Day 28th September 2012


 

Today we woke up with a heart brimming with experiences; it seems incredible, but we have reached the end of the chapter journey.  In the atmosphere, everything sounds to conclusion, the gathering of fruits, ¡and many more!, because God has poured out His abundant graces upon us in a palpable way.  We did take advantage of resting a little more, because the solemn Eucharist will be celebrated at 12:30 h.  On this special day, the Sisters of Central America prepared the liturgy.

 

We met in the chapter hall at 8:45 a.m.; following the metaphor of the journey, we put ourselves in the hands of the Lord, because we need Him to form us, to guide us.  Like those of Emmaus we insist Him saying:  "¡Stay with us, Lord!".  After a time of silent prayer motivated by beautiful images, we end the prayer singing:  "I will go where the glory of God calls me", and we alternate with the phrases of Fr. Palau regarding the mission. 

 

The moderator –Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa- reads the objectives of the Chapter and asks the assembly whether they have met our expectations, also asks us if there is a topic that remains pending to be treated and, seeing that everything has been carried out according to what has been proposed. She asks the capitulants their opinion whether the Chapter can be closed down.  All the Sisters express their conformity by raising of the hands and with unanimity. 

 

In continuation, Sr. Cecilia Andrés, Superior General, addresses the assembly in which she expresses her gratitude to the Lord for the experience lived all this time; among other words she tells us:  "Together we have sought the better roads for our Congregation, and with full conviction we can say that the Lord has been great with us and we are happy".  Upon finishing her speech, she declares the closure of the XX General Chapter.  A prolonged applause expresses the joy and the sentiments of all. 

 

In different moments, and to thank all the services rendered, are invited to enter the chapter hall the Sisters translators, the team of the Secretariat and the Sisters of the community; it is a fraternal and gratifying gesture.   

 

At 12:30 h. we met in the chapel for the last act of the Chapter i.e. for the solemn closing Eucharist.   S. E. R. Cardinal Joâo Braz of Avíz, Prefect of the CIVCSA presides over the Eucharist.  Upon finishing the celebration, a symbolic act of sending of the Sisters was done entrusting a candle lit from the Easter candle.  The Cardinal first gives to the Sisters of the General Council, and Sr. Cecilia Andrés to all the Provincials, Vice provincials and Delegates of the Congregation.

 

At the end of the celebration and at the foot of the altar, a group photo was taken; then we moved to the dining room to share the table and the fraternity together with the Sisters of the communities of Rome who have attended the Eucharist. 

 

With this communication, we the team of the Secretariat finish our service.  We thank many expressions of gratitude that have arrived which have made us feel the joy of having contributed by which -from any part of the world- were able to follow step by step the chapter journey; we are sure that, thanks to your messages and communications, you have been also present with the assembly in a very special way.  As anecdotal detail, we want to tell you that 767 messages have been received:  11 from the Bishops, 21 from the priests and religious, 38 from the CMS, 10 from other people and 687 from our communities and Sisters; a good sign of universal fraternity, but still stronger has been that of the invisible one: the one that God has gifted us during all this time and has strengthened us in communion through committed life and of  deep prayer.

 

Thanks to all!  Let us try day by day, in that precious task of being witnesses of Jesus Christ and the Good News of the Kingdom.

Day 27th September 2012

 

 

On this penultimate day of the General Chapter and the memory of St. Vincent de Paul, the Sisters of Argentina took charge of the liturgical animation.  Fr. Rolphy Pinto sj. presided over the Eucharist.  He commented on the reading that speaks of what is temporary - "vanity of vanities and all is vanity" – by giving it a positive tone; also comments on the attitude of Herod, who wanted to see Jesus by utter curiosity.  We, however, want to see Jesus but for other reasons; therefore we come to have a personal encounter with Him in the Eucharist.

 

Upon beginning the day, the motivation in the chapter hall invites us to take a stand, to a personal commitment so that the reality of the Chapter is translated in a change of life.  The words of the hymn help us to listen:  "In this world it seems that there are no roads, we walk O Lord, in your path: fighting for a new world". 

 

The reading of new messages confirms that our sisters of the entire world do not let their guard down in their prayer and in the expressions of gratitude and commitment, gazing already at the future.  These will be the last that we read in the chapter house, because tomorrow we will focus everything in the closure.  We hear those of: the  community of San José of Sabaneta (Antioquia-Colombia), the community of Virgen del Carmen, calle Inmaculada (Barcelona-Spain), the community of St. Joseph of Mtengo wa Nthenga (Malawi), the Novitiate community of Arusha (Tanzania), the community of Virgen del Carmen, calle Inmaculada (Barcelona-España) for the   team of Secretariat, the community of  Salun (Gujarat-India), the community of Pushpa-Ashish (Pune-India), the community of Thailand, the community of St. Therese of Busan (Corea), the community of Chimbote (Peru), the community of Faro (Portugal).

 

Whole morning was spent in dialogue on various issues and the proposed chapter agreements.

 

In the afternoon, the assembly met at 5.15 p.m.  A card is projected that arrived from the Sisters of Pácora (Colombia) expressing their gratitude and the desire that all the capitulants (with their names included) may have a safe return to their respective communities. 

 

 Before meeting in the assembly, time was given to the secretaries of the groups to see what could be improved in the text of the Congregational Plan.  Then in the hall, the modifications are projected and -after having a dialogue on them and rectifying small things- are subjected to approval.  After the voting, the chapter agreements and the content of the Congregational Plan remain approved; in this way, is completed everything that was planned for this decision-making stage. Time was dedicated, then, for the evaluation of the Chapter in which there was a very positive appraisal regarding the preparation and the development, the methodology and -above all- the sisterly environment that has been living during all this time.

 

Today the evening prayer was done in the same chapter hall, giving space to silence and to share what each one wants to take with her to continue living the chapter experience.  Until tomorrow with our last communication! 

 

Day 25th September 2012

On this day, the sisters of Bogota took charge of preparing the liturgy. The chapel was set with a few words and a poster that expressed the joy of saying yes to life. Fr. Fernando Millán, Superior General of the Carmelites of ancient observance celebrated the Eucharist; he makes a particular reference to our desire to strengthen the communion and said that for him the touchstone to know the people is whether they are persons who build communion.

In the chapter hall the day begins with three words: joy, commitment and acceptance; with the background music, a song is repeated: “The fruit that ripens is the happiness of the sower”. A few small packages were distributed to all which carried a message, each different; the messages were read and the sisters opened their packages, inside was a miniature flowerpot, with soil and seeds. Everything leads to make a reality and life of what has been developing in the Chapter. Next, the Sisters were invited to comment in every community of reference some "dream" that each one wishes to take from here to fulfil it in the future. The final message leaves us a with good taste: “Do not hesitate to sow good things that one day or the other they will germinate. I do what I can; the Lord will do the rest”.

Today’s communications expressed gratitude, union of prayers and transmission of encouragement for the final stage of the Chapter; the general list was read in the assembly which arrived during the last 24 hours and the full texts were those from: the community of Colegio El Carmelo (Bogota - Colombia), the community of Badalona (Barcelona - Spain), the team of laity of Quellouno (Cuzco-Peru), the community of Villava (Navarra - Spain), the community of the Delegation house of Korea, the community of Sevilla (Spain), the community of Chiquilistagua (Nicaragua), the Sisters from the Delegation of Brazil, with a graphic reportage.

The proposed today’s work was in the first place to decide the limits of the economic management. After the dialogue, the decision was taken regarding the contribution of the Provinces and Vice provinces to the General Fund and the Congregational Common Fund.

Throughout the day, we discussed various issues that remained pending in order to be retaken before finishing the Chapter. In the assembly, suggestions were welcomed and it was proposed to leave the door open for further reflection and research, and that the General Council in its own moment will be the one to decide what it deems convenient.

In the afternoon, we resumed the work at 3:30 p.m. with a moment of reflection on a parable in which a group of children were invited to run - to get one of them first and to take a basket of candies – but they decide to hold the hands and to make the journey together, distributing the candies among all. They explain this posture with the word "ubuntu", means to say: how one of us would be happy if everyone else is sad?

We then proceeded to the approval of the agreements regarding the limits of the economic management.

As many sisters had expressed the desire to know our ONG “ Prokarde “, it was done through a power point presentation where it explained how it works, how the resources are acquired and how they are applied. It has been interesting and the sisters are grateful for the funds that receive for the projects of solidarity in different demarcations.

At 18:15 the meeting was adjourned and the remaining time of the evening was left for groups to meet and to contribute ideas for the publication of the Congregational Plan for the next six-year period. In this way we end the day enriched with dialogues and contents; tomorrow is engaged for the audience with the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Square and rest of the time will remain free to resume with more vigour the last two days of the chapter journey. Until day after tomorrow, then!


Day 24th September 2012

 

After a free day in which we the capitulants regained our energy, again we get in touch with all of you. In graphic documentation of our website, you will have observed that the feast of yesterday evening brought together a good number of artists from various continents; many sisters of the communities of Rome did not want to miss such spectacle, so the applauses and fun of dozens of spectators, thundered the whole general house. Meanwhile you were contemplating the talent of our artists your laughter and applauses reached until  Rome. The nourished repertoire which we enjoyed, made us laugh and to reinforce the sense of fraternity and universality. 

In the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, the liturgical animation was the responsibility of our Indian Sisters. Fr. Bruno Moriconi, ocd. presided over the Eucharist.

 

We initiated a new week and also the last sections of the chapter journey; today and tomorrow, the meetings are dedicated to “Other Matters” according to the schedule. In the hall, the chapter members met punctually at 8:45 a.m.; the prayer was on today’s gospel, which reminded us that the gift received from God is to be spread: “Do not light the lamp to hide it ”. The missionary gift is to go to the ends of the earth; centred on Christ, intensely contemplative, with deep sense of belonging to the Church, with a great sense of apostolic dedication, we are called to live for others, with a prophetic life open to the gospel and announcing it with the witness of our own lives. A sister from every community of reference took the lighted candle while we sang: “Take me where people need your words, need my will to live; where the hope is lost, where the happiness is absent, simply for not knowing you”.

 

There keep on arriving messages of gratitude and encouragement addressing this final stage. We read first the latest list of the messages arrived and next, some in full: from the provincial Council and the community of Bogota (Colombia), from the community of Santa Teresa de Jesus (Sants-Barcelona-spain), from Sr. Francisca Longas (Oviedo-Asturias-Spain), from the community San Ignacio of Wilde (Argentina), from the community of the provincial house of Europe (Madrid), from the community Fr. Palau of Vall-par (Barcelona - Spain), from the community of Benidorm (Alicante-Spain), from the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte (Brasil), from the community Sta. Teresita de Tarqui Huila (Colombia).

 

In continuation, the program of these two days is distributed. First of all, it was taken into consideration the proposal of restructuring of Latin America and the Caribbean. The sisters present the process followed so far in the reorganization of the continent. The resonance in the hall was one of congratulating for the approach that is given and the route that they have followed. Valued above all - especially - the respect, the discernment, the participation of all the sisters and the underlying issue i.e. bearing in mind our response as Carmelite Missionaries to the reality of the American continent.

 

Up to 11:00 a.m. the time was dedicated for the group sharing, at 11:30 a.m. we turn to the assembly to make comments, suggestions and to expose the questions. In the common sharing, it is perceived that the evaluation of the process has been very positive; also there was ample space for sharing and to clarify the questions. It was requested that priority should be the mission in the criteria of reorganization.

