(Africa and Madagascar). On 27 January 2021, the Interprovincial Conference of Africa and Madagascar (CIAM) held the pre-chapter assembly online. The Provincials and Provincial Delegates of the Provinces of the Conference participated: AEC, AES, AFC, AFE, AFM, AFO, ANG, MDG and MOZ; also present, the Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, and the Visiting Councilor Sr. Chantal Mukase, Conference Coordinator.
“Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2: 5). Communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity. The Pre-Chapter Assembly is in continuity with the journey of preparation for GC XXIV, which engaged the educating communities in knowing and studying, in synodal modality, the Working Instrument in the light of the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic that is being experienced today in the different provincial contexts.
The meeting began with listening to the words of Mother General, Sister Yvonne Reungoat. In her intervention, Mother Yvonne shared the reflection on the world crisis due to Covid-19, a health and economic crisis, but also an educational one that brings with it uncertainty and precariousness. For the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, it is the time to live the Preventive System with courage and audacity, putting all human and material resources into play and valuing communication through social media. The time of the crisis calls for educational synergy, hence the need to rethink education.
“In the light of Pope Francis’s teaching and testimony, Mother Yvonne encouraged the pre-chapter assembly to continue looking for new ways and tools to live in this time, recognizing that a crisis must be transformed. Like Mary Domenica Mazzarello, we must not live this moment as a time that passes; we must let ourselves be touched by human suffering. This invites us to recognize the presence of God and to be open to listening to what the Spirit suggests at this time of history and in the context in which each one is called to live this unprecedented time.”
With her reflection, Mother left a message of hope in the participants and this is already a sign of a new future.
In the afternoon, the various provinces shared what emerged from their reflections on how to recognize, interpret, and identify significant elements and concrete steps to be today “generators of life”, vocational, synodal, missionary, and prophetic communities. Mutual listening was profound and supportive; the emergence of the pandemic was also more serious due to the difficult situations that are being experienced in some contexts: the precariousness and suffering due to natural disasters such as the flood in Mozambique and the political conflicts in Ethiopia.
From these challenges, the FMA of CIAM, strong in their vocation and certain of the presence of God, continue courageously to be that prophetic and hopeful voice among the people.