Celebrations, Congregational History, Message Congregational

Great Things Happen when God Mixes with US

“Great things happen when God mixes with us” – this refrain of a song wonderfully expresses what this feast of today, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, is all about.

God mixes with us, with us as human persons, with us as humanity. Mary, our model, plays an important role in this. She is a significant cornerstone in the history of redemption. From the very beginning, she was graced to be part of the Divine Dance. God opens his circle to include humanity as collaborators in his salvific project. Mary was graced by the Divine Mystery from the very beginning of her existence. Without her “Yes” and collaboration, history would have developed differently.

This day, the 8th of December is also the day we celebrate the Foundation of our congregation. It is the official beginning of us as Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit in 1889. This little group of women that moved on the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary 1889 in procession from the convent of “Three Linden” to the Capuchin convent was equally graced and embarking on a journey they could not know. They had heard the invitation in their hearts to be part of a visionary missionary project: bringing God`s love to all peoples, especially to those who have not yet heard of this Good News, especially to those excluded and at the margins of our societies. This call transcended their imagination and it surpassed their limited local worldview and horizon.

At that time, they could not foresee how this little seed would develop and go “global”. Yet, it started all there in Steyl, in this little village at the border of the Netherlands and Germany. God`s grace had touched the hearts of these women, widened them, and invited them to participate in the Divine Dance of bringing liberation and salvation to different nations and cultures around the globe… so that also others might be graced and enter the dynamic rhythm of God`s melody and movement.

Today we are an intercultural congregation present in 48 countries. This is part of our DNA. We are a global organization and network. We are a congregation where sisters of all backgrounds and cultures work together, weaving a web of solidarity among themselves and with the people with whom they live and serve. We are in challenging places, like Ukraine where the gruesome war impacts everyone’s life in that beautiful country, like Mozambique where recently Sr. Maria de Coppi, a Combonian sister, has been killed by Islamic fundamentalists, like PNG where, after the national elections, the militia of the different parties and tribes are killing “their enemies” and burning down villages, schools, hospitals.

We are blessed to have courageous and committed women who dare to mix themselves into “hot” situations because they are inspired by the One who mixes with us.

May you all have a very blessed Feast day and remember how our God mixes with you and your life and how He/She invites you to continue to mix yourself into the lives of others.

Yours, Sr. Miriam Altenhofen SSpS