Makuyu (Kenya). Makuyu in Kenya, is hosting the Triennial Evaluation of the Interprovincial Conference of Africa-Madagascar (CIAM) on January 16-20, 2018.
On the evening of January 15, Mother Yvonne and the sisters of the General Council arrived in Makuyu where they were welcomed with Salesian joy by the sisters, youth, children, and some collaborators. After a short moment of welcome with songs and music, they went to the Chapel to sing the Magnificat.
January 16th, the first day of the Evaluation began with Morning Prayer in the Chapel and the Lectio Divina guided by Sr. Geraldine Reakes (AFE) on the Disciples of Emmaus (Lk 24: 13-33).
After this there was the official welcome of the participants animated by dances and songs in the Kenyan language by the children of the Group Home, the elementary and middle schools, and by some collaborators and sisters. Mother General was dressed in the Kenyan habit and re-baptized with a typical name of the place ‘Wangiru’. At the end, Mother Yvonne thanked everyone saying, “We are together with our Founders Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, and we express our joy and our love for each other. Always be friends of Jesus, convinced of the education you receive and your studies. If you are friends of Jesus, you will always be joyful”.
There are 47 participating in the Evaluation: Mother General with the Councilors Sr. Chantal Mukase, Sr. Phillys Neves, Sr. Maria Helena Moreira, Sr. M. Nieves Reboso, and Sr. Vilma Tallone; 9 Provincials, 19 FMA, 11 lay persons, and 2 students.
The first day was coordinated by Sr. Zvonka Mikec. Sr. Gisele Ndekezi Umurerwa, Provincial (AFE) and President of CIAM opened the meeting with greetings of welcome for Mother and all the participants. She recalled the beauty of the African land and its poverty and suffering. She expressed gratitude for the joy of being together and sharing the hopes and the challenges that touch the mission in this land of Africa and Malgascia. In speaking of the post-Chapter journey, she said: “We are convinced that Jesus is the only teacher who forms and transforms. We want to share our experiences, evaluate our journey of holiness, the growth of the charism, make prophetic gestures, so that the young may have life in abundance. Together, we want to be like the disciples of Emmaus”. She concluded by entrusting the evaluation meeting to Mary Help of Christians so that “she will guide us in the choices for the growth of the charism and of the Salesian Family in Africa and Madagascar”.
Sr. Chantal Mukase, Reference person for CIAM, highlighted in her greeting that the event of the evaluation is an opportunity to live communion by following the paths of pastoral conversion, sharing prophetic gestures, and reviving our awareness that our vocation is a gift of God for the life of the young.
Each day is marked by the presentation of Mother General, M. Yvonne, who on this day dealt with the theme: ‘Remembering the Call’. Mother reminded us that “our presence is the sign of the presence of many other people who live and work in the realities we have left in these days. She spoke of the beauty of our vocation as believers, the beauty born from leaving space for the Lord Jesus when we receive Him in our heart that must be true, that it changes our life, and in the encounter, everyone’s life changes.
The points dealt with in the meditation were: letting self be found by Jesus Christ; share the joy of the encounter with Him; go down to the Potter’s house; be collaborators of the Potter; with Mary’s style.
Later in the morning, there was the Eucharistic Celebration presided by the Bishop Msgr. Rodrigo Mejia Saldarriaga, SJ who told us “being convoked by the Spirit of God to put into practice the charism of God makes this time one of vocational and spiritual discernment at the community level”. The invitation is “being docile to the Spirit, diversity leads to unity”.
In the afternoon, the Bishop gave a reflection on the theme: “The encounter with Jesus forms and transforms to be with the Young, missionaries of joy and of hope in Africa and Madagascar today”. In the light of his experience as a pastor and missionary in Africa, he presented the challenges we must be aware of in order to educate the new generations: globalization, the crisis of the Family and the rural exodus, the effects of electronic communication, tribalism, and political interests. He urged us to broaden our vision as missions in communion with the Church for the whole of the society of the young and of evangelical discernment”
After this, there was the presentation of the Verification Syntheses that each Conference had prepared by summarizing the journeys presented by the Provinces. These alternated between times of reflection and interiorization and times of group dialog and discussion. The reflection will continue with the unitary presentation of the journey of the assumption of the Constitutions and the discernment and identification of the theme for GC XIV.
The experience will conclude with the Eucharistic Celebration presided by the Provincial, Fr. Simon Asira, SDB, in which there will be the celebration of the 50 years of religious life of Sr. Maria Da Graça, Provincial of Angola, and the evening of fraternity under the sign of gratitude.