The second national CMS convention was held in the community of Mary Mother of God, Dediapada, India, on 18-19 November 2023. The theme of the convention was: Walking together towards communion. This historic CMS gathering of 14 missionary presences, with 106 members was a gift from the Lord, who through the intercession of Father Francisco Palau has made it grow in number and quality from the year 2019 to 2023.

The CMS members together with their advisors, the provincial team and the socio-pastoral team, entered the convention hall for the opening session holding hands in a symbolic way to confirm our journey together towards communion. Music created a prayerful atmosphere to feel the movement of the Spirit and the unity of hearts.

After a brief introduction of the importance of this noble gathering, prayer was conducted in both English and Gujarati languages. We invoked the Holy Spirit through a hymn and the reading of St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, which inspired us on the unity of the Body of Christ. Then we read Letter 7 of the Founder, a message of unity of the community. This prayerful rite ended when the CMS coordinators and the members of the organising team lit the lamp.

The nursing students of the Dediapada community performed a welcome dance with elegance and grace that captured the hearts and minds of all. Sr. Philomena Menezes delivered the words of welcome and appreciated the presence of CMS in the Palautina Network and the importance of growing more and more in the spirit of family belonging.

Fr. Jignesh Parmar took us to the origin of Carmel, the spirit of Elijah and other spiritual giants of Carmel and highlighted three points to internalise:

1. Attitude of listening like Mary, Mother.

2. Resolute determination

3. Sense of self-giving like Mary the Mother who gave Jesus to humanity.

We are called to give Jesus to others. Enriched and enlightened by this sharing, the inauguration is a living memory for all of us.

Rev. Seby Mascarenhas, Bishop of the diocese of Baroda, encouraged those present to work together with the sisters as a sign of synodality. The meeting created in us the spirit to walk together with greater fervour towards communion, an urgent need of the moment. God in his great Providence opened the door for us CMS to continue to renew ourselves in our commitment and vitality in sharing the Charism and proclaiming Jesus by our being and doing.

Sincere gratitude from the CMS of India

Personal experience of the CMS National Meeting

Being able to inspire others is an important personality trait for any saint and Blessed Francisco Palau invites me to lead a fuller life in which I feel alive, renewed and uplifted. And I know that this feeling remains forever because this event touched me deeply, and I am grateful.

It was an inner spiritual and life-oriented journey. I was attracted by the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between various cultures, human and religious maturity. It allowed me, as a lay faithful, to identify myself with the Carmelite Order and to develop a deep sense of belonging. I appreciate the Carmelite Missionary Sisters' witness of sacrificial life in visiting different communities in South Gujarat, their commitment to the signs of the times, their hospitality and the vast missionary challenges opened my eyes to promote vocations to religious life.

This meeting commits us as CMS to work for justice and peace in solidarity with all people, especially those who seek community and strive to meet the demands of Carmelite love.

Mrs. Marlene Smith, CMS India

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