Brussels (Belgium). The annual Assembly of VIDES International was held on 30 June 2023 in Groot-Bijgaarden, at the headquarters of Sacred Heart Province (BEG) of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
The Assembly was attended by 28 members representing the 53 VIDES groups present in the world and 12 members of the Board of Directors. Also present were the Superior General of the FMA Institute, Mother Chiara Cazzuola; Sr. Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry; and Sr. Giuliana Pisano, legal representative of the Institute and internal auditor of VIDES International. The meeting took place in the presence of the notary Eric Jacobs, the consultant Clément Pirenne, and the administrator in Belgium Pascal Fontaine, for the presentation of the proposed amendment and the approval of the Statute of Association.
The President Guido Barbera in his initial greeting, stressed that the purpose of the Assembly was not only to make changes to the Statute, but also to welcome a new challenge after 35 years of associative life: to be a network of love that takes sides against all expressions of death, those that Pope Francis identifies as waste, indifference, lack of humanity.
He concluded his talk by thanking the founder of VIDES, Sister Maria Grazia Caputo – present at the event – who made the Association grow in the first twenty years; Sr. Leonor Salazar, now in Mexico, who took over the baton in an important phase of consolidation; and, today, Sister Annecie Audate, who relaunches VIDES and paves the way for new paths. He also thanked all the staff of VIDES, current and past, and all the FMA Delegates who have spent themselves on this journey.
Mother Chiara Cazzuola, in her greeting, reiterated the importance of the activity of VIDES which, through continuous gestures moved by faith and love for one’s neighbor, has contributed to the change and improvement of many disadvantaged situations in the world.
They then entered into the heart of the day with the following items on the agenda: Presentation of the proposed amendment to the Statute and its approval; Presentation of the proposal to update the Internal Regulations of the Association and approval; Presentation and approval of the 2022 Financial Statements and Social Report; Presentation and approval of the 2024 Budget; Presentation and approval of the 2024 membership fee; Evaluation of 2022/2023 activities; Programming Guidelines 2022-2026.
After the presentation of the new Statute, also signed by the Mother General of the FMA Institute as a sign of support for the Association, the assembly unanimously voted for its approval.
In the afternoon, Mother Chiara opened the work of the Formation Commission, reiterating the importance of the following values for the journey of the Association: reciprocity, presence, listening, generativity.
“Generativity as understood in the Salesian charism she explained is to value and strengthen each one’s resources, to make sure that each one can be autonomous in the face of life and capable of having the necessary tools to freely face all that is part of the challenge of life, focusing on the best. We are in this work; we have learned that generating above all means enhancing the resources and values of the people entrusted to us. This is our work, your work.”
Elisabetta Murgia and Rubina Cantele, project designers of VIDES International, then presented the project funded by the European Union, “Youth to Reshape the World -Youth as Advocates and Agents of Transformative Actions in Social Inclusion and Environment Protection”. During the three-year project, young people from European VIDES groups will be involved in formation, exchange, and awareness-raising activities, to become promoters of change within their community in terms of environmental protection and social inclusion. The day ended with a Goodnight from Sister Runita.
The Assembly, in addition to constituting a historic moment for the Association, was for the participants a significant moment of encounter, of shared formation and fraternity, to strengthen themselves in communion and be generative among the young people.