 

Another treated issue was the intercontinental preparation for the perpetual vows. Sr. Cecilia Andrés informed about the recent experiences that have been made: two years ago, it was proposed to do it in Spain accepting the sisters of Europe, America, Africa and a part of Asia. Dialogue was opened between the chapter members:

 

The young sisters have valued it very much. Also the demarcations have an appraisal for the intercultural richness, the worked out contents and the people who have guided them, in addition being able to know the palautian places. It is an experience of openness to the rest of the congregation, opening of horizons, and it is seen that the juniors return with desire to continue the way of authenticity that they have discovered in the communities and sisters whom they have known.

 

The afternoon session began with a presentation in Hindi that spoke about the nature with some beautiful images and an underlying message: “Oh God, you dwell in the centre of my heart”. The whole session dealt with speaking about different aspects that the General Government proposed in its report. This way the whole afternoon was spent until the hour of the prayer. Tomorrow we will continue in the same line and will try to inform you promptly. Good night!

 

Day 22nd September 2012

 

 

 On this Saturday, where the Virgin Mary is very present among us, the sisters of the Province of Medellín prepare the liturgy.  Fr. Oscar Aparicio Ahedo, ocd. presided over the  eucharist and in the homily, invites us to live the fraternity. 

 The day starts gazing at Mary, with the message that is offered to us by the hearing of a song that speaks of fidelity.  Mary was faithful for her search and acceptance; She teaches us to live in coherence, according to our innermost core. Another of her values is constancy: it can be called coherent fidelity that lasted whole of her lifetime.  Thus did live Mary from Annunciation to the Cross:  "Your fidelity is incomparable; ¡great is your fidelity!"

 

 The messages continue arriving that animate and accompany us: from the community of Santa  Rosa (New Lima-Peru), from the community St. Joseph of Sabaneta (Antioquia-Colombia), from the community of Our Lady of Montserrat (Badalona-Barcelona-España), from the community of Siay (Zamboanga Sibugay-Philippines), from the community of the Postulancy of Indonesia, from the community of the Juniorate, Indonesia, from the Viceprovince of Central America and Caribe, from the management team of Colegio El Carmelo (Granada-Spain), from the CMS of the Province of Medellín (Colombia), from Susana Sanchez of the CMS of Europe who participated in our Chapter.

 

 In the chapter session that lasted whole morning-, we continued to have dialogue on some themes of the chapters IV, V and VI of the Project of Constitutions.  During the march, questions of special interest arise that help us to clarify ideas and to deal with them with respect to other concretions. 

 

 

At 3:30 p.m. we resumed the session at the point in which it was left before lunch, and at 5:15 p.m. we concluded the review of the Project of Constitutions -after looking at them in great detail all the numbers and to have had the opportunity to make contributions and corrections that have been thought convenient-.  Before leaving the hall, we proceed to the evaluation of the "Legislative Phase".

 

 

As positive aspects, it is emphasized that it has met the goal of providing new contributions and has been a school of formation, awareness, and of how to touch our life; it has favoured us all and enriched us much.  The attitude of reflection and search in the assembly has been continuous.  It has been a hard work, but there is a general satisfaction at being able to enter into "the spirit" of the Constitutions; there has been a serene atmosphere and attitude of listening to contribute and to receive that of the other.

 

 

 

At the same time, is very much appreciated the help and the pedagogy of the moderator Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa, who has managed to steer the dialogue in times of greater difficulty.  Also the help of the translators, that aided all to know the contributions in other languages.

 

 

Like at the end of each phase, we have earned a free day.  We can already sense in the atmosphere the nearing end, but not for this one can lower one’s guard as regards to work and the responsibility.  The only novelty is that a committee is formed that wants to invite us tomorrow for a festive evening: each continent will bring to light their top artists.  We promise that we will let you know about this and something we will let you see also. Happy Sunday for all! 


Day 21st September 2012th

 

Today, the feast of St. Mathew, the sisters of Europe animated the liturgy, also it coincided with the birthday of Sr. Esperanza Izco, Provincial Superior of the Province “ Mater Carmeli “ Europe. Fr. Xavier Jayaraj sj. Indian celebrates the Eucharist in English. For the homily we had simultaneous translations. In the homily, he explains to us the figure of St. Mathew as the one whom Jesus dignifies starting from his reality of simplicity and humility.

During the breakfast, all the sisters of the house congratulate Sr. Esperanza singing “happy birthday” in all the languages that are present here.

After enjoying yesterday’s free evening, we meet in the chapter hall at 8:45 a.m. well disposed to resume the remaining work of this legislative stage. We envision a presentation that left amongst us a beautiful message: we are happy when we discover that we exist to surrender ourselves, to serve. Later we listened to a song that repeated: " To make sprout, to bring out the best of you, the best of me. To open our hands; to offer the fruit of His life in you, of His life in me ”. Few minutes were at our disposition to make resonance and we end up by singing: “Today I come to say thank you; thank you for everything, Lord”.

Next, Sr. Cecilia Andres gives us the good news saying that she has received the printed copy of the letters of P. Palau translated into Polish. It is a great gift for the whole congregation, and welcomed with a loud applause.

As usual, to the assembly continue arriving messages that express gratitude for everything on what is happening here and with the promise of prayers, for which we are grateful. Those which were read today are: from the community of Ciudadela (Menorca - Spain), from the Provincial Council of Peru, from the community of St. John of the Cross, Mati (Davao Oriental Philippines), from the Province “Sacred Heart of Jesus”, from the community of La Estrella (Antioquia - Colombia) and from Salvador Giménez, Bishop of Menorca.

Immediately afterwards, Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa - who moderated the sessions - announces the distribution of the work of the day i.e. to continue studying the Project of Constitutions. Today the chapters from 1st until VIIth will be dealt with, which have been distributed among the groups; like yesterday, we need to keep in mind the text of the Constitutions as well as Complementary Norms with the numbers referred to the articles of these chapters. The time remains distributed in the following way: Until 11:00 a.m. personal work including the morning break, from 11:00 a.m. onwards sharing in the groups and lasts until lunch time. The sharing in the assembly will be in the afternoon.

The afternoon session begins at 3:30 p.m. in silence, with background music; we heard the phrases of Fr. Palau and communities were invited to share among themselves what light have we received from the Lord during these days and what salt we want to offer to others, here and now, in our communities and in our provinces.

Before entering directly into the dialogue and sharing in the assembly, a communication received from Sr. Josefina Byon, the elected fourth General Councillor was read. After her, Sr. Cecilia Andres presents another new publication of P. Palau i.e. the “Catechism of Virtues ” translated into Korean.

Sharing was done compiling in order the contributions offered to every chapter of the Project of Constitutions; all the necessary time was given for the sisters who wished to clarify in this way the points which seem to be unclear. We spent in sharing and dialogue the whole evening and thus we arrived to the time of evening prayer; tomorrow we will continue the part that we lack of this legislative stage and we ask God His blessings to support us to keep on enjoying this ambience of communion and discernment that is granted. We feel your closeness and presence among us: thank you!

 Day 20th September 2012

 

Dear sisters: it’s a new day we are getting in touch with you in order to communicate to you our activities and experiences in this "Cenacle"  assembly i.e. the General Chapter. The liturgy today comes to us from the hands of the Delegation of Kenya; Fr. Romano Gambalunga ocd. celebrates the eucharist, who at present is the postulator of the causes of saints.

 

Meanwhile the Sisters are making themselves comfortable in their respective places, Fr. Palau is remembered with the singing “Una Iglesia Santa, con sólo un corazón”.. A presentation on silence invites us to enter within in order to offer the best of ourselves: only the experience of silence can accept, love and forgive. The Korean Sisters conclude this prayerful space with a singing in their language, remembering that today we celebrate the Korean martyrs.

 

Once again the first protagonists of the day are our Sisters, who make themselves present through communications. In the chapter hall one feels the warmth and the joy of their presence who animate  and comfort us; we read fully some of the messages that we have received: from the Sisters of the Provincial Government of the Philippines, from the community of Sagbara (India), from the Sisters of Sikkim (India), from the Province of India being grateful for the communications, from the Management Team of the School San Jose of Barcelona (Spain), from the community of the postulants of Panambí (Argentina).

 

Sister Luz Marina Ochoa - who is today’s moderator - at the beginning thanks on behalf of the assembly for the service of the secretaries that so much our sisters are appreciating, as they are expressing it in the communications that reach every day.

 

After greeting the chapter members and cheering up the work of the day, Sr. Luz Marina distributes the study material and time. Today we will study the chapter VII of the Project of Constitutions which deals with FORMATION, looking simultaneously at the work realized previously in the assembly on the current text of our Constitutions. The time is distributed as follows: until 10:30 a.m. reflection and personal work, at 11:30 a.m. grupal work, followed by plenary assembly. The responsibility of each chapter member was felt by the climate of silence that permeates the ambience during the time of reflection.

In the open assembly, each group expressed the conclusions and the dialogue is opened to clarify and to unify criteria; with this we worked until 1:30 p.m. and the meeting was suspended in order to go for lunch. Before going out of the hall, Sr. Cecilia Andres communicates an agreeable surprise to us: considering our intense rhythm of work during these days with the study of the Project of Constitutions and having advanced with the work sufficiently according to the program, declares us a free evening. Really, the proposal was accepted with great joy by everyone. In the meal, we congratulate Mrs. Anna, cook of the house, in the day in which she completes 25 years of her marriage.

We will meet for prayer and the Vespers. Tomorrow we will continue with new news; also we did decide to pray in the community prayer for the good ecclesial fruits of the Chapter.


Day 19th September 2012


We opened a new day in our chapter journey and our Sister from the Delegation of Brasil who took charge of the liturgical animation; we listened to the hymn of Lauds in Portuguese. P. Ildefonso Moriones, ocd. celebrated the Eucharist.

 

It was 8:45 a.m. and the chapter members went on occupying their seats. The session began with the hymn:  " If I lack the love it does not serve me at all, if I lack love, I am nothing” and the phrase of Fr. Palau: " My heart was made to love, only I live of love” which puts us in tune with today’s message that St. Paul has offered us in the letter to the Corinthians. In the groups, we dedicated a few minutes to comment on the resonance of this reading of the Eucharist; It ends accompanied by the presentation of some phrases of the Psalm: “Teach me to do your will. Instruct me in your laws, your will is my delight. Your word is a lamp for my steps, light for my path”.

 

Once again, we listened to the messages that keep on arriving continuously, we already have registered 627, this way it is possible to understand that every day only few are selected to listen in their totality. Today the read ones were from: the community of Solarium (Barcelona - Spain), the sisters of Zaragoza (Spain), the postulancy of Medellin (Colombia), the community of Villava (Navarra - Spain), the community of Sulamu (Indonesia), Gerardo Villalonga, General Vicar of Menorca.

 

The work of the day begins taking up again the topicsof constitutions that in the previous days remained pending for a further dialogue:

 

  • On the functions of the General Coordinator of Formation.
  • Whether the formators of interprovincial houses of formation must take part by right in the chapters. 
  • Criteria of selection of the candidates to the religious life.
  • Sr. Cecilia Andres invites the assembly for dialogue on how to promote pastoral vocation in the congregation.

They are very interesting topics and that contribute enriching ideas; In their own moment, they will be useful to make decisions and to implement them. There is a satisfaction in the chapter members, because little by little we are entering into the topics that - somehow – are concerns of the assembly.

 

Once the pending topics were dealt, a new step was proposed: the assembly should decide whether there is any article under “Organization and Government” of our constitutions that needs modification at this moment, or is it necessary to modify the whole chapter VI; to answer it, a time for dialogue was provided  in the communities of reference.

 

Regarding the contributions that were offered in the plenary assembly, it was affirmed that the already completed work has enabled to understand better the treated topics and to create some common criteria. No fundamental aspect was seen that need changes now, because they are not such aspects that hinder the progress of the congregation, since they are already present; it is thought convenient to wait in order to carry out the project of the entire modification of the constitutions.

