Study assembly: Africa

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Study assembly: Africa

Category : General Chapter

Joyful moments  experienced during the Delegation Study Assembly

The Chapter assembly that started from 16th to 21st May was a wonderful experience that was preceded by a most enriching week of Spiritual exercise. The Retreat facilitator, a Carmelite Father, tried his best to unearth and highlight the Cottolengo Pillars as enlisted in our Rule of Life and quoted here below under the major theme Called and Sent;

  1. Trust in divine providence
  2. The love of Christ compels us
  3. Detachment from the whole of creation
  4. Deep communion with God
  5. Amazement of Gratitude ( Deo gratias)
  6. Contemplation of the Mystery of the Cross
  7. Certainty in then Blessed hope of Paradise  

With this enrichment, Fr. Remigious focused on reminding us of our root and the rationale of our being daughters of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, who is renown as the Saint of Charity. The retreat laid a strong foundation for the Assembly activities thus we all worked with zeal and enthusiasm towards its apex.

We thank our Provident Father planning beforehand that we should go out of the Walls as the Chapter topic points out. Thus, apart from a prior week of prayer, those elected for the Assembly work comprised sisters from different nationalities; sisters from Italy, Tanzania, Congo and Kenya. This was so enriching because each brought different experiences which added great value to our study Assembly.

The joy that radiated on our faces on meeting each other, some after a year or more than a year of not meeting due to the Corona-virus pandemic, demonstrated how much we missed each other and were yearning for a moment of togetherness. Some with tears of joy exclaimed loudly      “oh Lord, how wonderful it is to meet again and share the marvelous works the Lord has done in our lives even by protecting us from the pandemic!”  The praises to God in the form of heart felt Deo gratias filled the air and everyone felt at home with each other showing a transparent readiness to pray and work together for the good of our Congregation and the Church at large. We thank our Provident Father even for the budding technology and the simple gargets that are at our disposal which enabled us to be in touch with our Sisters in Tanzania who could not join us physically as they remained home to keep our heroine missionary (Sr. Giovanna Botollin) company. Hence, we got connected on Zoom platform which enabled us to see each other and to work hand in hand until the last moment of the Assembly.

The Delegation Commission divided the study Assembly into four groups that would tackle the theme, the subtheme and the objectives of the Chapter. Each member participated passionately to the group work and those chosen to be group leaders worked hand in hand with the group secretaries which accelerated the presentations. This facilitated the discussions, the sharing of the enriching ideas and later the composition of the Assembly proposals.

As each member worked tirelessly to evaluate the Assembly proposals, all expressed gratitude to our Provident Father for the 50 years of the presence of the Cottolengo Sisters in Africa. Moreover, the Assembly found out that as a sign of appreciation a proposal for Delegation Africa to be raised to the level of a Province would enhance our promptness in witnessing to our growth in Cottolengo Charism and Spirituality.

Furthermore, the Assembly recognized the sacrifices of life that our precursors have offered to the Lord, starting with the Servant of God Sr. Maria Carola and our contemporary Sisters which has paved the way for us and spread the seed.  We recalled our Sister as Sr. Oliva, Sr. Consolata, Sr. Antonietta VC, Sr. Maria Mura VC, and the lastly Sr. Eugenia and considered their witness. We also appreciated all our charitable services because we realized that they are a concrete way to be always mothers and sisters  developing our famine genius and enabling us to be outside the walls for new way of evangelization.

In conclusion, since the Holy Spirit had prepared our hearts beforehand thank also to the meditations of Mather Elda, we not only worked on the subtheme of ‘ life in motion but applied the feminine genius in all our activities focusing on the Love of Christ that transforms us as we work in collaboration in order to break the walls within and without. Additionally, the subtheme ‘generating new ways of Cottolengo consecrated life with the Risen Christ in order to be mothers and sisters of the poor in the Church of today was so enriching still pointing out that our life is a journey geared at attaining the joys of Paradise. Therefore, the theme and the subtheme are all intertwined and they focus on renewing our love and gratitude to our Provident Father and enhancing our vigor in the service of the Lord in the Little House of Divine Providence and in the Church at large. Additionally, they paved a way for the Assembly proposals of which we need to work at as a Community and as Chapter.  Deo gratias!

Frase del Santo

Fate la carità, ma fatela con entusiasmo!