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Thursday, 06 October 2022 09:53

ASC Spirituality Meeting

“God’s grace encounters us where we are,“God’s grace encounters us where we are,but never leaves us where it found us.”
Anne Lamatt

I begin my sharing and my experience during the days of the holistic formation Seminar in Nemi from July 9 to 12 with this sentence that has marked my life in these days.I begin my sharing and my experience during the days of the holistic formation Seminar in Nemi from July 9 to 12 with this sentence that has marked my life in these days.The proposed theme, “Leaven in the Dough.” (Mt. 13:33) was introduced to us by Biblical scholar Rosanna Virgili.  She invited us to look at and contemplate the leaven and the dough from the point of view of the time the dough needs to rise.  In order to be transformed, the dough must rest and remain in the dark.  These two factors: resting and remaining in the dark made me reflect on the need we have as people to take time to rest in God’s presence, to recharge ourselves spiritually.  This is what we have been doing in these Seminar days.Having a moment of darkness is necessary.  The dough goes through this dynamic of “solitude.”  In life, on a journey, we go through this darkness in order to enable the gifts of God we have been given to ferment in our lives.  Going down deep within ourselves makes us grow, makes us be the new bread, the new Christ for our brothers and sisters.  “Leavened dough is a surrender of love.”  Do I have the courage to lose myself in this dough? To become a new leaven?  For me, her questions were like a stirring and tilling of the soil, which is our heart, to welcome the new seed .... a new sowing. With warm hearts, and the help of Don Ezio Risatti, Salesian priest, (Edi.S.I.) we were led to work on our feelings. he introduced us to delving into, becoming aware of our feelings, our wounds, working on our interpersonal relationships in community.  He pointed out the importance of: discovering our gifts, recognizing the gifts God has given us in a unique reality and working on fear, anxiety and emotions:  Being aware of our emotions is a daily challenge: What do I feel when I handle my emotions? Why do I feel fear, anger ....? The soil continues to be tilled and into this soil are added the elements of community, challenge and gift.Being in community means encountering the other, weaving relationships.  The other and I are an encounter to be discovered.  The encounter is always new and makes us feel we are always learning.  In the image used by Dr. Lidia Curcio, St. Thomas is putting his finger in Jesus’ wounds, which speaks to us of an encounter, letting his wounds be touched.  What are my wounds? Do I have the courage to let my wounds be touched?  It is important to work on our own wounds and also to understand those of the other.  It is the dynamic of embracing, listening and reconciliation.  In this way, each encounter will generate new life in our communities.It is important to find the leaven that makes our lives grow and helps us understand God’s will.  And let us always ask ourselves: what is my mission and vocation?  Father Prem, a Jesuit, helped us in this theme of discernment in order to listen to God’s will in our lives.  Discernment is a gift; it is God’s plan for us.  The person listens, looks carefully and enters into the dynamic with God through prayer.  The skill of discerning is to welcome God’s word, to be able to listen to the signs of the times.  How can we listen to these signs from our spirituality of the blood?
This and other questions led us to meditate further on personal and communal discernment and its dimensions: physical, intellectual and spiritual.  It made us reflect on the difficult, “dark,” painful moments of our journey.  Again I remind people who have to go through this dark time, that for us it is to find God’s will.  It is to place ourselves in his presence and say, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will!”This and other questions led us to meditate further on personal and communal discernment and its dimensions: physical, intellectual and spiritual.  It made us reflect on the difficult, “dark,” painful moments of our journey.  Again I remind people who have to go through this dark time, that for us it is to find God’s will.  It is to place ourselves in his presence and say, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will!”Here I am is the answer we gave in the rite of consecration in the ASC Congregation. With the help of Sister Maria Hughes, ASC, reflection on the vows led us to look at our personal ASC history, how we are living the distinctiveness of the vows since our life is charism and mission. We grow according to our charism.  Each person, each face, has a call and each call comes from God.  The response to the call transforms us.  As a multicultural congregation, we are challenged to work with and embrace the wonders of our personal and cultural diversity as God’s gift to us.The diversity revealed in the faces of each sister during these seminar days confirms the dream of God manifested in St. Maria De Mattias who, through her yes, opened the way for us to live the beautiful experience of the Spirituality of the Blood of Christ -- Blood that unites us in one body, one soul, one heart.  This led me to reflect: how has each of us been drawn to this charism?  Am I making this precious Blood of Jesus known and loved? Visiting the sacred places of our congregation sparked several other questions and reflections in me.  Being in Vallecorsa and Acuto for the first time is a unique experience.  It is not just a visit, but a reflection, a contemplation of the manifestation of God in the person of Maria De Mattias and one which has spread to various cultures.  The hymn to the Blood of Christ that we sing or pray helps us remember the great wonder of God manifesting Himself in all races, languages and nations.  Remembering Sister Maria’s phrase “when we consecrate ourselves on the day of our vows, we consecrate ourselves for the future.  We consecrate ourselves for those who will come after us.”  I believe that was the case for Maria De Mattias; her consecration to God consecrated us as well.   I think we all leave this meeting with the feeling that we are on our way with a heart full of desire to broaden our horizons, to encounter the other’s culture better, to learn the language so that we can communicate better.  If we want to grow in unity and experience diversity, we must know how to love and respect each culture.  It is this diversity that makes it good to be an ASC.I conclude my sharing by thanking God for these days spent together with my sisters, sharing life, mission and every moment.  I thank CIS and the General Council in the person of Sr. Nadia Coppa for offering us this time of kairos.  God’s grace encountered us there, in the reality of each, but did not leave us in the same place.  Our hearts are inflamed with hope and renewed in His love.


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Sr Francisca de Carbalho, ASC

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