From Sister Bouda Julienne, Ukusijoni Community, Uganda
From the 30th of July to the 4th of September, I participated in a workshop on Formation, organised by the Association of the Religious in Uganda (ARU) – Arua Branch in Lodonga, Northern Uganda. By formation, we were reminded that by the nature of our religious consecration, we are formators in our different ministries, though the majority were formators in their various institutes. We were 28 participants including the animators, from 10 Religious Institutes.
The formation consisted in presenting to the participants the ARU- Formation Resource Book and its Guideline. We were taught about ecclesiology and charisma of consecrated life according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. The main objective of this meeting was also to gather the religious of the Arua diocese to know each other and live the motto of the ARU: “No longer strangers but friends” Jn: 15.15, and to ensure the ongoing formation of the members. Some of the major elements of the formation we focused on were:
– To keep our fire lit as religious in the Church, for we constitute a “living memorial of Jesus’ way of living and acting as Incarnate Word”.
– Formation is an unending journey and aims at the positive transformation. The formation is from “womb to tomb” then no one should claim to have finished her/his formation as some perpetually professed religious can say. Therefore, we should give importance to the ongoing formation, for us consecrated people to be able to live the mission entrusted to us by God through our founders, in the Church.
– It was a call to many of the local Institutes which do not have their own documents on their charisms and on formation to prepare some and to be in harmony with the Church. We were informed of the five charisms of an institute and saw the procedure on how to write it.
– We saw the agents of formation that are God, our Lady, the person formed and the formators. However, the main agent of formation is the person in formation. One should have goals in life. This individual call to have a goal in life is extended to the institutes that should have each one a vision, mission, a charism, values, and a motto and they should be part of the members’ lives.
– Memory is important for us to remember the goodness of the Lord to us and go back to our roots. From our humble past as individuals and congregations, we should live in gratitude to the Lord in everything. Pope Francis called us to remain guided by the Spirit of our Institutes. However, sometimes we lose our memory. We lose memory when we live in the “Flesh”, in reference to Gal 5, 19-5. At that time, the consecrated person starts questioning the basic foundations of religious life: the importance of prayer and Eucharistic celebration, etc. contrary to those who remember and yield the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
– Vocation animation is a great task in helping to bring to the institutes the right people and should not focus only on those who have great diplomas, for that can be misleading. Thus, no compromise of the terms and conditions of admission of the institute so as to respect and protect the Institutes.
– For us MSOLA, it was a good opportunity to participate in this workshop for we are still participating, making ourselves known in this region, and getting connections for MVA and for our mission.
Sister Julienne on the right, with other participants sisters