Cascais (Portugal). From 27 to 30 December 2023, the Mother Emeritus of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Yvonne Reungoat, was invited by the Our Lady of Fatima Province (POR) to hold a formative meeting on Integral Ecology. The meeting was held at the Externato Nossa Senhora do Rosário in Cascais and was attended by sixty FMA of the Province.

Mother Yvonne arrived at the airport on the 27th and immediately went to Fatima for a brief but intense encounter with Our Lady of Fatima. In the evening, in Cascais, the Sisters of the Community looked forward to her arrival. Although it was not the first time Mother Yvonne’s visits the Sisters of the POR Province, it is always a blessing. “Superiors are the link in the chain that guarantees the continuity of the Charism in the various parts of the world. They are like angels who illuminate our path, encourage us in our journey, and guide us in the most appropriate strategies for today’s times,” affirms Sister Ana de Jesus Carvalho.

The main objective of her visit was to offer a time of formation in the field of Integral Ecology, starting with human relationships. Being a very topical and urgent issue, in response to the insistent requests of Pope Francis, the Portuguese Province decided to call upon the Mother Emeritus as an expert, also for her experience of participating in the last Synod of Bishops as a facilitator, as part of a group of 85 religious and lay people from various sectors.

In the first nucleus of the course, Mother Yvonne addressed the seven objectives of Laudato Si’ applied to everyday life. These are the themes: CARE in reciprocity; CONVERSION: the Holy Spirit is a transforming presence; COMPASSION in a wounded world; CALL to be ‘grateful’; CHARISM that generates fraternity; GOLDEN CHAIN of relationships: “I entrust them to you”; ORATORIAN HEART.

The other themes were treated along the same lines, helping the FMA to assimilate and internalize the educational urgency of this topic with the new generations.

The encounter culminated with her testimony on the synodal experience, lived in an atmosphere of great freedom, serenity, respect, cordiality, and participation. The month was characterized by the trinomial: communion, mission, and participation. She explained that the synodal process which involves everyone develops in progressive stages and always tends to grow and widen in concentric circles. The work is not finished but will continue, as it is a method that is first and foremost a process in step with the times, to bring the answers into conformity with the concrete needs of each era.

With regard to the ecology of relationships, there is still some way to go to transmit, give shape, and content to the principles that should regulate the behavior of human beings, starting from the youngest. The educational task is fundamental to lay the foundations for a CARING mindset for everyone.


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