The morning prayer was a thanksgiving for all that had been lived the previous day. Joy was expressed by singing and dancing while joining hands forming a circle-community, which brought a lot of energy. This energy carried the capitulants through the whole day.
The experience of the eve showed that when things are said in truth, reconciliation is possible. Personal woundedness can be healed when each one speaks in truth. As we advance, transformation is happening. The learnings of yesterday may help to make our orientations more concrete. Richard Rohr tells us that “Our healing and maturing always begins with us acknowledging what is there” … and with what “I” and “we” have experienced.
Yesterday, the communities of the Monarch butterfly and the Mango worked together to unify the documents each group had produced, and the result was a very good document. From that experience we learned that a sustainable, fruitful collaboration brings a new narrative, involving expansion and extension. We looked at what we learned from that experience, to see what it may mean to deepen our charism collaborating with others.
The Monarch butterflies pollinate the mango tree, so that it can bear beautiful mangoes, and they lay their eggs under the mango leaves so that when the caterpillars hatch, they can eat the mango leaves to grow. The ultimate goal of the mango is to give sweet mangoes, and the goal of the butterflies is to reproduce. So, both benefit from this collaboration. The mango tree needs the butterfly as much as the butterfly needs the mango tree. They have different roles, but neither one is superior to the other. They are complementary and they need one another to continue the circle of life. This is one of the many examples of beneficial collaboration in nature called symbiosis. My need for you is not greater than yours for me. This is the ubuntu: “I am because you are”.
Spiderwebs are flexible and sturdy; the silk threads are woven in a spiral. But spiders begin by radiating threads out from the centre, which support the weight of the web and anything that lands on it. When any part of the spiderweb is destroyed they redo it again and again… These webs are crafted in a way that not only allows them to capture their prey but also to maintain structural integrity as the web must withstand the pressure of insect landings and the strain from escapes and natural elements.
During the morning prayer when the slideshow of the Monarch butterfly on the mango tree appeared, a tiny spider was moving across the screen to tell us something for our mission…
Something new in this chapter is that the experience of the capitulants is used as a resource. Seeing what the new formation-narrative would be: we are trusting the natural process, interconnecting, normalising chaos and confusion, feeling safe and protected, recycling everything, learning from our past, tracking the energy, shifting perspectives, honouring deep democracy, being empowered by our imagination, grounded in the beyond and below and activating the present moment.
In the afternoon the General Team of the Missionaries of Africa came to visit the capitulants. Both congregations of men and women have the same founder, Cardinal Lavigerie, who gave us the same missionary charism. The two general teams have collaborated very well in the organization and celebrations of the 150th anniversary of both congregations. The opening of the community of Ukusijoni at the service of South Sudan refugees in Northern Uganda is the fruit of a collaboration between both institutes, where sisters, brothers and fathers have a common apostolic project. The collaboration in JPIC-ED, also has been very good for some years. During their visit they invited us to collaborate with them in a future project to enlarge our tent. A very fraternal dialogue in truth followed.
In his final word Fr. Dave mentioned that at a deep level we have been speaking about the creation of the culture of collaboration where the Spirit of the Lord is at work. He compared collaboration to the penny-farthing bicycles with a big wheel in front and a small wheel at the back. Then was developed the bicycle with two equal wheels. The spirit of collaboration we are talking about is a collaboration of equals with different functions and different gifts, but brothers and sisters born of the same God.