As athletes train hard before a big competition, the sisters prepared for the General Chapter with a day and a half of silence, prayer, reflection and listening to the Spirit speaking through reality through the others, the inner calls, to discover God’s call for us today.
Brother Emili Turu, a Marist, led the reflection. He invited the sisters to be open to the reality of the world, the Church, the congregation and of religious life and to enter the contemplative space of the world realities which he presented in a slide-show. Despite the fact of the world being “upside down” with the difficulty of seeing God’s signs in it, he asked the sisters to search God’s presence in the meaningful images representing both good and bad current realities, and then to share with their neighbours what they saw.
The periods of the whole life-cycle of cultures and civilisations: pioneers, conquest, trade, plenty, intellect and decadence last about 300 years. Our civilisation is in the age of decadence. As Pope Francis says “We are not living an era of change, but a change of era”. We are passing from a “throw-away culture” to a “culture of encounter”, where sharing and caring are more important than having. All of us, fragile and disoriented, but also feeling important and needed, we are in the same boat, called to row together, in need of comforting one another… Religious life is part of the pioneers, shedding light on this uncomfortable in-between situation, showing by our lives that the dream of a new culture is possible, to bring together people from different cultures. Throughout its history, religious life has adapted to change and has been an inspiration to the world by being at the forefront of new global movements.
At the Eucharist we celebrated St. Joseph the Worker. In the homily Fr. David Sullivan, MAfr. reminded us that as Joseph was the faithful and responsible steward of the family of Mary and Jesus, today God needs intelligent, responsible and skilful stewards who are prepared to take care of the Family of God. And we are those stewards. So, we are not just “consecrated persons”; we are the stewards to whom God has entrusted the responsibility of caring for his people, especially his people in Africa.