Sr. Mary Chimalizeni and Sr. Julienne Rasoazananoro DW
The Provincial Leaders of the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom, from more than 20 countries, met in in Fusagasugá, Colombia for the Council of Congregation. After one week of fruitful conversations on different topics, the group took a day off on Sunday 2nd April, 2017. Our visit to Bogota was an experience of deepening our understanding of interculturality.
At the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) we saw pieces of metal works used as part of political and religious organizations according to the different tribes and regions. These pieces expressed the deep culture of pre-Hispanic societies who lived in the territory now known as Colombia and their relationship with creation and the gods. We appreciated the richness of Colombian culture and how it is rooted in past experiences and expressed creatively even in the arts and crafts of today.
We also visited the missions of the Daughters of Wisdom like Our Lady of Wisdom Institute, Nazareth Home, Maria Luisa Infirmary, the Guest House, and Our Lady of Wisdom College. What stuck us from these visits was the warm welcome by our Sisters in these communities and their places of mission. Their hospitality was remarkable. We were touched by their good works in the service of young people with disabilities such as the hearing Impaired. In spite of their handicap, these students welcomed us with varied dances from different tribes.
In addition we interacted with the Sisters who were at the infirmary and those who need special care. Our visit brought joy to everyone and we were happy to spend some time with them. All these experiences helped us to see the realities of the Province of Colombia.
We are grateful to the Province of Colombia for organizing this trip and sharing with us the gift of its beautiful colors and the richness of their country.
DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM-COUNCIL OF CONGREGATION
Provincial Leaders of the Daughters of Wisdom, representing some 20 countries around the world gathered for a Council of Congregation 2017 in Fusagasugá, Colombia. The gathering began with a few days of celebrating and deepening our experience of interculturality.
After the presentation of the culture of Colombia by the Provincial Council, our guest speaker Maureen Gilbert led us through a process of getting in touch with our own cultures so as to be open to other cultures. Mrs. Gilbert described the inclusion of diversity as Wisdom at work. It is often easier for us to think of the things that we have in common, for example our spirituality and mission. However, as she pointed out, if we do not acknowledge our differences the tendency is to push them “under the carpet.” She descriptively said, “Soon the carpet will look like the Andes!”
Though culture is dynamic, our values are developed young in life between the ages of 10 and twelve. Maureen provided us with the opportunity to reflect back on our lives at that time in order to get in touch with our values and how they influence us today.
Maureen used a combination of exercises with theory to deepen our understanding of culture. One of the theories we explored was culture as an iceberg. This theory reveals that much of what we are aware of in terms of behavior is above the surface (external conscious culture). However, below the surface is where the largest part of the iceberg exists. What is below the surface is internal subconscious culture. The internal subconscious culture contains our beliefs, values, traditions, thought patterns and perceptions.
We are on a journey as a Congregation. We can be assured that Wisdom dwells in the experience of each our cultures. Being open to others will only expand our experience of Wisdom that will make our mission relevant in all aspects of life and mission.
Council of Congregation - Daughters of Wisdom
Wisdom is at the crossroads of the nations! She beckons us… This time, She was waiting for us at Fusagasugá, at the “De La Salle Casa de Encuentros” in the vibrant and dancing heart of Colombia. Like all Councils of Congregation, this gathering began with a welcoming celebration full of color, music and beauty. That was March 27, the first day of this assembly which is due to end April 7, 2017.
Three moments were scheduled for this first day :
Sr. Louise Madore, Congregational Leader, first welcomed the Entity Leaders, Bríd Long, ssl our facilitator, Maureen Gilbert, the 2-day speaker. She then greeted our special guests for the day: Sr. Aurora de Maria, dw, Fr. Pablo Garcia, smm, our chaplain, Br. Henry Vicente, fec (Local Leader), Mrs. Jasmine (Administrator), and Sr. Maria-Cristina, dw (Provincial Treasurer). It is with joy that we welcome them among us!
After an opening song, Sr. Herminda Gonzales, Provincial Leader, greeted us and explained the meaning of the ritual: the symbolic planting of a coffee bean tree. In Colombia, a collective effort to bring about something together is called "minga": a way of working together. In this way, this planting represents most eloquently what we want for the Congregation, the Church, and our society during this Council of the Congregation.
With dancing steps and music, the Sisters participated in sowing, planting, and adorning the trunk. Little by little, a coffee bean tree stood in all its glory in the middle of the assembly! As we gazed in prayer, we listened to the Word of God: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Is 55:10-11). "The Congregation was born in the same way, a way which brings forth life", Sr. Maribel said. We were then invited to write our dream for the Congregation and to place it on the soil, at the foot of the tree. These dreams and hopes will be presented at the offertory of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist was presided by Fr. Pablo, smm and was animated by a group of young girls in traditional dress. Melodies and texts imbued with the Montfortian Spirituality rejoiced and inspired us! The missioning hymn was a moving prayer expressing our Consecration to Jesus through Mary. We warmly applauded the group that came expressly from Bogotá for us.
Presentation of the religious province of Colombia by the Provincial Council
In the afternoon, Sr. Herminda expressed her joy of having us in her country. She used the image of the coffee bean tree to explain the unique and privileged role of women as bearers of life and of the future. Like Mary going towards her cousin Elizabeth and Marie-Louise on the roads of France, we respond to the call of Christ Wisdom for the life of the Congregation and of the world.
To know the country’s context will help us to better grasp its culture and the role of the Congregation in Colombia. For this reason, each member of the Provincial Council briefly presented one aspect of the nation:
The presentation ended with a dance in which the Colombian Council gave us a poncho-like cape called "ruana". The assembly was invited to join in the dance. Then, each Sister expressed her feelings and reactions to the day’s experience. Truly, Wisdom penetrates and permeates this land, this people, and their sacred story! What a significant page of the Gospel we have lived!
Sr. Julienne Rasoazananoro, DW, Papua New Guinea
The Council of Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom was held in France in the fall 2015. The Entity Leaders from across the world met to discuss important issues, mostly the gradual reconfiguration of the Congregation. In fact, reconfiguring the Congregation is needed to adapt to its changing global reality. For this important undertaking, the first steps were taken with three Asian/Melanesian Entities.
The leaders from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Philippines had a meeting with the General Council in the Philippines, February 22 to 25, 2016. The goal was to journey together towards reconfiguring our ways of living out the mission of the Daughters of Wisdom in the three Entities by developing means of collaboration between us.
The participants were the Members of the General Council with Sr. Liane Rainville, Leader of the Delegation of the Philippines, Sr. Julienne Rasoazananoro Leader of the Delegation of PNG, Sr. Moly Chacko Ezhuvanthanthu Leader of the Indonesia Sector.
This meeting was part of the implementation of the decision taken at the Council of Congregation in November 2015. This gathering gave us the opportunity to share our feelings, expectations, strengths, fragilities and missions towards the process of reconfiguration. The word reconfiguration was clarified as a way of collaboration but not as a structure.
The General Council facilitated the process. It led us to consider some possible areas of collaborations and include concrete planning for the future. We learnt a lot from the sharing of each Entity and we felt supported and connected with each other!
We thank the General Council for giving us this privilege of coming together as one family of Daughters of Wisdom in Asia / Melanesia! We also thank the Delegation of the Philippines for hosting this meeting with love and a welcoming heart!
*We affirm that by this encounter with the other, we are ready to let ourselves be challenged to the point of reconfiguring our ways of being and working together, realizing that we are always evolving on our journey.