We have grown in the awareness that all creation and life are interconnected and reflect the love of the Triune God. The Spirit has taught us to see that our mission to share “life in fullness” encompasses not just all people, but all of creation. We realise that Mother Earth has been violated and deprived of her dignity. As she suffers, so does all life.
Inspired by the encyclical – Laudato Si’ – the Congregation is focusing on Communion with Creation in various ways during the year 2016. This book “Communion with Creation-Toward Deeper Consciousness and Interconnectedness” is one contribution. The articles were written mainly by our own sisters. This book shows a kaleidoscope of our Congregation and its wider circle. It shows the depth, beauty and variety of different approaches, as well as the resourcefulness of our sisters and friends.
This Pentecost Novena is an initiative of the CLT to help us prepare to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, taking from our own heritage as Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit.
The content of the gatherings was drawn from the document of our Congregational Directions in the spirit of the 14th General Chapter and inspired by the encyclical letter Laudato Si’, of Pope Francis.
Each day of the novena proposes the deepening of a certain aspect of the Congregational Directions.
To help us bring to life what we prayed during the novena, we made symbolic and prophetic gestures that somehow give tangible form to the proposals of the Congregational Directions.
These gestures are community responses to situations of injustice or need in the area where the communities are located, they are acts of solidarity with people or groups living in situations of neglect or lack in the vicinities or the countries.
The gestures are the results of community discernment and are carried out with the participation of the sisters, within the possibilities of the communities and the way that they see would fit the local realities.
The purpose of these gestures is to concretely experience community discernment and to encourage the communities to take steps that lead to widening the circle of communion, possibly changing their structures and opening up to real situations that challenge their consistency in the experience of communion with God, with creation and with people inside and outside the Congregation.
Ponta Grossa 25/05/2016
College and Faculty Sant’Ana Community
Theme: concrete action of the Pentecost Novena
MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVE IN OUR HEARTS
“We engage in a permanent community discernment of our priorities, with the eyes on the Good Samaritan who knew when to stop to help and when to hand over the wounded to the care of others” (DC).
Throughout the whole preparation to celebrate the Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, imploring His light and hope, we ended our novena with two concrete gestures of presence and solidarity to two families of our helpers:
1st GESTURE: We allowed the leave of one of our helpers of general services for two months to stay in São Paulo to care for her daughter in law and her grandson Leonardo who, still in his mother’s womb, underwent a surgery to install a balloon in his trachea and thus try to correct his lung and heart developing in the right side of his chest. Therefore, the mother remains in hospital for being a risky pregnancy. During this period, we employed a new worker to do her job until her grandson has the chance to be born with all the needed care. We helped also with a raffle to help the payment of all the expenses…
2nd GESTURE: We helped the family of our cook going through a period of sickness of the head of the family with 6 children, three of them still small. At the moment, because the father is out of work, they suffer the need of food and diapers for the twins one year old. About a year ago, the father started with some convulsions and this month underwent a surgery, without being sure of the diagnosis of this illness, remaining thus away from work. His wife works as a diarist at weekends, when her sisters in law care for the children… Our help through the effort of each Sister was to provide diapers, food and clothing…
“Like the Good Samaritan we do not feel ashamed to touch the wounds of the suffering, but try to heal them with concrete gestures of love” Pope Francis.
Other Concrete Gestures of the Pentecost Novena done by our other Communities:
1. St. Theresia Guest House – Eriskirch-Moos
“Called to widen the circle of communion”
As a community we commit ourselves to pray daily for our neighbours. The married couple in our neighbourhood has been out-of-work for six months now. Since both are no longer all that young, they are having a hard time to find new work.
Through our encounters with them we try to strengthen their hope.
Sr. Alicja and Sr. Annette – As a “gesture of commitment” in line with the Congregational Directions we thought of specifically paying attention to using less plastic. That requires a certain change in our habits and we are presently experimenting and working out strategies. Within our modest possibilities we want to contribute in this way to preserving creation. Foodstuffs, etc. without plastic often cost more. We are trying out how to manage this as far as possible without increasing our budget.
