Province of Europe Assembly in Bucharest, Romania - 31 March - 4 April, 2012
Hands, Hearts and Eyes „Mâini, Inimi şi Ochi”
În perioada 31 martie-4 aprilie 2012 am avut o întâlnire internaţională la Snagov la care au participat surori din Provincia Europei.A fost prima întâlnire a acestei provincii după constituirea ei în forma în care este acum.
Tema întâlnirii a fost „Mâini, Inimi şi Ochi”. Mâinile simbolizează cine suntem şi activităţile apostolice în care suntem angajate aici şi acum. Inimile reprezintă dorinţele noastre să creştem ca un corp FCJ în Europa.
Ochii ne cheamă să lărgim viziunea noastră, să vedem dincolo de orizont realitatea şi binele întregii Societăţi FCJ şi al Lumii.
În cadrul întâlnirii am discutat despre activităţile surorilor FCJ din Provincia Europei şi despre priorităţile din viitor. De asemenea participanţii au luat contact şi cu realiatea românească cunoscând câte ceva despre istoria românilor, religia, muzica şi cultura lor.
A fost o îtâlnire în care îmi place să cred că am crescut în comuniune şi speranţă.
Gabriela Lungu fcJ.
This first assembly of the new Province of Europe took place in Romania. We met at the beautifully appointed Carmelite Monastery at Snagov, north of Bucharest. Sisters came from eleven different European countries and for many of us this was our first visit to Romania.
Our theme was ‘Hands, Heart, Eyes’. This encompasses the many and varied ministries in which the sisters are engaged - ‘Hands’; the energy, joy, commitment, and prayerfulness with which we engage in these ministries – ‘Heart’; the vision that we have for the future, our answer to the question, ‘What more is God asking of us now?’ – ‘Eyes’.
Our sisters in Romania gave us a huge welcome! Not only did they did they meet us with flowers, a traditional Romanian greeting, but they provided us with transport, money exchange facilities, and many other practicalities.
They also ensured that we kept out feet firmly fixed on the ground by arranging that we had a most enjoyable and rewarding ‘immersion’ experience! This took the form of time out to visit places of interest in Bucharest including the so called ‘Peoples Palace’ erected by Ceaucescu before he was executed in 1989!
We also visited the lovely monastery Church of Stavropoleos which was beautifully decorated with many traditional icons: this gave us some insight into eastern orthodox spirituality. (80% of Romanians are Orthodox Christians). Another very impressive visit was to the Village Museum - thirty acres of land displaying various types of historic Romanian rural architecture.
Back in the monastery we had a brilliant lecture on Romanian history which helped to put our other experiences into context.
On one evening we were delighted to hear some beautiful Romanian chamber music played by local artistes. Then a spiritual treat awaited us in the form of Evening Prayer, prepared for us by Sisters Ruth Casey and Juliet Ory fcj. This was based on the exquisite icons used by Orthodox Christians in their prayer.
One of the most poignant ‘immersion’ experiences was the viewing of a documentary film entitled ‘Interrupted Lives’. This was an account of the lives of Catholic religious sisters who had been disbanded, imprisoned, consigned to labour camps and otherwise persecuted, during more than forty years of communist rule in Eastern Europe. We were amazed that so little is known about so much suffering borne by these women after the war.
Our facilitator Manuela Schaffran led us gently but firmly in our planning for the future. We are keenly aware of the wonderful possibilities that exist - in education at every level, in missionary work, in retreat work, in parish work, in work for refugees, in work for women who are trafficked, in prison chaplaincies, in school and hospital chaplaincies ... in all the works that are so much part of our FCJ charism! Jesus’ words about ‘fields that are ripe for the harvest’ come strongly to mind.
In our prayer and our shared discussions we became aware once again of how privileged we are to be called to be a Faithful Companion of Jesus and to have the support of our sisters as we engage in our various ministries. When we looked again at all that needs doing in those ‘fields that are ripe for harvest’ it is clear that more workers are needed! How great it would be for God’s Kingdom if there were many more generous, prayerful women ready to answer Jesus’ invitation to follow him as his Faithful Companions!
Bernadette O'Malley, fcJ