Congregation of the Little Sisters : Looking back on 2013

1. In The Church 

  • The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on the 11th of February 2013 caused great surprise in the Church. The election of Pope Francis, an Argen-tinean Jesuit, on the 13th of March 2013, has brought us into a rather new perspective. 
Contrary to all the forecasts, the 115 cardinals meeting in Conclave chose the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the 266th Bishop of Rome. The election of a non-European pope, a member of the Society of Jesus, is a "first" in the history of the Catholic Church. This pastor, a man who was appreciated for his availability and his unostentatious way of life, has always been very attentive to the poor. 
That explains why he chose the name Francis, the poor man of Assisi: poverty as an evangelical ideal and the desire to renew the Church at a deep level, to restore its foundations. 
This Pope has a special link with us. It was in 1910 that the first Little Sisters arrived in Argentina, in Buenos Aires. A second community was opened in 1932 in Flores, a district on the outskirts of the city: simple houses, working families, many immigrants. Among these families were Mario José Bergoglio and Regina María Sívori, Italian immigrants. They requested the help of the Little Sisters when their first child, Jorge Mario, was born on the 17 December 1936. An Irish Little Sister (Sister Oliva) was the first to go to the family. 
  • The Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI, in the Motu Proprio "Porta Fidei", had announced a "Year of Faith" that aimed to affirm "a living faith in a changing world". It began on the 11 October 2012 for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and came to a close on the 24th November 2013, the feast of Christ the King. 
The World Youth Days at Rio de Janeiro. The 28th World Youth Days held in Brazil in the presence of Pope Francis from the 23 – 28 July 2013 had as theme "Go! Make disciples of all nations!" (Mt 28:19). Some 3 million persons were present. The Pope announced that the next WYD would be held in Cracow in 2016. He asked them: "Do you want to be a hope for God and for the Church?" 
The apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium", published on the 26 November, clearly bears the mark of Pope Francis and summarises his aim for the Church: "to embark on a movement of evangelisation and of commitment with the poor". 
2. In the Congregation
  • Publication of the book: "Passionnés de Jésus-Christ". A journalist, Frédérique de Watrigant, wrote a spiritual biography of our Founders. On the 17th May 2013 this book, published by Desclée de Brouwer, was distributed in bookshops throughout France and on-line. In September, given the link uniting Pope Francis with the LSA, our Italian sisters in Rome offered him a copy of the book, which he was very pleased to receive. 
  • The Extraordinary General Chapter in June 2013
From the 1st to the 9th of June forty-six Chapter members met for an Extraordinary General Chapter at the Mother House. 
  • Commission meetings and Seminars 
- JPIC (Meetings from the 4 – 13 April and from the 17 – 24 October)
The International JPIC Secretariat continued its study of the orientations of the 2011 General Chapter. Emphasis was placed on communication in the service of the mission, (JPIC Secretariat and Commissions as well as the JPIC Commissions with one another). This life that circulates makes us feel our missionary energy, our capacity to interact, which is a source of hope. The mission at grass-roots level thus comes closer to us as we receive and accept our different realities. The emphasis on communication enables us to pick out the main lines that are central to the mission: "the environment" understood as a community of life, "just development" understood as living well in the common home, "spirituality" understood as a dimension of universal human depth. 
Blog: "Do not call me a foreigner"
  • FRATERNITIES: In 2013 the Fraternities had their regional meetings on the theme: "Together, let us deepen our faith, which is lived according to the spirit of Etienne Pernet and Antoinette Fage, so as to dialogue with the world of today". 
At the same period the laity in Colombia organised some days for meetings and formation with young people and adults. 
In October, 1,200 laity and religious who share the charism of a founder met at Lourdes to share and celebrate. Two Little Sisters, five members of the Fraternity and seven Aolas (Association of Our Lady of the Assumption) participated in this meeting of spiritual families. 
  • Associates of Our Lady of the Assumption (AOLA)
For the Aolas in 2013, it was as it is in life: in the midst of weakness hope springs up. 
  • Beatification cause of Father Etienne Pernet
The cause for the beatification of Father Pernet received a fresh impetus with the appointment of Father Julio Navarro Roman (AA) as postulator and of Sister Madeleine Rémond as vice-postulator.
The stage preceding beatification was completed with the promulgation by the Church of a decree on the Heroicity of the virtues of the Venerable Etienne Pernet issued on the 14 May 1983, thirty years ago. 
  • Events in the Assumption family 
- Pilgrimage "In the steps of Etienne Pernet" on the 15 June 2013 (see Pain dated the 20 June 2013)
This pilgrimage, organised by the Assumption family and their lay friends, was an opportunity to discover or re-discover the passion of Etienne Pernet for the reign of God and the journey that led him to found the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1865. 
- The Assumptionist Fathers in the Congo (DRC). We continue to be united in prayer for Fathers Jean-Pierre Ndulani, Superior, Anselme Kakule Wasukundi, parish priest and Edmond Kisughu Bamutupe, curate, our Congolese Assumptionist brothers who were abducted on the 19 October 2012 and of whom we have no news. 
- The inter-Assumption meeting of superiors general in January 2013
- RIAD July 2013:  3 Little Sisters took part in this sixth international meeting of the Assumption for ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. It was held in Bangkok, Thailand, and had as theme the dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity. 
  • Inter-Congregation 
- Assembly of the IUSG in Rome (Sr Marie-Françoise) May 2013
Meeting of major superiors "Constellation/UISG" - November 2013
- Session organised by the Conference of Religious in France – "intercultural" teams of government (the general council) – November 2013.
The General Secretariat Team 
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