was, quietly sitting by the well in Samaria!
In walked the Samaritan women carrying a water jug on her shoulder…. 
What followed was a beautiful rendition of this powerful Gospel story. As the story built, we were all transformed into the Samaritan woman and considered many questions:
  • what “word” does Jesus tell me about myself?
  • what are the barriers that keep us from our being “artists of life”?
  • what does our life’s joy look like?
  • what kind of water can I give to Jesus?
  • how do we live in “spirit and truth”, not in temples, but in our ordinary lives?
This meditative process brought us to peer into the well. There we found our own reflection in a mirror… the one Jesus loves, supports and frees…. We concluded by receiving the light from Jesus (lighting our candles from His) in order to see our woman beauty and call. With candle in hand, we danced our acceptance of God’s light and our future, as we prayed the words of Mary’s Magnificat.
The afternoon was full of shared food, fun, games, and getting to know each other in deeper ways. This beautiful experience, this uniting of the creative energies of these two Little Sister groups, found us “all caught up in the wake of an all-encompassing love and the chance to begin again.” Praise God in thanksgiving and praise!