4. Heilig-Geist-Kloster, Wimbern
Widening the Circle
We were not able to take the Pentecost Novena as proposed by the congregational leadership for the following reason:
Before the proposal came from Rome, Sr. Lucia Regina had already planned the Pentecost Novena with several committed members of the Holy Spirit Mission Association, based on the texts that Sr. Anna Monika put together last year in preparation for the provincial chapter.
We prayed the Novena in the evenings at 6 p.m. and it was led each time by a Sister and by a member of the Holy Spirit Mission Association. Since an invitation to join the Novena was carried by the parish newsletter and the press, there were always also people from Wicked and Wimbern coming to take part. In that way the “circle was widened” without that being the express purpose.
5. St. Hildegard Home, Oberdischingen
Our community gesture of commitment from the Pentecost Novena 2016
The candle is burning –
It’s already almost spent.
But even like that it gives light and warmth, comfort and joy.
6. Dreifaltigkeitskloster Laupheim
We Sisters commit ourselves
7. Provincial House Community
Praying the Novena – even though in a simplified form – we felt united to the Congregation as a whole.
The provincial house in Finthen has always been an open, hospitable house for our Sisters, MaZ, neighbours and others. Now we are closing this house.
As we will be in four different communities in future, our gesture of commitment consists in immediate undertakings:
Andemichael and Louwam
8. Wahlwiller Community
Called to Widen the Circle of Communion
Since 2014 we have been in talks with Sr. Ann-Maria, Leader of the Province regarding our future. Although we did not find the decision easy, we expressed ourselves in favour of selling our convent, rounding off our apostolate in Wahlwiller and preparing for something new.
Together with committed lay persons we are looking for ways in which our house can still remain a spiritual centre in future.
Although we are very much involved with the process of letting go and saying farewell to Wahlwiller and all the obligations connected to that, we do not allow that to bind our attention but endeavour as far as possible to continue our mission service.
Internally we continue to support people who come to us as guests and who are searching and questioning.
Externally (both as a main task and also as volunteers) Sisters take on visits to elderly, sick and lonely persons, care for funerals and many other pastoral ministries.
With gratitude we look back on the blessings of the past 36 years. As missionaries we know that departure, saying farewell and beginning anew are a constant part of our life and we walk with openness and trust along the new paths wherever God wishes to lead us.
Afire with Christ – committed to life / Communio – toward communion, widening the circle
That could have been the heading for our discernment process here in Frankfurt.
In our first steps we defined cornerstones that are important to us:
Photo: Trinity Sunday, 2016:
A Shared Responsible Stewardship of Our Land
Yei, South Sudan Catholic Women Group made land productive and green surrounding through their group gardening and acceptance of young skills in the same endeavor. The groups is composed of 20 women, members of the Catholic Women Association. Every Tuesday and Thursday, they are working in the garden. This is to make the land in the compound of the parish productive and to green the surrounding using their knowledge on agriculture and assisted by a technical know-how of agricultural students from Yei Crop Training Center. So the project employ the young skills of the students on agriculture which was accepted by the women. This is very unique in this project because the teamwork of young and elderly agricultural skills met to make land productive thus tapping its capacity to be fruitful.
Hence using the skills of human hands to unearth the seemingly fruitfulness and unproductive land turned to be a source of food during conflict and hunger in Yei, S. Sudan for the women and their families
Human communion and relatedness in doing and sharing goodness is indeed blessed by the CREATOR God to be co- creator with him benefitting both the steward as well at the land to be source of food and refreshing environment. A vibrant life for our common home…for us likewise, as stewards of the said home.
Before the conflict in S. Sudan on July 2016 the land is already productive with corn and vegetables. Despite of the conflict some of the members of the group who did not leave Yei to go to the bush because of fear from arising conflict continue the gardening.
Now, that hunger lingers in Yei town because of conflict and closed borders of the neighboring countries the said land is the source of food—appeasing hunger.