New horizons

The 11th meeting of the Councils of the 4 Spanish Provinces took place in the beautiful city of Seville from 31 October to 3 November 2022, where we were welcomed by the Sisters of the Province of España Sur. It opened with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Basilica of the Macarena that was presided by the Archbishop of Seville, Monsignor José Ángel Saiz Meneses, and the warm greetings of welcome from Sister Mª del Carmen Polo, Visitatrix of the Province of España Sur; it was a time of searching, reflecting, listening, sharing and exchange to trace together the path that will lead us to see the horizon of God’s will for the Daughters of Charity of the four Provinces. We were given a spyglass as a symbol of the proposed work at hand: to have a glimpse of the horizon and bring our gaze closer to a common point.

The first look was directed at the statistical data that revealed the need for change and that would take us to search for new ways of responding to reality, which we look at with hope and gratitude.

Our Superioress General, Sister Françoise Petit led us to take the second look which was towards “The future of the Daughters of Charity of Spain, in Europe as well as the involvement of the Spanish Provinces in Africa”.  She challenged us to live a life open to the Spirit, faithful to who we are, deeply preserving our identity as servants and remaining in constant dialogue as we continue with the revision of works and with knowing the 4 Provinces in a greater way. Sr. Françoise also invited us to look into our commitment to fraternity and to new ways of living the charism today, given our strengths and frailties. Father Bernard Schoepfer, Director General, focused our attention on the work of accompaniment of the Provincial Director in the Councils as well as the importance of spiritual animation and communication.

The third focus was on the “Organizational Structures of our Provinces.” Our Visitatrix and José María Fernández, legal counsel of the Province of España Sur, invited us to go further, taking into account the challenges posed by a changing and unpredictable environment such as the present one. Sister Antonia González, General Councillor, helped us to deepen this look through the Inter-Assemblies Document, focusing on the animation of Sisters at each stage of their vocation.

The fourth look was coloured with an ecclesial tint and enlarged by several speakers. With Gonzalo Fernández Sanz, CMF, we delved into the Church’s current orientations for Consecrated Life that was enriched with the experiences of Guillermo Campuzano, CM, Josep Buades Fuster, SJ, Cristina Inogés, Theologian and Amelia Ramírez, SCH. They enlightened us to live with greater authenticity the process of “working with” to which we are called.

Father Tomaž Mavrič, Superior General, directed us to the fifth look that was towards the Vincentian Family and challenged us to continue working for the Vincentian formation of the laity.

The closing Eucharist and the elaboration of the Document that gathered the main lines and the contributions of the work of the groups brought the meeting to an end. The retina of our eyes, having broadened its capacity to look at new horizons together, also sent us indelible images: of moments of living together, of exploring the city, and of enjoying the music of the choir of the Rociero and of the prayer concert led by the interprovincial choir of the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentians.

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