Moving beyond ourselves

The visit of the Provincial of Africa to the Daughters of Jesus on mission in Ivory Coast provided an occasion for a rich sharing on the encyclical Fratelli Tutti and its call to be open to others. How does Pope Francis’ message challenge the Sisters in the reality of their religious life ?

 

From 6 to 18 April 2021 we had the visit of our Provincial, Sister Crescence Beyala. She was accompanied by Sister Hélène Atangana, the Province bursar. The two communities of Brobo and Daoukro met in Daoukro for a time of sharing.

Praying with the texts of our Rule of Life, proved to be a very good way to begin the visit. Sr Ellen Martin, Superior General of the Congregation, expressed this well in her introduction to the new Rule of 1983:

“This defines our identity as Daughters of Jesus among the People of God, reiterates the basic elements of our religious life and recalls the essentials parts of our obligations… it is both a bond of unity within our Congregation and a mark of our shared vocation.”

The call of Fratelli Tutti

 

We were then offered a time of reflection on the third chapter of Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti“.

 

In this chapter the Pope speaks of the creation of a social bond characterised by collaboration, unity and mutual difference. This concurrence allows us to be connected to others while remaining ourselves, an important factor for us in the reality of our religious life.

Several aspects came out of this very rich sharing:

– True fraternity allows us to remain ourselves while living alongside others.

– We are called to come out of our comfort zone in community and to accept and trust the other.

– It is in not worrying too much about ourselves, that we allow the other to be free.

– We are currently losing the value of lived-out hospitality.

– The other has become a stranger, and a frightening one at that.

– We find the latter phenomenon even in our biological and religious family.

– The encounter with “the other” who is different from me is a richness that helps to value the other.

 

Openness to others

 

In addition to these rich reflections, we highlighted some essential concrete points:

– Openness can be a value to be cultivated in our communities and societies to value the other.

– It is a call to be part of the rehabilitation of our wounded society, starting with ourselves.

– We need to strengthen our bonds of solidarity and support each other for more life.

 

The Will of God

Sisters Crescence and Hélène also visited the different engagements of the Daughters of Jesus in the Ivory Coast, studied the finances, and met personally with the Sisters, as well as with some of the lay people who collaborate with the Sisters.

Following this visit, we wish to encourage each other by trying to follow the advice given by Mother Marie de of Saint Charles :

“Rest in the holy will of God, it is only there that you will find shelter from the storms and tempests of this poor life that passes like a dream.

Courage and trust. “

Mother Marie de Saint Charles, Some texts, p.19

 

Thanks to Crescence for this visit and to Hélène who kept an eye on the finances.

 

Srs Hélène, Ruthina, Clarisse, Estelle djs, Ivory Coast

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