 

Then, we took up “the Project of the Modification of Constitutions” (chapter document number 12) and was proposed the new work plan: not all chapter members will study everything, but are distributed to various groups the various sections of chapter VIII: i.e. " Organization and government of the congregation ”. The work will consist in penetrating into the document by taking into account everything that was seen in the Constitutions during the two previous days; at the same time, it deals with finding out what might happen to Complementary Norms, since the modifications of Norms do correspond to the same General Chapter.

 

Half an hour was dedicated to the personal study; at 12:45 h., grupal work until the hour of lunch - with the possibility of continuing in the afternoon if it was not possible to complete.

 

Finished the work of the groups in the evening, we began the session at 4:00 p.m. with the reading of a fraternal communication of Fr. Eulogio Pacho, which was welcomed with a loud applause. Every group secretary provides the information that had been gathered from the assigned study and time was provided for further clarifications and opinions on the contributions; the dialogue continues the whole afternoon until the completion of the study of the Chapter VIII of the Constitutions. At 7:20 p.m. we conclude this heavy working day, on a Roman rainy and greasy evening. Before the assembly disperses, we kept a moment of silence to recollect ourselves and to sing the Magníficat; the rest of the time until dinner was dedicated for personal prayer. We continue united with all of you; see you tomorrow!

Day 18th September 2012

 

 

On this day, the Delegation of Chile took charge of the liturgical preparation.  The celebrant was Marco Gnavi from the community of San Egidio; Eucharist was celebrated in English and in the homily we had simultaneous translations.  He said that we are tiny in the whole world, but that our sign of communion is a contrast to the dispersion and the predominating division.

 

In the chapter hall, the presentation of beautiful images of the nature and the words of a psalm set the prayerful atmosphere. It reminded us of the gift of life and the presence of God that guides and accompanies us.

 

Like every day, from the whole Congregation arrive communications filled with gratitude for all that is happening here; we can feel or it is very palpable the strength of fraternity.  The list of the last communications received were read and some of the full texts were:  from the community of Our Lady of Africa (Kapiri - Malawi), from the community of Virgen de Queralt (Berga, Barcelona - Spain), from the community of Novitiate of Peru, from the Delegation Teresa de los Andes (Chile), from the Provincial Superior de Burgos -Pedro Tomas Navajas ocd.- together with all brothers of his Province.

 

Then Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa proposed the work of the day, confirming first the spirit of the capitulants asking whether we are willing to move forward.  She informed that whatever remained pending yesterday will be taken up again.  Today we passed on to study chapter V of our Constitutions dedicated to Admission and Formation; are taken into account also the points of the Complementary Norms that refer to this section.

 

The morning time was distributed as follows: until 11:00 a.m. personal work; immediately, group work and -if it has been finished- at 12:00 a.m. plenary assembly.  Schedule will be adapted on the go according to our needs.  After the presentation of the work of the day, each sister will focus on the reading and the reflection; the house remains in complete silence.

 

At 12:30 h., we shared in common each number indicated from our Constitutions.  After lunch and rest, i.e.  at 3:30 p.m  we continued with the same task. Whole afternoon was spent on dialogue and deepening of the chapter dedicated to Formation; doubts were clarified and some points are left marked in order to study them in an elaborative way at another moment.

 

The arrival of time of vespers and the prayer led us to end the session.  We need to rest today, because the days are heavy; tomorrow we will continue with new illusion and renewed vigour.  Loving greetings for each one from Rome!

 

Day 17th September 2012


We began the new week with a good spirit. The Delegation of Ivory Coast was respo

 

nsible for the liturgical animation of today. We offered the Eucharist and the Office of Hours for our deceased Sister Carmen Motlló Ravés, who passed away on September 15th in Barcelona. The eucharist was celebrated by the diocesan priest Elias Frank, Indian.

 

For not loosing our usual customs, at 8:45 a.m. once again we gathered in the chapter hall to continue the work reserved for this legislative phase. During the moment of prayer, we saw a presentation on the ecclesiastic doctrine of Fr. Palau.

 

Like every day, upon initiating the chapter sessions, we brought to the chapter hall the memory and the prayer of those who send their messages, especially of our sisters. Today read messages were from: the juniorate community of the Tandang Sora (Quezon City-Philippines), the community of Santa Theresa, Getafe (Madrid-Spain), the community of Lerida (Spain), the community of Beja (Portugal), from the Superior General and Councillors of the Religious of Sacred Heart of Mary, of the community Jesus and Mary of La Paz (Iloilo-Philippines), of the community of Mtengo wa Nthenga (Malawi), of the community of Romania, Mons. Luis Martinez Sistach, Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona and of the community of Joliette (Canada).

 

Subsequently, the Acta nº 5 was read and got approved. Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa encouraged us to accept the work with good spirit which was going to be initiated, and also reminds us the responsibility of each one of the capitulants to offer her own contributions. The work of the day was going to be focussed on chapter VI of our Constitutions, that is to say, on Organization and Government. As methodology, it was proposed that each sister write her contribution -if she has it- to each number of this chapter.

 

Thus therefore, ¡shoulders to the wheel! Until 9:30 a.m. was time for personal work; at 10:30 a.m. time to share in groups and at 12:00 a.m. plenary assembly.

 

Viewing the morning process, the time dedicated to the groups was prolonged and the plenary assembly initiated at 12:30 h. Already in the chapter hall, it was proposed to share in common number by number of this chapter of the Constitutions. The assembly was interrupted for lunch and the session continues at 15:30 h.; the methodology was similar to one of the morning: we went on reviewing each one of the articles dedicated to Organization and Government and, if any, the contributions were noted down.

 

At 17:45 p.m. there was a break, and continued at 18:15 p.m. We continued taking note of the points that needed a special attention according to the criterion of the capitulants and was decided to take them up again at another moment of the Chapter. The assembly was prolonged until the hour of vespers and prayer.

 

As you see, another day has been well used and lived with great sense of Body and congregational responsibility. In the graphic document, you will see some photographs that are a proof of our concentrated study. Tomorrow we will return again with more news; all your support and prayer are welcome.

Day 16th September 2012

 

On this Sunday, day of the Lord, the liturgy was prepared by the sisters of Central America.  Fr. Aytor Jimenez, cmf. presided over the eucharist. 

 

After yesterday’s rest, we resumed the work again in the chapter hall at 8:45 a.m.; a new phase begins i.e. the legislative phase.  It was set with a text of Fr. Palau on the constitutions:  "They are a sure way through which you can go, more or less quickly according to how you observe, to love God above all things in all perfection".  The projection of an audiovisual on the XXIV Sunday of the ordinary time left us with the question of Jesus:  "And you ¿who do you say that I am?"  The way that the messianism of Jesus is presented confusesthe disciples.

 

Next, some of the communications received were read: from the  vice-provincial community of Korea, the community of Sevilla (Spain), from the community Paderno Dugnano (Milan-Italy), from the community of Taiwan, from the Sisters of Kyoto (Japan), from the community of Tiébisou (Ivory Coast), from the community of Santa Cruz of El Empalme (Guayas-Equador), from the community of Joliette (Canada).  The general list in these days continues to be very long and is not read in the chapter hall, but it is left -as usual- in the adjacent hall with the rest of the documents at the disposal of the capitulants for its reading during the free time. 

According to the schedule, we entered already in the VI Phase of chapter journey that has the following objectives: 

 

a. to study, to discern and to approve the new text of the Constitutions. 

 

b. to determine the process that should be continued for the review and adaptation of the Complementary Norms once the Constitutions are approved. 

 

Today the sessions were moderated by Sr. Sandra Henriquez.  Before Fr. Aytor Jimenez could arrive -who would orient during the morning session of this legislative phase- she made us known his curriculum; is a religious who from many years is collaborating with us in the theme of the modification of the Constitutions.  In his talk, he transmits a series of aspects that one should keep in account during the study and the synthesis of the conclusions that one encounters in the work that is initiated today:

 

  • §Updating one’s legislation is always a moment of grace.  It is a challenge to know what the Lord wants for the Congregation.

  • §It is a providential and unique moment, authentic way of the Lord and of true acceptance of His love.  The Constitutions are some books of life.

  • §In the review one should not lose sight of evangelical and theological principles, nor the original inspiration of the founder.  One has to find the combination of what is  essential, the simple and the depth with what is easy to read and to understand. 

He gives option to the assembly to ask questions or to clarify doubts. 

When the hour of lunch arrived, Sr. Cecilia asks the assembly if more clarification is needed; upon not having any affirmative answer, she thanks Fr. Aytor for the illumination that he offered whole morning and remains open the possibility of having some other intervention of his as the advisor if necessary in another moment of this phase. 

At 3:30 p.m. begins the afternoon session. It began with the hymn "Yo busco una Iglesia nueva" and later the document "Project of Constitutions" was distributed and the contributions received on the same.  Then, the time was distributed for the afternoon: Until 4:30 p.m. there was personal work, from 4;30 to 5:30 p.m. discussion in groups regarding the steps to be followed and at 6,00 p.m. we returned to the hall for plenary session. 

After extensive dialogue and exchange of views, it was decided to advance in the elaboration of the Project; the concrete itinerary will be designed by the coordinating commission of the Chapter after the supper (collecting the exposed views in the assembly in the end of the afternoon) and tomorrow it will present to us how to organize the deepening and the study.  About it we will inform you tomorrow; ¡good night! 

Day 15th September 2012

On the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows our Sisters of Argentina prepared the Liturgy. In the introduction, they present Mary as the Queen of the martyrs; she is the one who followed her Son throughout the way of the Cross. The Mother - Son relation is continued in the person of John and in all of us. The eucharist was celebrated in italian by Peter Chung, ocd. a Korean, the General Councillor.
We the chapter members met -as usual- at 8:45 a.m. For the prayerful ambience a video helped us to contemplate in silence where we recall the Sorrowful Mother, and together with her, all those mothers who suffer and offer their lives for others. We end up the prayer hearing the song "Mother of Carmel, intercede for your people, do not let that the injustice crush our dreams, rekindle our hope, that something new is going be born".
Some messages were read in the assembly from among the many received: from Fr. Provincial of Castilla (Spain), from the community of CITES (Ávila-Spain), from the whole team of CIPE (Burgos-Spain), from Mons. André Marceau (Bishop of Perpignan), from the community of Virgen del Carmen of Prat of Llobregat (Spain), from the community of Francisco Palau of Cinco Saltos (Patagonia-Argentina), from the Delegation of Nairobi-Kenya, from the community of the Noviciate of Ivory Coast, from the community of Virgen del Carmen of Sta. Coloma of Queralt (Tarragona-Spain). The general list of communications was not read, because in the last days -because of the elections- it had been very long; yes: it is left in the respective folders so that all can see it.
Then, Sr. Cecilia Andrés communicated that Sr. Victoria Mesina Reyes has accepted the service as a General Bursar, with the desire to offer to the Congregation everything that has in her hand. Also she thanks the confidence that the sisters have placed in her; the assembly receives with an applause the decision of the sister.
Subsequently, we moved on to the evaluation of the elective phase that was done in the communities of reference with relation to the aspects that are considered positive and to the ones that could be improved. Over all, the whole phase was seen positively: the setting, the motivations, and the methodology. It had favored also spaces of deep silence which helped us to be open to the Holy Spirit that has been felt. The chapter members also confirmed that we are growing in maturity; among others aspects, the open dialogue was appreciated, the availability of the elected Sisters and also the generosity from the part of the provinces. It was felt very strongly the sense of body and belongingness, and the desire to contribute whatever is necessary to the whole of the congregation. It was felt with great force the congregational communion through the communications of the Sisters; remains convinced that the Chapter is, certainly, the work of all.
With the evaluation, the elective phase is completed; the rest of the day remained free so that each one could arrange the time in the way they preferred: visits to religious and artistic places, rest, walk, encounters with sisters… Before leaving the room, sister Cecilia communicated that during the supper two bishops of Japan would accompany us to share with the General Council; a secretary would accompany them to be an interpreter.
Tomorrow begins a new phase i.e. the legislative phase. We will respond faithfully to our appointment by communicating the novelties. We will wait for you!

