San Paolo (Brazil). On 12 and 13 July 2022, the members of the Animator Nucleus of the Our Lady of Aparecida Province (BAP), made up of representatives of the various educational sectors and services – Pastoral, Administration, School, Social Action, University, Communication, Hospital, and Mission ad gentes – together with the Provincial Council, had the opportunity to meet in presence for the second time at the Provincial House of San Paolo.

The main objective of the meeting was to strengthen team spirit, synodality, and synergy among the members, welcoming the diversity of the contexts that make up the BAP Province, building bridges, and broadening horizons so that all areas of animation can proceed well together and in a climate of trust.

The representatives of the various Sectors and educational services, together with the Provincial Council, reflected, discussed, and lived together moments of prayer, work, and collaboration, starting with the presentation of the historical stages of the New Configuration of the Brazilian Provinces, of the governing models, and of the Guidelines of General Chapter XXIV of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

The meeting was introduced by the concrete experience of “putting your hands in the dough” by collectively making bread. The ingredients were arranged so that everyone could contribute both to the making of the bread and to sharing reflections arising from the context. The conclusion was mainly that of the bread that nourishes and is composed of different ingredients, each of which has its own function and originality. From the amalgamation of the ingredients, respecting the differences and the rhythm of each one, it is possible to build a synergistic Province, where all the energies are put exclusively at the service of the mission.

In small groups and in the Assembly, the group then developed proposals for concrete action for the various animation sectors of the Province, in a perspective of integration, and defined the “Mission” as the BAP Animator Nucleus.

The Provincial, Sr. Alaíde Deretti, reminded that Our Lady Aparecida Province, canonically erected on 2 February 2021m us the fruit of a discernment time that lasted seven years, and that it involved all the Brazilian Provinces.  She underlined that at this time, the vitality of the Province is in the hands of all those who act with daring to be in the Educating Communities a prophetic, joyful, human, and encouraging presence.

Through sharing the proposals and studying the priority choices of GC XXIV, Formation, Missionary Synodality, and Integral Ecology, the Animator Nucleus developed and assumed in communion the commitment to, “Animate and empower the processes of the Mission in the BAP Province, in a synodal way, contributing to the governing and strengthening of the Salesian Charism.”

The participants evaluated positively the proposals put in place, underlining these examples: the common construction as a “Nucleus”, the experience of Salesian spirituality,  harmony between the different regions that make up the Province,  fraternity,  identity as a group, new methodologies, openness to the new, constructive sharing, positive practical aspects, the significance in finding ways and steps for provincial planning, involving from now the FMA and laity in the preparation of the Province Assembly.

At the conclusion of the two-day encounter, each group received some teachings of Mother Mazzarello, always present during the meeting through symbols, prayers, and formative moments, in order to follow with faith, the “prophecy of a creative and courageous presence”; “Courage, humility, and trust”; Go ahead with simplicity”; “It is not enough to begin, you must continue, always struggle, everyday”; Defects no longer appear as ‘obstacles’ but as means”; “Take courage”, it is necessary to act with “great humility and trust”; “Never be discouraged by any difficulty that you meet.  Always say, Jesus must be our strength!”; “Confide in Jesus; place all your troubles in His Heart; let Him act, He will fix everything”.


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