Rome (Italy). From 19 to 23 September 2023 in Frascati (Rome), the inter-sector seminar “For a generative animation” was held, aimed at Provincials, Councilors, Bursars, Provincial Secretaries, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Sector Referents of the twenty-two Provinces and Preprovinces of Europe and Middle East, which constitute the CIME Interprovincial Conference.
The event was animated by the second of nine organized for the Conferences, after the Seminar CIAM. Present were the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola; the Vicar General, Sister María del Rosario García Ribas; the Area Councilors: Sister Nilza Fatíma de Moraes, Sister Runita Borja, Sister Ausilia De Siena, Sister Leslie Sándigo, Sister Ena Veralís Bolaños, Sister Ruth del Pilar Mora, and the Visiting Councilor, Sister Lidia Strzelczyk.
On the evening of September 18, the day dedicated to arrivals, the participants were welcomed by the Vicar General and the President of the Conference, Sister Petra Egeling. In order to facilitate the start of the work with the necessary information and tools, a presentation was made of the objectives of the Seminar, the methods of using the platform with the materials, and the general organization of the days.
The first day was dedicated to the theme of authority, expressed as follows: “The service of authority today: opportunities and challenges for consecrated life – The triple mission of serving, animating, governing.”
Mother Chiara Cazzuola offered her reflection by delving into the theme with a wise, maternal, and experience-rich word. Fr. Pascual Chávez, Rector Major emeritus of the Salesians of Don Bosco, developed the theme in a global, charismatic, and ecclesial framework.
Through times of personal reflection, prayer, and group discussions, the participants sought to identify some concrete guidelines of work, some priorities and steps to take, and also to name what causes problems.
The day ended with the Eucharistic Celebration and an evening moment of prayer in which, through the icon of geo-localization, the priorities that emerged in the groups were shared and the point from which they wish to start again for an increasingly fruitful journey.
The theme of synodality – “Governing and animating in the synodal style” – accompanied the second day. Mother retraced the experience of the synod-style governance of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, referring to the Salesian tradition. Sister Jolanda Kafka, Superior General Emeritus of the Religious of Mary Immaculate – Claretian Missionaries, spoke of the “Contribution of Consecrated Life today, on this Continent, on the path of the Synod: how the Synod challenges Consecrated Life.”
In the afternoon, in addition to times of personal reflection, prayer, and discussion, a role-playing game engaged the participants divided into groups, in a simulation of a moment in the life of the Provincial Council. Lived together as an exercise in synodality, the experience helped to reflect on the methods of conducting Council meetings, on the attention to be paid to listening and involving everyone, and on the importance of arriving at shared decisions.
The day closed with the Eucharistic Celebration and listening to the reflection of Sister Nathalie Becquart, Under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops, belonging to the La Xavière Institute, in response to the question, “What are the changes that are taking place in consecrated life at this moment, in this synodal process?”
“Generativity: the beatitudes of the culture of caring” was the theme of the third day. Mother presented the dimension of generativity in the life and experience of Mother Mazzarello who was a simple woman, but capable of taking care of the young people and her Sisters with the concern typical of a mother. Then through a video intervention, Professor Bernardo Toro, head of the AVINA Foundation, presented the theme, “Caring, paradigm of the new civilization, element for a new cosmovision.”
In the second part of the day, the participants were divided into 12 groups and took turns in three workshops in which to share the richness of the morning’s reflections; re-read the summaries of what emerged from the communities and the Provinces in the preparatory work for the seminar; resume some aspects of the questionnaire addressed to young people and lay people in 2019 in preparation for General Chapter XXIV.
The fourth day was dedicated to the comparison between the Sectors of Youth Ministry, Missions, Economy, Formation, Communication, and Secretariate. As every morning, Mother offered her reflection, urging us to work increasingly together, coordinated, where discussion and dialogue help the concrete transition from I to we. In the latter part of the morning, the meeting took place of the different Sectors to delve deeper into the specific tasks, led by the Sector Councilors. This continued in the afternoon, identifying the challenges and steps to implement an inter-sector path at the provincial and inter-provincial Conference levels, to then be concluded in the assembly.
In a lively and fraternal evening recreational moment, the participants were invited to put their collaboration and synodal work skills into practice. In the Goodnight, the Sisters who live in the Ukraine and the Superior of the EEG Preprovince shared their news, thanking for the closeness of the Institute and asking for much continued prayer.
The fifth day opened with an inspirational time of prayer on the beauty of knowing how to build relationships. At the end, each tied the thread that had been given to her to the thread of her neighbor, to form a “network of relationships”. In her talk, Mother Chiara urged taking care of relationships for an increasingly generative and synodal service of animation and government. In the second part of the morning, the meetings of the Provincial Councils took place.
The afternoon was dedicated to the assembly meeting, where each Province shared what emerged from the morning’s work, to identify together the steps to be taken as CIME to offer an increasingly generative and synodal service of authority.
In the final Eucharistic Celebration, the “Beatitudes of generativity” were presented, and in the Goodnight, Mother summarized with some points what we had matured and shared together.
The Word of God broken every day by Sister Maria Ko, the rich reflections of Mother, the current issues addressed by the various speakers, the fraternal climate, the availability of all, and the simple sharing with the Sisters of the General Council, made these days intense and wide-ranging, a true laboratory of communion and synodal work, to be generative where the Lord calls every day.
Photos: Flickr FMA