Day 14th September 2012


It was the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the sisters of India motivated the liturgy. In the chapel, the phrase of St. Paul "I glory in the Cross of Christ" and a crucifix on a pedestal adorned with oriental fabrics, set the space. Fr. Emilio Martinez, ocd. celebrated the eucharist.
After the intense day of yesterday, we continue with the elective phase. The task of today centered chiefly in the election of the General Council, so, the first encounter begins in the chapel. It is initiated with the invocation to the Holy Spirit sung in English; later the text of the Acts of the Apostles 6, 2-6 reminds the election of seven deacons. During the time of silence some phrases of our Fr. Founder were repeated.
"Being united you will walk together, chained by the love of God"
"I am linked to the will of God and I will not look at my interests nor of yours, thus will we walk
where He wants"
"Put your trust in God and he will never leave you”
"God knows how well disposed I am to serve the Church"
Finally we ask the Holy Spirit to pour his light and fill us with peace and serenity in order to be free from our prejudices and let us see His truth; that our will be may always comply with His.
Throughout the morning, it went on with the voting, which resulted in the formation of the new General Council which is the following:
 Sr. Cecilia Andres Fernandez, Superior General
 Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa Soto, 1st Councillor
 Sr. María Jacinta D’Souza, 2nd Councillor
 Sr. Raquel Díaz Flores, 3rd Councillor
 Sr. Josefina Byon, 4th Councillor
The applauses and the sisterly embraces, expressed the joy and gratitude to the sisters who generously accepted this service in favour of the entire congregation. Also they expressed their gratitude to the sisters who have carried out this mission so far.
Upon finishing the morning session and in the early afternoon, meets the new Council to consider the election that still remains pending i.e. General Secretary and General Bursar. The capitulants meet again in the hall at 4.45 p.m. and the election was held to cover these two responsibilities; Sr. Ana Mª Ruiz Merino is General Secretary for a second term.
Till the end of the evening, remains pending to confirm the charge of the General Bursar; As in this phase something is done in advance, at first it was considered as a free day tomorrow, although at some moment the evaluation of the phase will be done.
As everyday, the evening prayer invites us to thank the Lord for His presence among us; together with the generosity of our Sisters also we praised him because He has granted us to live this day in a serene & sisterly environment.

Day 13th September 2012

 

The day dawns with rain and the placidity produced helped us to rest one hour more.  The liturgy and all the prayerful motivations were the responsibility of our Sisters of Philippines.  In the chapel board, we find a phrase with large letters:  "Be it done unto me".  All these invited us to enter into an important event that we were going to live: the election of our Superior General for the next six-year period 2012-2018. 

 

At 9:00 a.m. we turned to the chapel to concentrate and thereby to initiate the process of the election.  The Blessed Sacrament was exposed while singing the invocation to the Holy Spirit. The reading from Jn. 21,15-18; 19b reminded us the commission of Jesus to Peter:  "Feed my lamb, feed my sheep.  Follow me". 

 

At 10:00 a.m. we moved to the chapter hall to proceed with the election.  After reading the points of the constitutions alluding to the act, the ballots were collected, the scrutiny is done and the assembly bursts into a prolonged applause upon verifying that Sr. Cecilia Andres has been re-elected.  She with simplicity and generosity, trusting in the power of the Lord and of the Sisters, accepted the service. 

 

After the fraternal embraces of the capitulants and other sisters and communities that are present in the general house, everyone goes to the chapel to sing altogether the Save Regina.  In the dining room, the community had prepared everything to drink a toast expressing the congratulations and belongingness of all. 

 

At 12.30 h. the eucharist was celebrated, and Fr. Saverio Cannistra, Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites presides over the Eucharist; concelebrated by Fr. Emilio Martinez, ocd.  In the Introductory rite, he reminds us that our celebration of today has a special meaning: to thank God for the generous yes of our Sr. Cecilia.  Sisters from all the communities of Rome accompanied us and we represented the remaining of our sisters who, in spirit, were present here.

 

Our sisters of Philippines enlivened the celebration with hymns in English, and after the communion, a group of sisters sang the Magnificat as thanksgiving in African language and rhythm.  Before the final blessing, Fr. General congratulated Sr.Cecilia and expressed on behalf of the Order his fraternal affection that unites us as one family. 

 

Next we moved to the dining room where all of us shared the food, prepared and served with every detail by the community.  We prolonged the table conversation and later we remained free the rest of the afternoon.  Tomorrow we will continue with the elective phase, for which we count upon your prayers.  Thanks for the dozens of messages that arrive, clear signs of love, gratitude and communion; you will see them faithfully recorded in the list of the received section. Until tomorrow then, and good rest! 

Day 12th September 2012

Today is a special day because everything is dedicated to Him in prayer and discernment; it was felt from morning through the liturgical motivation, prepared by the Sisters of Bogota.  On the day of the memory of Sweet name of Mary, it is an invitation to imitate her attitudes and, like her, to be always in a disposition to say our "be done unto me".  Today, Fr. Roberto Fornara, ocd celebrated the Eucharist. He takes the text of the gospel on beatitude of poverty, highlighting upon the projection of God’s mercy and his forgiveness towards our weaknesses and smallness, thus elevates us and extols us. 

The encounter in the chapter hall was at 8:45 a.m.; we feel convoked by the Holy Spirit for this elective phase.  A song accompanied by the images help us to ask:  "Holy fire come and burn, do of my clay your new creation; divine Light come, baptize me with that fire".  We capitulants were motivated in a special way to be attentive to what God wants of us, to discover His will and act accordingly. 

The content of the letter nº 56 -that Fr. Founder wrote to Juana Gracias in Ciudadela, from Alcudia- produces a strong echo amongst us; his words leave a sensation as if they were spoken to each one of the chapter members where we are:  "¡Whoever trusts in God is well cared for  Aim your prayer for the acquisition of this confidence, because you need it. It implies faith in his providence, and providence is the fatherly care and solicitude that God has for us. Let us allow God to take care of us, to govern and guide us”.  The song "¡How well cared for the one who trusts in God!" sounded strongly in the chapter hall.

The moderator, Sr. Sandra Henríquez, introduces this day of prayer, listening and discernment.  Next, the reading of the list of the communications that was arrived recently and also was read the full text of the messages of: Mons. Philip Boyce, ocd. Bishop of Raphone – Ireland, Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, the President of the CONFER of Spain, of Veronica Kim who was the representative in the Chapter of the CMS of Asia and of the community of Badalona (Barcelona) – Spain. 

In continuation, comes the elective phase which will last from 12th  to 15th September and its objective is to elect the sisters who will form the next General Government with the mission to encourage the Congregation during the next six-year period i.e. 2012-2018. 

Sister Fely Covacha addresses the assembly for a new motivation.  Among her words we highlighted  the following: 

         This moment is called to be an event of grace for all the Sisters of the Congregation; the prayer unites us all and makes us co-responsible. We want to elect, yes, but to elect what God wants of us; to elect Sisters who animate our road to fidelity.

         We are asked, in fidelity to the Lord and to His Church, an effort to leave aside all that hinders us -personal and communitarian- in order to open space for the Holy Spirit.  Because of it, to pray at this time is also to ask God the strength to get out of ourselves and to open ourselves to Him.

         It is only God who can help us to leave aside our interests, fears, plans and prejudices; is a matter of seeking with emptiness an answer to its call.  This is an occasion to let Him act in opening paths of future and of new life through the service of a government team.

          We do not seek "perfect", women, nor "saviours" for these times of uncertainty; we look for those Sisters who, walking beside us, may maintain alive the fidelity and the search of the mystical-prophetic impulse that would help to sprout in the Missionary Carmel. 

There had been a long time for personal reflection, half an hour to share in groups, and at 12:45 h., we met in the assembly to share what was dialogued about on the mission and the qualities that the General Council should have to carry ahead the congregational project.  Once the common sharing was over, we were invited to continue the atmosphere of prayer and of discernment.  The lunch and dinner would be in silence.  The next meeting was convoked at 3.30 p.m. 

We dedicated enough time in the afternoon for open dialogue among the sisters, and also two voting sessions were held to help each chapter member to know her position.  Then, the results were disclosed to the assembly i.e. the names of the voted sisters according to the obtained frequency.  Also the list of the voting done by the Sisters of the Congregation was exposed, but it was reminded that it is not binding since all the sisters could be candidates. 

We continued with the atmosphere of recollection and we met again for the vespers.  As tomorrow is a special day, we adjusted the schedule to have one hour more of rest, because it was foreseen to celebrate the Eucharist at 12:30h. i.e. after the election of our Superior General.  Evidently, everything is prepared to make the results of the election to arrive to all of you through as many means of communications that we have. So… ¡be attentive!  Receive a sisterly embrace and we invite you to remain united in prayer before the Lord. 

Day 10th September 2012

 

We began a new week in our chapter itinerary.  Today our Sisters from Peru prepared the liturgy and prayerful moments.  Fr. Charles Serrao ocd. celebrated the Eucharist in English.

Began the day in the chapter hall as usual with the presentation of a psalm for prayerful contemplation: the life is gift of the love of God; our dignity as people is a gift and task.  In the end all together we sang:  "Your voice is our song, your cry is the word that palpitates in the ardent heart of your people; creators of history, witnesses of your Kingdom". 

The moderator of the day was Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa.  Once again the list of the communications received cause us feel the strength of the Sisters and of all the people who remember us and pray for us.  Some of the messages were read in their totality: from the Sisters of Dingle Iloilo – Philippines, the sisters of Umarpada – India, from the community of Trzebinia – Poland, the community of Pital – Huila (Colombia), from the Provincial Council of Bogota,  community Mother of the Church, Burgos (Spain).  By the content of the messages that we receive, we see that the sisters offer constant prayers so that the Holy Spirit may lead us in taking decisions; also the service that the capitulants lend as delegates of everyone is thanked and the opportunity to live so close to the Chapter through the daily communications.

Our advisor, Oscar Urriago, introduces the work of the day.  In the atmosphere resounds time and again the glimpse of the end of this stage; had been the days of intense work, but the capitulants are giving the evident proofs of their resistance, therefore approaching the end of this phase is like sighing in relief and -above all- a great satisfaction to see already the setting of the entire plan of the congregation for the next six-year period. 

As we told you, yesterday’s work was prolonged in the groups after the dinner and this allowed shaping the text of the phases.  Then begins the next step, that consists of determining the facts that must  be fulfilled, that is to say, the goals of the phases; as in a bicycle race: if we can’t pass on to the goals, unable to reach the end of the phase.

At 10:30 a.m. the work in groups is initiated that was also done like yesterday: on each theme two groups worked out and the secretaries synthesized them into one; during the sharing in common only one contribution by theme was seen and in the debate the final text was formed.  At 12.30 h.  the assembly was resumed again that lasted until the hour of lunch. 

Promptly, at 3:30 p.m., there was sharing in common.  The dialogue and the work in small groups did last the whole afternoon and, as yet not enough, after having dinner there was again meeting in the chapter hall.  It was worth while the effort, therefore at night we concluded the phase of planning.  Tomorrow is a free day and rest for all, for which there will not be communications from our side; we will return again on Wednesday with our chronic, day in which we begin the elective phase.  We count upon, as up to now, with your fraternity and insistent prayer. 

Day 9th September 2012

 

On this Sunday, the Sisters from Medellin took charge of the liturgical motivation.  Fr. Alejandro Salazar, ocd. celebrated the Eucharist. 

