The Sisters and lay volunteers of the Amazonia Group of the Brazil Vicariate met from 10 to 14 November in the town of Tabatinga (Amazonas State; cf. photos above) to review the year 2016.
The first day: focussing on the VISION. A prayer service which guided our eyes and emotions over the whole day was followed by a visit together to Santa Rosa Island, Peru, on the other bank of the River Solimões , facing Tabatinga. Then we set off for Letícia – in Colombia. The people we met and conversations we had, both with members of the communities visited and with market vendors or boatmen, reinforced what is written in the Mission Project of our Amazonian Border Community: “The borders in Amazonia provide the Congregation with the opportunity to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit who challenges us to cross geographical and symbolic borders in both directions”.
Visit reports by the Sisters of Manaus and of the Border Community describe the generous efforts of all, including their moments of light and darkness, to “do as much good as possible” as true, brave daughters of Alix le Clerc.
In gratitude for this experience, and with great faith and courage in full awareness of our weaknesses, we will endeavour to maintain our missionary presence in Amazonia.
On the evening of Sunday 22 May 2016 the Sisters responsible for vocations in the Vicariate organised a meeting for young people entitled “What is your mission?” 200 young people attended the meeting: they came from the group Feu d’Amour (Fire of Love), from Don Bosco House, the Boarding House for ethnic minorities, the Dalat Taizé group, the neighbouring parish – Du sinh – and other parishes in Dalat. Tố Nga started proceedings with a talk: “How to live happy and fulfilled”. She made us realise that God has entrusted each one of us with a mission to make the world a more beautiful place, by giving us faculties and potential. Our responsibility is to go beyond basic needs and tackle higher, more demanding, requirements, fulfilling our mission and living happy in this world.
Thu Phuong and Thuy Huong then gave a presentation about the journey Peter Fourier and Alix Le Clerc undertook to fulfil their mission. The Sisters of Our Lady walk in their footsteps to pursue this mission wherever they are in the world.
The Sisters then suggested we discuss the following questions:
This was the Sisters’ reply: first you must pray and discern. Come close to the One who knows you better than you know yourself to discover what he wants of you. Then become fully involved in different sectors of society: these commitments will help you see the signs of the times and find out what you must do to “make the world a better place”.
Maïté and Raymond spent several months preparing this meeting... Six years on from our last meeting in 2010 – then conducted by Nicole and Pierre – this time we considered a new objective:
What practical steps must we take to effect a shared management of our Congregation’s heritage? Twenty five of us met in central Paris to discuss over four days this idea of the Communal Reserve: the Generalate, plus twenty Sisters and lay persons from the eight Vicariates and Delegation, and from the Netherlands Peter Fourier Foundation. There was no shortage of techno-talk, sometimes very complicated, but we never lost sight of the fact that technology and finance are only tools with which to implement the charism of the Congregation and act on the guidelines of the Chapter which call us to return to the spirit of the Constitutions (N° 34-35): “…We share all that we acquire and receive”. During one workshop entitled “Our Projects, Our Hope”, we started putting flesh on the bones of the future Finance Committee which will be responsible for using the Communal Reserve to fund projects of the Congregation. It gave us an opportunity to sing the praises of the many brilliant, inspiring projects, from the suburbs of Kolwezi to the mountains of Dak Nong on the Thailand border, via the House of Peace at Ste Mère Eglise or the arrival of new communities of Sisters in the border lands between Brazil, Peru and Colombia... Some questions regarding the running of the Communal Reserve are gradually being clarified, other areas are yet to discussed: we still have a long road to walk together. So much the better!
Finance Director CND
The “Water for Mukula Kulu” project, originally known as the “Sr Martina” project, is finally coming to fruition!
During one of her first trips to DRC, Sr Martina from Great Britain paid a quick visit to Mukula Kulu where she was shocked by the lack of drinking water. Once home, she spoke to some sponsors who did not hesitate to give their support. Their financial aid was relayed by the Congregation of Our Lady and German friends of the parish priest of Mukula Kulu parish – Fr Robert.
Following a large-scale publicity campaign and the announcement that the construction materials had arrived, the local population got organised to help with excavation work. They were encouraged by the presence of the Village Chief himself to work alongside schools and various groups from the parish, digging trenches to take the water pipes, such was their great desire to install this precious asset! May God bless all those who supported this project in kind or financially to see it become reality.