We are Raquel, Irene and Fanny, young women from the Congo who, eight months ago, began our novitiate in Lima Peru. With great joy we are sharing with you some of the experiences we are having in the course of our formation.

Right from our arrival at the airport we were welcomed by the community. We feel at home: very contented and happy. The first days were spent settling into the community and becoming acquainted with the community of elderly sisters that is at about 15 minutes from ours. They also welcomed us warmly. Then we visited the local area, the market, the church of our local Christian community, the different areas that make up the Parish. When we were presented to the people they were all very pleased to see us and smiled in a way that made us feel at home. Our biggest difficulty was with the language, it was not easy to speak nor to understand what we were hearing, but even so we tried to communicate with one by a gesture, a word, and it was a joy to feel that we were understanding one another in some way. The people showed great interest in talking with us. All the time we felt they were very friendly and welcoming. 
For a week now we have been following our Spanish course with the teacher Betty; we felt she was like a mother with her daughters. We have to travel to the other extremity of the city to go to her house where we have classes three times a week. 
We soon learned to get around on the underground transport, so we are taking full advantage of this opportunity, between the grammar classes with Betty and the help of Erika, another teacher with whom we practice conversation. This Spanish course was very useful for us; we are now able to communicate easily.
With our teachers and the other students of Spanish 
In the community we feel very happy to share our joy with the sisters. This is an open community, one that shares life, that enters into dialogue and is united. Here there is an emphasis on en-countering the neighbours and all the people of the Christian community. It is also a prayerful community, one that is joyful, festive, in which we help one another. 
 Raquel, Bernie, Irene, Luz Miryam, Fanny, Rocío
The Novitiate Community
Contacts and experience with the local people 
In our contact with the local people we greatly value their desire to get to know us. Very readily, in the bus, in the street, in the groups they ask: Where do you come from? What do you think of Peru? Do you like the food? When we go to Mass in one or other local church, or when we are at the market or in the street, people approach us to greet and welcome us. 
During the month of January we participated in the holiday amusements with the children of the School Support Project and, since March, we have continued to help with this programme alongside the Little Sisters and some volunteers. The children also help us to practise Spanish. They say: "Sister, we are going to read my exercise book together so that you may learn to read well." We learn a lot with them. They embrace us affectionately and ask us lots of questions. 
From the month of April we began to take part, once a week, in some programmes run by the Christian community. Irene participates in the family catechetics, with the children who are preparing for their first communion. Raquel collaborates in the early stimulation centre of the parish, with the children aged 2–3 years. Fanny shares with other young people the running of the youth catechetics group, where the young people prepare for their confirmation. As this experience is very good and makes us see that the world is bigger than we used to think. 
Closure of the dance workshop during the holiday amusements
of the School Support Project
Sharing with other young people in formation 
Beginning in the month of March, we began classes organised by Confer (Conference of Religious). We go three days a week and have two lectures each day. This experience is very interesting for us – it enables us to know new things and gives us many elements for our personal growth. In addition to the lectures, we also participate in workshops and monthly retreats that greatly help us to reflect, to study in depth and to make our discernment.
There are not just Peruvians among our companions, but also others who come from different countries, above all from Latin America, and there are also some young women from Burkina Faso. It is a good opportunity to get to know one another, to relate with one another, to form friendships. It is very enriching for us to have formation with persons from other cultures. 
With our companions at the classes organised by the Conference of Religious
During the breaks between lectures, we have a lot of discussion. There are always questions about our countries and all this helps us to enter into dialogue. We also have good relations with the teachers. They are very understanding and always approach us to ask if there is something that is not clear or needs to be explained again.
This experience through the CONFER if very significant for us. The content and all that we experience each day is of great help in getting to know ourselves better as persons, to know better what has to do with this choice of the religious life, and to deepen our relation with God. 
On returning home we go over the content of the lectures with the sisters so as to assimilate them better, to clear up some doubts and to share the concerns about our life that still remain. Every fortnight we devote some special time to learn more about our spirituality and go more deeply into it. It is a very significant time during which we can come closer and closer to the life of the Congregation. 
In the background it is possible to see Campoy,
the district where we live
All is happening very quickly and yet, because of the many experiences we have had, it seems that we have been here for a long time. We thank God and the Congregation for this opportunity filled with so many beautiful things. 
Raquel, Irene, Fanny
Novices at Lima


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