As usual, at the start of the session in the chapter hall we dedicate a space for prayer.  Today Fr. Palau was presented to us in his pastoral plan of the School of Virtue:  "Teaching without a plan would be equal to building without plan"; "Being clear of the objective, one can plan the day"; "An error in planning will be fruitless preaching". 

The one who acted as today’s moderator was Sr. Sandra Henríquez; she began encouraging everyone to move ahead by seeking objectives asking us to think towards where our life and mission should be focused on during the next six-year period.  Subsequently, the memory of our sisters is brought to us that arrives daily from different points -along with other messages i.e. from members of the CMS, religious, priests, friends and collaborators-; The general list of everything that we receive was read and later some messages in full: from the communities of Turbo-Antioquia (Colombia), Francisco Palau-Santoyo (Lima, Peru), Tuazon (Philippines), Our Lady of Carmel, Malwani (Mumbai) India.  It is a clear sign of communion and co- responsibility to feel the accompaniment of our Sisters.

To continue with the reflection and the landing, the chapter members were facilitated with the synthesis done by the secretaries of different groups last night on yesterday’s chapter session; a time for personal reading was given and at once we passed on to the dialogue in the communities of reference.  A new editing of the objectives was carried out then, by incorporating the suggestions that arose from the groups; after a time of rest, the assembly was resumed at 11:45 a.m.  Again in the hall the editing of the first objective was seen, and after some clarifications, it remains definite.

Later we passed on to study the second objective.  By consensus, one of the editing offered was taken as the starting point and some elements were incorporated from the other.  Finally, the goal remains definite and we were oriented towards the following section that is the definition of the stages.

A reflection on the pedagogy of the desert helps us to center our attention on the task that is expected from now on; needed to see which way we want to go, and one must maintain alive the spirit for not turning back.  We enter then in the decisions regarding the stages.  There splits a conversation in the groups that helps to clarify what is understood by stages and thus arrives the time of lunch, where a small surprise of entertainment was awaiting us from the part of the sisters belonging to the community of the general house. 

At 3:30 p.m. the advisor, Mr. Urriago, intervenes to give some clues in order to decide which process should be followed in concretizing the stages: we must start from the objectives and see the paths that are better to continue, thus what might happen if they are intended.  After a time of discussion and clarification, each one was given a page of the objectives to dedicate some time to work in the groups on the stages of animation.  We would return to the hall at 6:00 p.m. for the plenary assembly with whatever we obtained. 

The presentation and discussion was long, thus we arrive at the time of evening prayer.  So, it is decided that after the supper will continue working in the groups to be able to advance in the task according to the set itinerary and to be able to continue ahead the chapter itinerary with good rhythm tomorrow morning.

You see, another dense and interesting day.  We are sending you already this communication, but still we need to work a while tonight. We count on your prayers!  Until tomorrow.

 

Day 8th September 2012


On the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Our sisters from Korea prepared the liturgy; it is noteworthy in variety of languages: was sung in Korean, English, Italian, and Spanish. The reading of Lauds had been in Chinese. It is a joy to feel the universality of the congregation. Fr. Joseph Baru ocd. from Uganda presides over the Eucharist. It was celebrated in English and in the homily we had simultaneous translations.
In the chapter hall, during the time of prayer, the passage on Annunciation of Mary was presented emphasizing the courage of God asking the "yes" of Mary and the courage of Mary upon responding an unconditional "yes", that includes the pleasant and the unpleasant, the unknown and the painful, and that at all times is a yes to the will of God. In the final prayer, she is invoked “Mary, Companion in this Chapter, come with us, you help us". We respond with the song: "Mother of all, teach us to say: Amen".
Today, the session was moderated by Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa. The list of the last communications that have arrived were read and -as we cannot read them all in full in the chapter hall - we select each day some of them to read full and the rest remain well classified in the folders left for the disposition of the capitulants to read them and to comment over them in their spare time and in the corridors. It gives us a lot of joy and encouragement to see that, although many chapter days have passed already, always there are communities, collaborators, members of the CMS and acquaintances who avail themselves to send some lines of support, communion and prayer. They are the gestures that arrive; and many.
We began the work and our advisor Mr. Oscar Urriago, comments on the challenges that are selected and the drafting of the last synthesis that was done by secretaries; He explains then where will continue the work of today: it is the moment to initiate the fourth step, which consists in choosing and writing the objectives.
He reminded the assembly that it is a moment of great responsibility, but that is not just up to us: it is God who has placed us here in life to open the doors. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He himself has treaded the road for us as a way back to Him. Before we dive fully into the work, we should reaffirm ourselves in full confidence that what we have in our hands will come out, because God will make his project. Our work is to be instruments and to allow ourselves to be led.
Starting from an encouraging reality now is the matter of exploring new roads. We should not pretend that with our formulations our problems are resolved; between reality and the proposals there exists a vast desert, but the intention is there and it calls us to make the journey. One must act as Moses often to make the people turn back.
The morning hours were distributed in alternating group discussions, personal reflection and communication to the entire assembly on the aspects that went on discovering. The work was dense and at times gave the sensation that it was slow, but it is perceived that the way is made to name the issues that concern us most. Thus we arrive at the time of lunch.
The afternoon session started at 3.30 p.m. in the chapter hall. After a brief introduction, continue the work in groups until mid afternoon. From there, once again to the chapter hall to present the synthesis of each one of the groups; the session of dialogue and clarifications also last long today. It is for the secretaries to synthesize everything tonight to start tomorrow’s work on that material.

Arrived at this point, we concluded the session in the evening and we headed towards the chapel for the prayer and vespers on this festive day of Virgin Mary. Tomorrow we will narrate again our adventures. Do receive on our behalf sisterly greetings for each one and for each community.

Day 7th September 2012

 

On this day, the Sisters from the Delegation of Kenya prepared the liturgical ambience; in the chapel, a phrase of the gospel orients the day: "to new wine, new wineskins". Fr. Roberto Sangermani, ocd. celebrated the Eucharist in Italian.

 

Within the chapter hall, during the prayerful space at the start of the session, we found the globe as symbol with a number of words as background: CONVERSION, JUSTICE, MYSTICAL, IDENTITY, SOLIDARITY, PROPHECY & FRATERNITY. They put us in tune with what in these days we are working out. We invoked and asked the light of the Holy Spirit so that He may direct our work, since at this moment we feel the responsibility that we have in our hands i.e. the life of the Congregation. A presentation with several phrases of Fr. Palau makes us recall his key ideas on fraternity, service, and the work of God in us. Finally we sing again: "Spirit of God come to me”

 

Today the sessions were moderated by Sr. Sandra Henríquez. In the first place, she gives space for the reading of the list of the last communications and some of the complete texts: of the community of Desierto de las Palmas; of the management team of the school of El Prat of Llobregat; of Fr. Ennio Laudazi from Discalced Carmelites in Rome; of Mons. Joseph W. Tobin, Redemptorist Bishop and Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Then, each member receives the written synthesis of the work carried out yesterday. The opportunity was given to make echoes on the same; the contributions and the dialogue help to clarify the doubts that are presented and -after a prolonged time given for proposals and modifications- we arrive at concretizing five action points.

 

We continue the study looking at the challenges. It is clarified that a challenge is an extreme situation that challenges us or which can favour the fundamental option that we have made. The extreme situation is the one that has arrived to such an extreme, which cannot be retained any more: if is not resolved it will lead us to death, but if it is resolved it will enrich our life.

 

The communities of reference dedicated some time to talk on the following step and they went on giving periodical information on the topics that they were selecting and the reason for selecting and supporting them. Little by little the points were grouped and they were leading us towards awareness. The atmosphere and the work were well prepared in order to concretize the priorities in the groups, which were done in the afternoon.

 

After lunch, the work was taken up again in an encounter that lasted one hour; at 5, 15 p.m. there was plenary assembly for the sharing of the options which were taken with regard to the challenges. There was a lot of coincidence. Upon finishing the session, the group secretaries were asked to elaborate the synthesis of the reasons supporting these challenges, so that they will serve for the task of tomorrow.

 

And as usual, we met at sunset for the evening prayer. Thus the day gets over, which has been very dense and beneficial. A fraternal greeting for all! We will continue informing you.

 

Day 6th September 2012


After the day off and rest, today we enter again into the chapter rhythm to begin the "Planning stage".  In The liturgy of today, the prayer ambience was motivated by our Sisters from Argentina.  Fr. Vicente Felipe, Franciscan celebrates the Eucharist, to whom already we listened to on last Monday during the round table conference. In the homily, he highlights some aspects of the gospel specially the miraculous fishing and -above all- the call of Peter and the apostles and the radical answer that they give:  "Leaving everything, they followed him". 

Again we met in the chapter hall at 8:45 a.m.  The prayerful moments put us in tune with the Holy Spirit, so that the word may move from the mind to the heart.  The Spirit of God is the one who makes all things new.  These ideas were reinforced listening to the hymn:  "Holy Spirit, come, if you do not come, we will avoid the road advised; but if you come and lead us as a teacher, among us we will be weaving a certain history of the New Kingdom". 

Today Sr. Luz Marina Ochoa functions as a moderator; In the first place she lets the reading of the list of the new messages that have arrived.  The texts that were fully read were of Sr. Consuelo Garcia, Teresian the sister of our three Carmelite missionary Sisters who passed away already; from our sisters in Bucharest (Romania); from the community of St. Therese, Tarqui (Huila) Colombia; from the Noviciate of Arusha (Tanzania) and from the Noviciate community of Abidjan (Ivory Coast). 

Subsequently, the new phase of planning was introduced that has an objective "to discern and to elaborate the congregational plan that will orient the life and mission of the congregation in the next six-year period 2012-2018".  Mr. Oscar Urriago, a Colombian layperson was introduced to the assembly; a much known person to our Sisters and also he knows our congregation; is a specialist in tasks of pastoral programming and already he has intervened as an advisor in other congregational events. He is incorporated to the assembly to orient in this path to program the Congregational Plan for the next six-year period. 

 Mr. Urriago explained what this phase will consist in.  We began from the knowledge of the reality of the congregation and of the illumination that we have received; besides, we have two elements: the historic realities and some challenges.  We should continue seeing the reality, because as Christians we can not neglect anything and we should be clear in what we want to commit our life.  The process that we follow will be: reality, challenges, objectives, phases and goals, goals and actions. 

This world that we live in will not be saved without a proposal of communion; there are signs that are arising spontaneously.  The advisor projects a video on the modern slavery in the work, consumerism, in everything that the society is involved; we are immersed in a system that overwhelms us and it is difficult to escape from the clutches of power, from the commercial relations that move everything and that they have created a society that, at times, only knows to obey.

Option was given to make first resonance in the hall.  In general, what we had seen did an impact and the question arises:  And we, what can and what we should do?  How to respond to this reality in which, without wanting, so many times we are involved?  We considered that it was moment of small signs, and that we have many outbreaks of life; it is a call to return to our being, to our identity, to commit ourselves for improving interpersonal relationships.  Without our knowledge, we too are involved in the system and we are responsible for the situation –not that we should blame ourselves-.  Today it has opened to us the possibility to transform the history doing little actions; our options have to go in the line of accepting life that we have at hand and seeking what transformations we can assume. 

 

In continuation, the work plan is proposed which had three moments: personal, group sharing and plenary assembly.  Being a moment of choice and in which we play in many ways, we were insisted on doing it personally "face to face with God", in prayer.  Thus we arrive at the time of lunch. 

In the afternoon, some more time was given to the groups and the session begins at 4.00 p.m.  The concrete points of the groups were projected in order to put in common and work will continue to get the options and toward where will they lead us.  In the chapter hall there had been an extensive and detailed dialogue.  Already the afternoon time was over, the secretaries of the groups were asked to gather the proposals of actions so that in the morning the work could be started from this material; thus we can go on summarizing the data and arrive at opinions of consensus. 

