[Motherhouse] Paris, April 21st- May 6th. The international session for spiritual and Vincentian renewal, that we had the opportunity to live in Paris, was like a foretaste of Pentecost: 87 Daughters of Charity from 47 different countries joined at the Motherhouse, each with her own background, culture, hopes and expectations.
We shared a time of study, work and visits, living a full immersion in our Vincentian charism. Some confreres and sisters accompanied us, helping us to deepen the theme of faith by breaking the bread of our charism. We especially shared our common belonging to the Company, our being women, entirely given to God, in community, for the service of Christ in the Poor.
Our diversity merged together and was transformed into a peaceful atmosphere of authentic sisterhood and joy. Like that morning in Jerusalem, we were able to communicate with each other, sometimes with words, sometimes with gestures, or even just with a glance, a smile or a gesture of attention and kindness.
It was an experience of extraordinary blessing that not only renewed us in our Vincentian charism but also gave us a marvelous taste of belonging to a Company that is present in every part of the world with the commitment to be close to our brothers and sisters who are in need.
During the work in our groups we shared simply and authentically our experiences of faith and service, our dreams and our concerns. It was great to hear the direct experience of our sisters who live in countries plagued by war, persecution and poverty (material and spiritual), in which the Daughters of Charity are called to be a sign of hope for the people they meet.
During liturgy and prayer we enjoyed the beauty and richness of our different cultures, languages, traditions and lived a strong experience of the fullness of unity despite our diversity. Together, as one, we raised our praise to the Lord of life.
The session was shorter than others, but we had the opportunity to visit and to celebrate the Eucharist in several places that belong to our Vincentian heritage. It was a blessing for us to celebrate the Eucharist in the Church of St. Lazare, in the parish of St. Medard where the Blessed Rosalie Rendu lived and worked, and the church of St. Nicolas de Champs. At the cathedral of Chartres, following the footsteps of St. Louise, we entrusted our Company, and especially our new Province of San Vincenzo – Italy, to Mary, only mother of the Company.
We have lived the most intense time of prayer in the Chapel of the Apparitions, a privileged place to enjoy the Lord and Mary. We were always astonished by the presence of so many faithful pilgrims.
Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for having had the opportunity to live this time of grace in our Motherhouse in Paris. We returned to our missions in Italy even happier to be Daughters of Charity and to serve the Church and those who are poor in the whole world. Everything is grace and for everything we give thanks!
The Italian group of the Daughters of Charity