CND presents itself.
And you, what life do you want to choose?
And you, what life do you want to choose?
In the Netherlands the Institute of Languages is commonly known as ‘de Nonnen van Vught’ [‘The Nuns of Vught’]. The Institute’s name dates back to 1963 and survived the test of time ; it is still used to refer to Regina Coeli, decades after the last Sister left – an indication of the strong impression left by those nuns from the first twenty-five years. The Sisters laid down such solid foundations that entire generations have continued consolidating them. Their founding state of mind and zeal live on in the Institute.
I wanted to write the history of the Institute for all those who currently pursue this line of work. I wish to express my gratitude to them for taking on this work, to encourage and inspire them as well as the generations to come.
Those working for ‘de Nonnen van Vught’ must know their history and therefore the origins of the Congregation of these ‘nonnen’; they must also have some idea of the religious life, a concept which is becoming ever vaguer in our country, if the younger generation know about it at all.
But there is more: as a member of Regina Coeli, I was part of community life, I witnessed the commitment, creativity, enterprising spirit and devotion of my Sisters. In gratitude for all they have given me, I feel spurred on, almost as their heir, to set down in writing all the achievements of this community since the 1960s. The Institute of Languages is one of those, but there are others in the Netherlands and beyond.
We received many positive comments from a wide variety of readers: staff of the Institute, former pupils, residents of Vught who knew the old Regina Coeli, as well as people who did not know us. “Historians” appreciated this chronicle of the second half of the last century, and enjoyed it “like a novel”.
Pope Francis: The Church’s business is charity, and my predecessors, Pius XI and Paul VI, said that one of the highest forms of charity is politics. The Church must enter ‘high’ politics. Because the Church is already involved in high politics. The politics that put people first, as promoted by the Gospel. But it should not get bogged down in ‘low’ party politics and all that kind of thing. On the other hand, the Church is used so much by ‘low’ politics… so much. Used by fundamentalists, we’ve already spoken about them. Think of your history. Think of your celebrated “Monsieur l’abbé”. What were all these “Monsieur l’abbé” hiding? These were priests who served the court and got involved in ‘low’ politics. These were not pastors. The real pastors were the Curé d’Ars, St Peter Fourier, who was Court Confessor, but always kept himself outside it. He waited for people to come to speak to him from the heart. But he kept out of low politics. I don’t approve at all of jet-setting priests or those who do the rounds of receptions …
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.