The following encounter was for the evening prayer.  As you see, it had been a very dense and important day within the chapter itinerary.  We feel very much accompanied by you all, but we insist nothing than your prayer so that we will be open to the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  A hug of communion; you are all with us. 

Day 4th September 2012

 In our calendar, whole day is dedicated to the CMS.  They had prepared motivation of the Lauds and of the Eucharist, which was celebrated by Fr. Ciro Garcia, ocd.  In the homily, he stressed the motto of the Chapter:  "Impelled by the Spirit to live the fraternity as a prophetic sign and commitment of communion". 

We met in the chapter hall at 8:45 a.m. Veronica Kim, Korean and representative of the Asian continent, prepared the prayer and read in Spanish; with great effort, but very well.  She asks the Lord to accompany us along the day.  Followed by this she projects an outline of the plan with the characteristics that shapes the identity of a Lay Carmelite Missionary: 

- Person who lives the ecclesiality. 

 - Person of prayer. 

 - Person who assumes the apostolic activity. 

 - Person who has Mary as protector. 

 - Person in continuous process of formation. 

 Finally we sing "Yo busco una Iglesia nueva", first in Korean and later in Spanish.

 Once again, we remember in the chapter hall those who accompany us with their prayer and remembrance, by reading the list of the communications that have arrived recently; some of the texts are read full:  CMS of Bucaramanga, CMS of Beja, CMS of Medellin, Community of Our Lady of the Virtues of Santo Domingo, and Community of aspirants in Indonesia.  Sr. Sandra Henríquez introduces officially the representatives of the CMS from the continents and they are already accompanying us during the whole phase of illumination: 

 -          Susana Sánchez Alonso, CMS of Valladolid from 1996.

 -          Veronica Kim, belongs to the CMS from 2003.

 -          Cruz Serna, CMS from 13 años.

 Susana takes up the word to explain on what she is going to present; she said that there appear some data that they could not reach a consensus, because that does not belong to everybody but of a single group.  She presents the reality of Europe. 

 Mr. Cruz presents the reality of the CMS in America.  He thanks the opportunity to be in the Chapter and transmits the wishes of all the CMS of America.  He asks some minutes of silence in memory of Morelia Suarez, the foundress of the CMS in America, who passed away some months ago in accident. 

Veronica Kim reports on Asia; after greeting the assembly, she leaves the word to Sr. Micaela An to present the report of Korea.  It continues with that of India; the enthusiasm that the laypersons show to our spirituality is emphasized.  In Philippines, the youth participate in the pastoral work of the parish and in the chorus.  Sr. Mª Dolores Ondobo thanked the CMS of Korea for their support to Africa by educating the youth and in the repair of a water tank.

Mr. Cruz presents the reality of Africa: the CMS groups began in Africa 6 years ago.  It is a joy to see how the diffusion of the charism is growing among the laity also in the African continent. 

In continuation, the statistical data of the CMS in the world is presented which are expressed in these figures:  In Asia there are 892 members, in Africa 67, in Europe 89 and in America 438; total 1,486.  On the whole, there is a sign of growth in all the continents. 

Vision of the CMS members who were present in the hall: 

In Europe it is felt that they have grown; they have moved from childhood to adolescence and are in a period of growth and of greater commitment. 

In America it is very clear that the charism is very attractive and the one who assumes it perceives that the response to the call is felt within.  In some countries, there is more strengthand vitality, more precise in what is CMS; they feel with a double responsibility, both at internal level and towards others.  The perception of their own weaknesses leads them to have a process of change.  Their hope of future is centred in obtaining a better organization and each group could be defined more as CMS and be known as such; also in guaranteeing the formative processes so that it may lead to a coherence of life.  In line with our congregation, they seek processes of change in mission scenarios with the needy; also to combine forces in the mission of the Church and to work together for mutual support and strengthening. 

Vision of Asia:  Upon being here -expressed Veronica- I feel that I belong to the family.  In Asia many cultures flow, and we should have mutual respect and to be enriched each other.  By idiosyncrasy, we are oriented toward the family but we want to respond to the needs of the Church extending our relations: leaving our own circle and to go to the world, which is wider.  Members in Asia are growing; they work in the parishes and in other activities.  Seeing the way and the mission of the congregation, Veronica expressed that she is very pleased and proud to be a member of CMS.She said that during the time of dialogue, some issues were clarified that the groups find difficult to define their own identity and the focus that results from this.  There have been groups that arrived at CMS belonged to prayer groups and it was difficult that they take a step ahead to be members of CMS.  From here the need has arisen to make a kind of lay pastoral vocation.  Up to now, the old members have helped in this process to the ones who initiate and helped them to decide freely.

Our Sr. General Cecilia Andrés expresses her gratitude to the Lord for the gift of CMS for the Congregation and for the Church.  She expresses to the assembly that, with the passage of time, a greater sense of family is perceived and that in the measure that each one live our own vocation with meaning, we will enrich all: the fidelity of each is a challenge towards the other.  Mr. Cruz Serna expresses again his gratitude for this opportunity that has been granted to them to be the representative of the CMS during this phase of the chapter and expresses that have felt very well accepted.  These encounters are very enriching, and would like that it would be also at Demarcation level in order to grow in co-responsibility. 

Once the presentations and dialogue are over, the time was distributed to continue the day:  Until lunch, there was personal work with the objective to reflect and to respond to the following questions: 

 - ¿What vision do we need to consider for the future work of CM-CMS? 

 - ¿What do we hope to achieve as fruits of this process? 

 From 3.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. there was a group sharing, and at 4.30 p.m. once again in the assembly for plenary session. 

 After the evening snacks and a little pause we returned to the chapter hall at 6.00 p.m. to evaluate the "illuminative phase", that concluded today.  It was spoken in the communities of reference to put in common the synthesis under three aspects: feelings, methodology and suggestions.  The summary is a very positive appraisal by all and a concrete gratitude for the presence and contribution of the CMS members these days.

Before leaving the hall, we took a group photo with the members of the CMS.  Tomorrow has been scheduled for as a day fraternity with a trip to Viterbo.  The recovery of energy will be a stimulus to renew and to initiate the next phase.  Until tomorrow, then! 

Day 3rd of September

 

In the start of this week, our Sisters from India prepared the liturgy and Fr. Giovanni La Manna, sj celebrated the Eucharist.

 

Our chapter session began at 8:45 a.m.  It started with a prayerful moment in which we were  invited to enter into the interior to become aware that God is with us; in this ambience, silently we contemplated a presentation on the Holy Spirit in which symbolic images were presented: to share the water, to spread the seed that germinates, to spread the light in contemplative attitude.  All these helped us to be ready for the work that expected us along the day. 

 

Just as we announced you before, a round table conference organized during the whole morning on the theme:  "In network before the new challenges of the mission".  Sister Luz Marina Ochoa moderated the session, and in the first place she introduced the members of the table: 

 

José Antonio Osaba, Lay

 

He offers his experience in an organization that defends the family agriculture. 

 

The hoarding of land for the benefit of a few puts in risk the nutrition security, which is the right of the people to obtain their own food.  Could be this another form of colonization?  The transfer of large acres of land to other countries for their cultivation & benefit has obliged the natives to abandon their fields without offering them any other alternatives. 

 

Eugenia Bonetti, Consolata Missioanary Sisters.

 

She is involved in the serious problem of trafficking of women. 

 

Once she discovered her mission i.e. caring for the people where there is need -in the world of night and of the street- she saw the urgency of rehabilitating these people.  Together with a team of collaborators, they are offering training courses in several parts of the world to work in the places of origin and in the places of transit of trafficking women, in order to prevent and also to accompany the victims.  Several congregations are involved in this project. 

 

Giovanni La Manna, Jesuit.

 

His networking is focussed on attention to migrants. 

 

The first step is to know the world to see how it functions and work by spreading the evangelical values.  The knowledge of the realities is discovered by being with the people, listening to their situation, only thus we can ear its voice.  Our worry should be the people, not the euro. 

 

 Maureen Foltz, Carmelites of Charity - Vedruna.     

 

She works in UNANIMA, a reputable NGO before the United Nations, which is responsible for promoting justice and the dignity of the people, particularly women and the children.  The members of this organization belong to seven different congregations and they work in five continents, by contributing the realities of all the countries in which they are found.  Now they are beginning a project with the water; there are countries where this vital element originates many conflicts -above all among the natives- and it has much to do with the environment. 

 

 Vicente Felipe, Franciscan.     

 

He works in Justice and peace of his congregation. 

 

The networking that is within the order forms a personal and communitarian lifestyle.  They promote these values through all their actions.  As Franciscan family, they have a NGO in the United Nations.  They deal with different issues: current forms of slavery, the water, climate change, campaigning for life... and everything is included in the defence of human rights.  In many countries there exist the networkings that operate in two directions: on the lifestyle and advocacy. 

 

 After the extensive exposure of the morning, we had a long and interesting dialogue with the speakers, arriving thus to the time of lunch.  In the afternoon, personal reflection, work shops and plenary assembly.  Tomorrow will be the CMS who make their contribution.  Have a very good day!  We will be punctual to our appointment. 


Day 2nd September 2012

Today Sunday, the day of the Lord, the liturgy and the prayerful moments were animated by the sisters of Central America and Caribe. Fr. Rafael Wilkowski, ocd.  Secretary of Fr. General presided over the Eucharist. 

The schedule in the chapter hall was as usual:  8:45 a.m The start of the day was enlivenedby the texts of Fr. Palau on fraternity which was read in different groups; we alternated itwith the hymn:  "Remain in my love".  The recalling of these words of our Fr. Founder set us in tune with the illumination that we were going to receive today.  The fraternity is the place where we exercise the commitment towards others; it does not exist for itself, but is a gift for others. 

We were made known the list of the communications that continue arriving from communities, from CMS and of other acquaintances and friends.  Those of Gerardo Villalonga -Episcopal Vicar of Menorca-, of the community of Nsuka (Nigeria) and of the Carmelite Missionaries of Thailand were read in full. 

Today’s conference was at  the charge of our Sr.  Mª José Mariño, who dealt with the theme:  "The fraternity: mystical-prophetic experience". 

From among her central ideas, the basic assertion that had sustained her exposition was that the gift of the community is in itself a prophetic and mystical experience.  The expression of Fr. Palau "love of God and love of neighbor" has a strong implication in the community life.  The mystic invites us to see God in our Sister and that itself confirms our prophecy. 

Pondering on the fraternity and the essence of our charism has led us all to renew our thanksgiving to the Lord because His love for us is constant and eternal and also He intervenes in everything that is ours. 

The presentation and the dialogue kept us occupied whole morning, until lunch.  The activities in the afternoon were once again: personal reflection until 5.00 p.m., followed by group sharing in order to present all that was carried out in these days of the "illuminative phase”  and, at 6.15 p.m. plenary assembly.  With these we would reach to the hour of evening prayer.  Tomorrow some interesting testimonies will be waiting for us in a round table conference of which we would inform you without failing.   Already you can see that the chapter continues its march in a good rhythm!

 

Day 1st September 2012

Today, the liturgical motivation was the responsibility of our sisters of the Delegation of Chile. The Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Maximiliano Herráiz, ocd. With the parable of the talents he puts us in tune with the absoluteness of God; from Him we receive everything, can be more or less, and to Him we owe everything. God grants us the possibility to use his gifts and to return to Him enriched with our contribution.

As usual, the capitulants met in the hall at 8:45 a.m. also the CMS members participated today in the assembly. We invoked the Holy Spirit with the support of the background music and beautiful images that repeated the phrase: "Come, burn our hearts to give the world your love ".

