From Sister Anafrida Biro, of our Gumo Community in Ghana
When I think of our 26th Chapter, I feel very grateful for the experience lived.
The Lord surprised me like the servants of the last hour. I did not expect to attend the Chapter. But one day I was asked to come and assure the service of translation (French to English). Fraterna Domus where we had our meeting, was a very conducive place for the work of the Chapter favouring one’s full presence. Simplicity seemed to be key: A simple convocation of the Holy Spirit, simplicity of our facilitators, our spiritual companion, a Marist brother who guided us in a recollection, Carol’s apostolic witness…
I quickly noticed how God uses the simple ones to do great things!
The language mostly used was English, so there were moments when I – from my place – could enter into reflections or exercises which were given to the capitulants. It was mostly about being in touch with what was happening at the present moment, connecting to the past and allowing the future we wished to emerge. The Butterfly Framework helped this process of personal and group transformation.
Within myself I could notice concrete transformations: From fear to courage, from my/others’ will to God’s will, shifts of attitudes and approaches, shift from expectations to surprises of the moment… As far as collaboration is concerned, we need each other no matter our differences.
A butterfly needs a tree for its reproduction process and, a tree in turn, needs the butterfly just as much for its pollination!
Probably it would be good to stop for a while and see how, in my community, apostolate…, I need others as much as they need me. I also witnessed transformation in my Sisters and I really appreciated each one’s effort!
We easily say “I am busy/I have no time”, but the Chapter experience has proved to us, that we can be busy and still find time for relaxation and recreation together through social evenings and outings.
The Chapter also was a time to clarify our identity as MSOLA and to point out the way in which the Holy Spirit is inviting us to deepen our charism. It was not so much a question of writing texts but of lived experiences of attentive listening to the Holy Spirit and to each other, providing space where each one is welcomed, accepted, trusted, understood. To dialogue, to identify our and others’ needs, to discern and to respond to them creatively.
To summarise, the chapter was for me a transformative experience. The inner work was favoured by personal prayer, well prepared daily common prayers, feed back as well as deep and unforgettable homilies by Fr. Dave!
Various tools and methods were offered; I am keeping preciously “attentive listening” as a master key in any situation. Yes, to listen attentively to the Holy Spirit in me and in others, to all verbal and non-verbal communication and realities.
I wish to remember many insights and inspirations which I have received:
Transformation is a process that starts with me, I need to be a change/transformation which I wish to see in the world!
The Word of God, our charism, our founders and their writings, Africa and its cultural values/spirituality, our diversity… provide us with power and energy in facing different situations and the power of three words “I am sorry”.
The chapter ended with the feast of Ascension! Our Risen Lord, the one with authority in heaven and on earth, sent us to his Mission and assured us of his perpetual presence! This is the reason for which I dare say to us, my dear Sisters:
With the transforming love of the Risen Lord,
let us walk together without fear,
let us collaborate with each other and with others
and so give birth to a new creation!