Rome, Tuesday June 28, 2016
The Holy Mass this morning was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Gonzalo Ruiz, Vicar General of the IVE, who also preached the homily, and concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Alberto Barattero, Spiritual Father of the SSVM.
During the morning sessions, the following reports were presented: M. María delle Grazie Gallardo, Delegation of Central Asia “Nuestra Señora de Luján” (Tajikistan and Kazakhstan); M. María de la Salut Borrell, Province “Nuestra Señora del Pilar” (Spain and France); M. María de la Caridad Asensio, Province “María, Puerta de la Aurora” (Holland, Iceland, Lithuania, Ireland and Luxembourg); M. María de Harissa Achem – Delegation “Nuestra Señora de los Buenos Aires (Argentina and Paraguay).
Mary Mother of Mercy McDunnough also presented the report of the mission “Sagrado Corazón de Jesús” in Tanzania and M. Maria Ancilla Humilis Carreira de Barros, la mission “María Reina del Paraíso” in Papua New Guinea.
In the first afternoon session, M. María de Anima Christi van Eijk presented the report for the six years of the General Government, which concluded the segment of the Chapter dedicated to the presentation of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
In her report, M. Anima reviewed and evaluated the various areas that shape the life of the Institute, as well as those that will be addressed in the other Chapter sessions: «over the past six years of general government, we have been able to work with enthusiasm and ardent dedication in order to strengthen our Institute from various points of view, both in the interior work of the sanctification of its members, as well as in the quality of the work we undertake to advance our missions […] God has always sustained us, and looking back, we can humbly affirm that God has given us the grace to have been able to grow a little more. I am particularly referring to the personal growth of our missionaries, thanks to the faithfulness of their consecration, to the experience that they have acquired in their apostolic works, to their hold on foreign languages, to the growth of the communities».
In relation to the government of the Institute, M. Anima thanked the General Council members for their great availability and generous dedication, who worked full-time for six years, assisting the sisters both from the general house in Rome, and also visiting them in the missions themselves. She likewise thanked the Provincial Mothers and Superiors of the delegations and the missions, since often the sisters have been able to find in their persons the necessary support to face difficult situations.
Regarding the contemplative life, «by the grace of God, a larger number of sisters have been able to enter the monastic life. We have been able to found three new monasteries: in Spain, Luxembourg, and Genova […] In May of 2015, we were able to carry out the first meeting of the Monastic Branch, which was quite fruitful. At the time of the meeting, we had a total of 91 contemplative sisters distributed in the 11 monasteries of the Institute».
With regard to vocations: the great number of requests for new foundations has led us to recognize our lack of vocations. Despite the fact that God has blessed us with new vocations for all these years, «we must not stop asking the Lord of the harvest to send laborers for his harvest».
«We experience the importance of always seeking to live an authentic spirit of family with the Fathers of the IVE, and our gratitude towards them is very profound for their help in our spiritual life, by means of counsel and pastoral care».
M. Anima also focused on the pastoral work with the Third Order, which has produced many fruits for the sanctification of souls.
As for the Eastern Branch of our Institute: «our Religious Family has been singularly blessed with vocations to Ukraine and Egypt, by the grace of which, we have been able to undertake many new missions to help our brethren in the East». M Anima addressed a particular note of gratitude to the sisters who have maintained the missions in Gaza and Syria during these times of war. They have been highly tested, and thanks to their generosity, and to that of their family, we have been able to sustain the missions in those places».
M. Anima concluded her report with the following counsel: «we must, each one of us, be conscious of our own particular mission, of its contribution to the mission of the entire Institute that it represents. As we continue to grow and as the activities on a local level continue to increase, making us to feel the weight of such demands, we must never lose sight of the whole vision of the Institute and of the missionary work that is being carried out around the world. The sacrifices that are being made to sustain the missions are many, and I would like to express my particular gratitude toward each religious sister that daily spends herself with love for the service of God and of her neighbor. May we never lose this missionary spirit, this drive that has characterized the first years of the life of the Institute and has brought forth so many blessings from God.
All of you have made this flourishing of the Institute possible, whether in the silence of the monastic cell, or exposed to the dangers of the places of war and of the persecution of Christians, or in the houses of formation, or while giving food to a poor person, or becoming a mother to an orphan, teaching in a school, offering sacrifices from a hospital bed, traveling hours to meet a few Catholics in some unforgotten corner of the world. Everyone together, by being docile to the Holy Spirit, by taking the Blessed Mother as our model and guide (cf. Const. 19), have made possible, day after day, this miracle of God, that leaves the imprint of the presence of the Incarnate Word in history. Totus tuus, Maria!
In the second afternoon session, the series of expositions of the issues related to the work that has been done over the years in the Houses of Formation. M. María Ana de los Ángeles Cárdenas began, (Superiora de la Provincia “Nuestra Señora de Chapi” - Perú), presenting a general evaluation of the work of formation in the Aspirancy. M. María de Jesús Doliente Sardá followed with her presentation on the Postulancy and the Novitiate.
It was likewise confirmed in one of today's Chapter sessions that the election of the General Superior will take place on Monday, July 4th, in the morning. H.E.R. Mons. Vincenzo Apicella, Bishop of the Diocese of Velletri-Segni, principal seat of the Institute, will preside over the election.
When the afternoon sessions had come to a close, we had Eucharistic Adoration and Vespers. Mother María de la Providencia Núñez gave the Good Nights, in which she recounted the history of Christ and the Virgin of the Quebrada.
Afterward, we had a festive dinner prepared by the Province of “Nostra Signora di Loreto” (Italy-Albania), which regaled the mothers with typical Italian plates, and presented photos and videos of the apostolates, accompanied with traditional songs.
María de Bethlehem Pinciroli