It was followed by the reading of the list of the latest communications and some full texts: Communities of London and of Taiwan, Vice province of Korea and General Superior of the Tertiary Capuchins.

Then the moderator of the day, Sr. Sandra Henríquez, presented Fr. Maximiliano Herráiz, who took the word to explain today’s theme: "Religious life: Mysticism and Prophecy".

In the first place, Fr. Maximiliano reminds us that a General Chapter is the most solemn and important juridical-spiritual moment of discernment and programming for the religious family; He told us: "Is the great responsibility of your encounter". The phrase of the Saint: "Now we start, and always we shall try to begin from good to better" thus puts us in tune with the chapter task and invites us to be cofounders of the charism in the here and now, and without leaving aside the past, to project the future in a world which is in a continuous, rapid, deep and universal movement. The changes cannot imply uprooting. If our center is God and person, it will be noticed in the context where we live by the conquering of our center. The charism has been given to us in the world and for the world; this multicultural world in which we live is the main challenge. To this world is to which we have to arrive, in this world where the Holy Spirit is present.

Just like yesterday, the dynamics in this illuminative phase was a time for questions and discussion after speaker’s presentation until the hour of lunch. In the afternoon, time was dedicated for personal reflection and elaboration of the conclusions by each sister to expose them in the groups at the end of these days of illumination.

The next encounter was at sunset convoked for the common prayer. Tomorrow we will continue reporting you of our trajectory. Happy Sunday, day of the Lord!

Day 31th August 2012

 Today our sisters from Philippines prepared the liturgical ambience of the day. The Eucharist was presided over by Fr. Antonio Pernia svd also from the Philippines.

As usual, we met in the chapter hall at 8:45 a.m. The atmosphere was set for prayer with three symbols: a candle, a crucifix and the globe; they were brought in a prayerful atmosphere and to the rhythm of dance by our Philippine Sisters. A fragment of the letter 77 of P. Palau to Juana Gracias reminded us that everything is work of God: "Your work is mine and mine and yours are the work of God".

We had a new reason to be happy, because from this morning the members of the CMS were incorporated to the Chapter who represented diverse continents: Susana Sanchez from Europe, Cruz Serna from America, Veronica Kim from Asia. Sr. Cecilia Andres gave a fraternal welcome to them in the name of all, her words were very significant: "Your presence fills us with joy, ¡happy stay among us!". They were invited to speak, Susana and Cruz were grateful for the welcome received and they expressed their desire to participate and to contribute what the CMS can tell us through its members.

Just as we announced already, we initiated already the illumination phase, which will be realized from August 31st to September 4. Our desire is that it may help us:
- to orient ourselves in the discernment of chapter decisions with a theological gaze at the reality and a deep understanding of religious life and the charism,
- to integrate the received contents so that we can act with creativity, boldness and newness in the transformation of our congregational situation
- to intensify the path of participation and communion with the CMS.

Fr. Antonio Pernia initiates then in the chapter hall his exposition on the theme: "The mission today". You can follow the whole presented text (in Spanish and in English) in the section of "intranet" of our web, inside the tab "presentations". Its sections are the following:

1. The changes in the mission today:
• The change of paradigm: From the conquest to the dialogue.
• The origin of the Mission: From Missio Ecclesiae to Missio Dei.
• The objective of the mission: From the Church to the Kingdom.
• The form of the mission: From the conquest to the dialogue.
• The change of situation: Of Missio ad Gentes to Missio inter Gentes.

2. Implications for the mission today:
• The task to promote a multicultural Church. Home of people of other cultures. Instrument
of intercultural dialogue. Sign of universality of the Kingdom of God.
• The necessary conversions in the mission today: From activism to contemplation. From individualism to collaboration. From superiority to humility. From only to evangelize to be evangelized.

As a conclusion, Fr. Pernia offers us a beautiful prayer of Mons. Oscar Romero where he asks God that He may help us to take a step backwards and to opt for a better perspective because the Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, but even beyond our vision.

After the exposure, we had a time of rest and we return to the assembly at 11:15 a.m. Time was given for dialogue in the communities of reference in order to prepare questions to the speaker and, subsequently, the open dialogue begins. After this, Sr. Cecilia Andres thanks Fr. Antonio for illuminating us –very much appreciated by all the Sisters- and with this the work of morning gets concluded.

The work in the afternoon had been centered on the personal reflection at the light of what was received and the elaboration in writing by each sister on what is worked out. The next encounter in common, was decided i.e. the moment of vespers and prayer.

As you see, today had been a dense and enriching day, an excellent way to allow ourselves to be illuminated and to open ourselves to the light of the Holy Spirit that burns in our interior. In these days of deep reflection, it is still more alive in us the need of prayer that you are expressing everyday for us. Sisterly greetings to all; until tomorrow!

Day 30th August 2012

In the chapter schedule, today appears as a day of rest. Some of us organized ourselves to go to Assisi; for which, we were leaving the house at 7.00 a.m. from the General house in a bus filled with joy. Among the pilgrims, there were also three members of CMS –who reached to our house last night to participate in some sessions of the Chapter- and Sister students and from the community of Rome who wanted to take advantage of the trip. In the graphical document you can see some of our pictures which depict our happiness throughout the lanes of Assisi and the communion and spirituality that was lived together.

Other chapter members went to visit our Sisters from other close by communities or some important places of the city; the rest remained in the house, dedicating to personal matters or simply to rest.

On this day, the celebration of the Eucharist did have a strong Peruvian resonance for being the feast of St. Rose of Lima, patron of American continent and our Province of Carmelite Missionaries that is located there. The celebrant, Fr. Benjamin Crespo sj, hailing from there, gave us some strokes to approach the figure of this saint.

In the offertory we presented five candles of different colours, through which they made present once again the universality that is lived intensely during these days of the chapter.

Tomorrow, according to the schedule of our chapter trajectory, begins the illuminative phase which would last until 4th September. You will be informed in time our journey as we were intending to do so far. We hope to regain our strength and to rest. So, until tomorrow!

Day 29th August 2012 

This day, and in the liturgical framework of the memory of St. John of the Baptist, the Province of Bogota prepares the motivation. The Eucharist is presided over by Fr. Zacharie Igirukwaye, ocd.

The chapter session begins at 8.45 a..m. in silence with a deep invocation to the Holy spirit. After this prayerful moment in sisterly communion, we continue listening to the hymn of the Holy Spirit: “Thousand thanks I give you for your immense love”. Next the list of the last communications received from four points of the horizon was read. It is beautiful to see that not only the communities, but also the CMS, priests and friends are with us and they pray for us.

Today - the second part of our Chapter the "Informative Phase" is over and began the important space i.e. the presentation of the Financial Report from the part of our General Bursar, Sr. Mª Estela Cuesta. She exposed every data with clarity, precision and mastery that characterizes her, through graphics that she went on explaining in numerical and graphical form.

In the end there was a positive appreciation regarding the work of Sr. Maria Estela Cuesta in the administration and her visits to the demarcations. All the interventions of the sisters were expressions of gratitude and communion, valuing likewise her sense of fraternity, simplicity, closeness and the deep sense belongingness to the congregation that she lives.

Later, Sr. Carmen Rosa Palacio presented the journey of FOSCARMIS in its first 10 years of life. She did it through graphics which reflected the income received and the projects that have been attended which were distributed in four groups: human promotion, health, nutrition and promotion of women. Also some proposals were made for the renewal of the statutes.

FOSCARMIS continues being a conscience toucher before the fact of the solidarity, and is a positive deed of the management. In these 10 years of life 160 projects have been approved: of human promotion 90, of health 13, of nutrition 30 and of promotion of women 27. The chapter members encourage to continue with the "Project of Solidarity Foscarmis", by suggesting it would be good that there be some sister to help in the preparation and evaluation of the projects. Also it is seen convenient to renew the statutes, since there emerge other social needs. An enriching dialogue took place in the assembly, and with it we reached to the hour of lunch.

The chapter work in the afternoon is distributed over a wide space for personal reflection, workshops and plenary assembly until mid evening. The dialogue and the synthesis of this phase of the chapter that concludes today occupy the rest of the afternoon and continue until after the supper.

Tomorrow -festivity of St. Rose of Lima, patroness of the Province of Peru- will be a quite different day, because is a free day before we start the next phase of our journey. Until day after tomorrow then! Any way, if we have any pictures of our excursion and adventures, we will try to expose them in our website; before we start, all know that a big group goes on a pilgrimage to Assisi.

Oh! Also we remind you that in the intranet the documents of the chapter are appearing; today itself we have placed at the disposition of all the report of the General Council. ¡Have a good viewing!

Day 28th August 2012 


Today, on the festivity of St. Augustine, the Province of Europe takes charge to prepare the liturgical motivation.  The Lauds were integrated in the prayer which occupies the space until the hour of the Eucharist.  Fr. José Rovira, cmf celebrates the eucharist and in the homily, he makes us reflect on the three aspects that are affecting strongly today the religious life: the loss of values, the weak fraternal life and the consumerism.  Against this, we must be attentive to the vacuum of transcendence that is so present in our society, to live strong communion and to imply ourselves in a simple and poor lifestyle.  Our problem should not be whether we are more or less who form the religious congregation, but the specific value as consecrated should contribute to the world. 

 

We initiate the session of work at 8:45 a.m.with the invocation to the Holy Spirit.  In the first place, the list of the new communications were read out that have arrived in the last hours.  Sr. Marina Ochoa moderates the session today.

 

Report of the General Council

 

Sr.  Cecilia Andrés, General Superior, presented in a clear and concise manner the vision of the government team in their service to the congregation during the six-year period.  The report is bold and clear, encouraging and full of hope.  After the words of Sr.Cecilia, the chapter members expressed their gratitude to the government team for the service rendered, their simplicity and close  presence, witness of communion and co-responsibility. 

 

Report of the General Coordinator of Formation

 

Sister Lourdes Nadal, general coordinator of formation, presented her report.  She began presenting the objectives pursued in this function of coordination and explained the activities undertaken over the years.

 

Among them, she visited all the formation houses of the congregation to have a clear vision of the whole; also she had meetings with the formators and formees in different places.  On the other hand, she made herself present in the preparation of groups for perpetual vows and encounters of formators.  At times, she has accompanied the Superior General during her visits to the houses of formation in Asia.  In her personal encounters with the formees, she has tried to convey the core values of our vocation.

 

Sister Lourdes Nadal thanks publicly the opportunity that was given to her to learn more in depth the life of our congregation upon entrusting her this service. 

 

She accepts that she has made a great effort in favour of the formation, namely unifying criteria for the different stages, reinforcing the formative teams and developing resources for the ongoing formation.

 

In her statement, she also said that the majority of our formees are well disposed to initiate the journey of self knowledge and they value especially the witness of our old sisters.  It costs them to be detached from the family and from the objects that are considered essential today. 

 

She concludes indicating that the congregation counts on a group of formators well prepared to accompany the new vocations, and they too are opening their own ways.  She intends to say that, little by little, the formators could be native ones.  On the formative teams, she said that they too carry out their function with responsibility, although at times there are cases of lack of clarity about the role of the sisters inside the same team and deficiencies in the interpersonal relations. 

 

And with this rich exchange of experiences, we reach to the time of break and with the group work we conclude the  morning.

 

The work in the afternoon begins with a song on themes of marginalization that puts us in tune with some painful realities of our society. 

 

Next, the ACTA Nº 2 is projected to see the modifications that were introduced after the first reading that was done in the assembly.  After a dialogue on some clarifications, it was submitted for voting and obtained the unanimous approval by the raising of hands. 

 

Sister Ana María Ruiz, General Secretary, presents the reality of the six-year period on the service that was entrusted to her.  It was centered on three aspects: continuity of service, data processing programs and statistical section.  Some of the data that were offered are the following: 

 

On December 31, 2011, the congregation was comprised of 1608 sisters; of these, 1466 are of perpetual vows and 142 of temporary vows.  In formation there are 79 young girls:  50 Novices and 29 Postulants. 

 

After the break, the groups met together for the plenary session at 18.00h. to present  their contributions.  There opens a time of dialogue to clarify some aspects that rotates mainly around the way to integrate computerization of the data in the communities. The work of the assembly gets over at 18:30h.; and tomorrow we will be punctual to narrate our journey.

 

Day 27th August 2012 

 

 The day begins with the morning prayer, today motivated by the Vice province of Korea.  The Eucharist was presided over by Mons. Juan Esquerda Bifet. 

After the breakfast, we began the session in the chapter hall; in a prayerful atmosphere, the presence and example of Holy Virgin Mary is echoed, that is so much rooted in the American continent:  "Mother, your name sounds faith".  Today, Sr. Sandra Henriquez takes up her role as moderator.

Some communications out of many were read out in the assembly and they continue arriving, and also the general list of all those we have received so far.  Really, the communion is experienced everyday and the prayer of all of you who are present amongst us. 

In the chapter journey we continue with the informative phase; today the American Continent makes its presentation.  We transcribe below the summary of the report that is offered to us and the echoes that were provoked in the chapter members. 

ARGENTINA

The Province consists of 56 sisters (49 of perpetual vows and 7 of temporary vows), distributed in 11 communities. 

After the exposition of life and mission of our sisters, the assembly expresses gratefulness for their courage to live, the commitment to walk with the people and the sensitivity to live the realities of poverty. 

PERU-BOLIVIA

The Province is formed by 63 sisters (59 of perpetual vows and 4 of temporary vows), distributed in 11 communities. 

The chapter assembly appreciates very positively the serious commitment of our sisters to live justice, their integration with the people, their sense of belongingness to the congregation, and the quality of formation. 

BOGOTA

The Province is composed of 138 sisters (129 Sisters of perpetual vows and 9 of temporary vows), distributed in 19 communities. 

What excels in this Province is the vocational joy, the intense work with the laity, the plurality of presences, the joy and acceptance. 

MEDELLÍN

The Province is constituted by 176 sisters (170 of perpetual vows and 6 of temporary vows), distributed in 20 communities:  18 in Colombia and 2 in Mexico. 

The chapter assembly highlights the missionary spirit of the sisters, their insertion in the front-line territoriesand their commitment for ongoing formation.

CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBE

This Vice province covers 7 countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.  Here 56 Sisters carry out their mission (48 of perpetual vows and 8 of temporary vows) in 12 communities. 

What is outstanding of this Viceprovince is its pluriculturality, its presence in challenging contexts and the hope maintained in spite of the difficulties. 

BRAZIL

This General Delegation initiates its exposition with a song to the Virgin entitled “La Aparecida”. 

The sisters have a great sense of gratitude for being able to be represented in the chapter, as they consider themselves very small in the middle of an immense country.  Our presence in Brazil comprises 5 sisters (4 of perpetual vows and 1 of temporary vows) in 2 communities. 

In this congregational portion the commitment of the sisters is remarkabledespite being few in number, their vitality, missionary spirit and communion in diversity. 

CHILE

This General Delegation is composed of 20 sisters of perpetual vows, distributed in 5 communities.  Also they present the social and geographical reality of the country through a song. 

The capacity of this Delegation to send sisters to other demarcations is appreciated highly by the members in the chapter hall in spite of being few, its dynamism and generosity and the work that they carry out with the CMS. 

CONTINENTAL REPORT

Once the demarcations of American continent presented their reports one by one, we moved to the continental report.  This Secretariat has traversed a long journey, and they continue opening paths to realize joint endeavours, mainly in the line of formation. 

This is followed by an open dialogue in the plenary session and thereby workshops in groups, with which the morning session ends.

We resume the work after lunch, and once proposals from different groups are presented in the plenary session, time was given for an open dialogue.

In the middle of the afternoon, the General Council presents the reality of the communities depending directly on them:  Australia, Japan and Rome.  As usual, time was granted to the workshops for discussion and to the open assembly, with which the day’s work is finalized.

26th August 2012


 

On this XXI Sunday of the ordinary time, we began the day with a liturgical reflection prepared by the Province of Medellin.  The Eucharist was presided over by P. Nicolas Garcia, ocd. 

 

In the chapter hall, the day begins with a reflection on the readings of this Sunday: “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD for the service of other gods”. “¿Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life!".

 

Today the Asian continent presents its reality: 

 

The Province of India carries out its mission in 9 states in that vast country.  There are 130 sisters who constitute the Province (104 of perpetual vows and 26 of temporary vows) distributed in 22 communities, in which they attend to the urgent needs of the population.  At this moment, in the country there is an outbreak of religious persecution that obliges them to be extremely prudent in action. 

 

The Province of Philippines comprises of the following countries: Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand.  There are 222 sisters who form this Province (180 of perpetual vows and 42 of temporary vows).  They carry out their mission in 29 communities. 

 

The Vice province of Korea is formed by 47 sisters (39 of perpetual vows and 8 of temporary vows).  They are distributed in 10 communities. 

 

In the whole of Asia, the number of young sisters is highlighted and the support that is offered to other Provinces by sending some sisters. 

 

After working out in groups to identify the situations that should be given response on priority basis in this continent, the members return to the chapter hall for open sharing.  

 

In the afternoon, Europe makes its presentation focusing on two aspects: the process carried out to unify the previous provinces that formed the continent and the reality of the present Province in the course of its first years of journey. 

 

The spontaneous appreciations of the assembly –in the light of the above- had been an explosion of gratitude for all that is received from it and continue receiving through concrete gestures of fraternity. In the Congregation, it is still felt the warmth of the origin and the birthplace of charism.

 

We continued working in the afternoon with the sharing in groups and thereby open sharing in the plenary assembly; and from there to the chapel for the evening prayer. Tomorrow we will keep you informed of our journey.

 

Day 25th August 2012


Today continues the stage of integration and organization. The morning is dedicated to the election of the Sisters who are going to form the different groups:

- Scrutineers: Zofia Wojnarowska & Gemma Martin.
- Moderators: Luz Marina Ochoa & Sandra Henriquez.
- Coordinating Commission: Mª Angeles Lizarrraga, Santana Rosario, Luz Stella Pareja & Natividad Fernandez.
- Secretariat: Sr. Soledad Franco assumes the service as Secretary together with a team formed by Srs. Ana Mª Díaz, Mª Carmen López & Sylveria Madtha.
Srs. Teresa Fernandez & Paloma Marchesi as translators.
- Financial Commission: Is formed by Srs. Luz Elena Calle, Lidia Gregori & Teresa Lee.
- Working groups & secretaries: After gathering the inputs from the communities where chapter members are distributed, the Coordinating Commission proposes the secretaries for the working groups and is formed and the same headers assume the service of secretary:

1 Rosa Barrueto, Lidia Gregori, Micaela An, Santana Rosario, Luz Marina Ochoa, Gloria Leonor Anaya & Gemma Martín.

2. Raquel Diaz, Lourdes Nadal, Mª del Carmen Donda, Ana Mª Ruiz, Elizabeth Lakra, Mª Angeles Lizarraga, Esperanza Izco & Rosalba Sanchez.

3. Marta Cecilia Palacio, Mª Estela Cuesta, Mª Jesus Zabalza, Loida Tortogo, Vilma D’Silva, Luz Estella Pareja & Lidia Merlo.

4. María D’Souza, Carmen Rosa Palacio, Paula Morón, Clara Iriarte, Marta Peiro, Natividad Fernandez & Elsie Ybera.

5. Mª Dolores Ondobo, Rebecca Polinar, Mª Camen Ibañez, Luz Elena Calle, Sandra Henríquez, Teresa Lee & Cecilia Andrés.

6. Mª Pilar Miguel, Mª Fely Covacha, Nelly Rodriguez, Corazón Lobo, Ana Adelfa Montoya, Ana Mª Rejas & Zofia Wojnarowska.


In the afternoon begins the informative stage.

The two Delegations of the African continent present their reality separately, and together as Continental Secretariat. The assembly manifests expressions of gratitude to the Lord for the expansion of this continent, which is considered a gift for the Congregation.

The French Delegation in Africa is formed by 46 sisters (11 of temporary vows) and 10 communities. The English Delegation in Africa is formed by 64 sisters (24 of temporary vows) and 11 communities. In the entire African continent, our presence covers 8 countries with 21 communities.


We end the evening with an open assembly that prompts an extensive dialogue on the reality of the Congregation in the African continent.

24th August 2012:


First Chapter assembly


At 8:45 a.m. we expectant Chapter members entered the chapter hall. A climate of deep prayer was created. The melody of the Philippine flute announced the solemn entry of the lighted candle i.e. Easter symbol, and moments later, each one of the communities in which we are constituted lit its own candle.
The hymn to the Holy Spirit, the reading of the book from the Acts of the Apostles i.e. the passage of Pentecost, created the prayerful atmosphere and that followed the reading of the name of each one of the chapter members by continents: we are living intensely the universality and interculturality of our Congregation, and we feel strongly that among us all of you Sisters are present.

Some moments later, Sr. Cecilia Andrés, our General, enthroned with all solemnity the relic of our founder P. Palau in the chapter hall. His presence will accompany us during these days. With emotion, we listened to the letter 7: "I desire that all of you be with a single heart animated by the one and the same spirit".

After concluding the prayer that followed a brief rest, we met again in the chapter hall to listen to the greeting and welcome message of our Sr. Cecilia Andres addressed to us. They had been simple and deep words that left in us a vibe of deep fraternity and encouraged us to be more evangelical and charismatic.

At the end of the morning, until the time of the Eucharist, we set a space for mutual knowing inside the communities. The names are: To live, fraternity, Impelled, Spirit, prophecy and communion.

Inaugural Eucharist of XX General Chapter

Today, August 24th, 2012, feast of St. Bartholomew and celebration of the 450th anniversary of the foundation of St. Joseph of Ávila -that initiated the reform of St. Theresa- is the day fixed for the official inauguration of our XX General Chapter.


The Eucharistic celebration was convened not only to the chapter members, but also to the sisters of several communities of Rome. Well, it can be said that it had been an explosion of universality and gratitude to the Lord for the legacy that we have received, for the present that we embrace and for the future that we want to build.


The little plant of the Missionary Carmel that Francisco Palau left to us is seen now enriched with new soil arrived from five continents; this fact we wished to express with a simple and symbolic act at the beginning of the Eucharist, which placed us in tune with what is expected of us to live here during these chapter days.

The solemn entrance of the Word of God was carried out with African song and rhythm. In the offertory, Europe -where the charism sank its roots- presented the plant enriched with the new soil. America presented bread and wine, as first fruit of the missionary expansion. Our Indian sisters did the Arti, a symbolical act of praise after the doxology. In the end, each continent raised a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, because really we can say that "He has been great with us" and we have abundant reasons to be filled with joy.

The chapel was adorned for the feast, with everything that the ornamentation can add without renouncing the simplicity. In the lateral side of the altar there stood two big flags, the Vatican and the Carmelite, as a background for the other small ones that represented all the countries where the Carmelite Missionaries carry out our evangelical mission.

In the photographs of the day you can follow the details of the celebration.

Afternoon: Chapter activities

After the fraternal meal and a deserved rest, we took up again the work.

In the hall, each sister received her folder with the first documents, which will lead us to concentrate our attention during these first days. Sister Carmen Rosa Palacio explained to us in detail the contents of the folder, and later we dedicated some time -personal and common- to the Chapter rules, which will be the guidelines for a good functioning.

And in the evening, we gathered in the chapel to thank the Lord for all that we lived and be united in his praise.

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