Provinces of Spain–South and North Africa unite

Union ES-NA 21c[Province of España-Sur] Today is Feast. Our Province becomes larger. Our arms are extended and our view gets richer.” These words resonated with force and joy on Sunday November 29 in the Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity of España-Sur in Seville. This is a date that will resound in the annals of the Company of the Daughters of Charity as an historic and unforgettable day. Because, besides being the anniversary of the foundation of the Daughters of Charity, it was the union of the Provinces of “España-Sur” and “Afrique du Nord”.

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There was an official and special representation: the General Superior of the Congregation of the Mission and of the Daughters of Charity, Fr Gregory Gay; the Superioress General of the Daughters of Charity, Sr Kathleen Appler; the General Assistant, Sr Françoise Petit; the General Councillor, Sr Carmen Pérez; the Director General of the Daughters of Charity, Fr Bernard Schoepfer; Provincial Director of Africa North (now elected Visitor of the new Province of France of the Congregation of the Mission), Fr Christian Mauvais; Provincial Director of the Daughters of the Charity of España-Sur, Fr. José María López Maside; the Visitor of the Salamanca C.M. Province, Fr Juan de la Rosa; all the Visitatrices of the Daughters of Charity of Spain and Portugal; the Superior of the Community of the Vincentians of Seville, Fr Eblerino Díez Llamazares; some Vincentians… and, of course, Sr Edwige Liferamary, Visitatrice of Africa North and Sr Mª Pilar Rendón, Visitatrice of España-Sur Province, main characters of this event.

It was a joyful event, verified by the hospitality and happiness of the “encounter”, of true fraternity, of each one feeling “at home”. If a catchy and famous song says, “Seville has a special colour,” last Sunday, this part of Vincentian Seville had a very clear and specific colour of shared enthusiasm, of the conviction of faith and of glistening hope. It was an extraordinary event. The more than four hundred Sisters who participated gave testimony to that. They came from Andalusia, Extremadura, Canary Islands, Madrid, Morocco and, of course, from North Africa: Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania. It was also a very well prepared event, perfectly organized and beautifully presented. The celebrations, the music, the texts, the expressions, the fundamental infrastructure (lodging, food…), everything was prepared and organized with great creativity.

Union ES-NA 15cThe event unfolded in two parts. First, on Saturday 28, there was a meeting for all Sister Servants of España-Sur and all the Sisters of the still Province of North Africa. It was led by Fr Celestino Fernández, C. M. and the title was “The commitment of the Daughters of the Charity in the world and in the Church today”.

Photo story from the event is available at:
https://t.co/nvUWUofstC

The second part began also on Saturday with a vigil of preparatory prayer for the following day. On Sunday the 29th was the official and solemn act of the union of the two Provinces. This was presided by the General Superior, the Superioress General, the Visitatrice and the Provincial Director of España-Sur. It consisted fundamentally of the addresses of Sister Mª Pilar Rendon, Sister Edwige Liferamary, still Visitatrice of North África, and the intervention of the Superioress General, Sister Kathleen Appler. Everything was completed with the delivery of the seal of the Province of North Africa to the Superioress General.

Union ES-NA 23cThe Eucharist, presided by Fr. Gregory Gay, put the gold fastener to this act of the union of the two Provinces. It was calm, participative, cheerful, creative, full of music and colour. It was a Eucharist where there were no longer two Provinces but one: España-Sur. Food in the Sports Centre of the school neighbouring the Provincial House ended this grandiose day. It was an entire show to see the full Sports Centre, with almost five hundred diners, and with an incomparable atmosphere, with music and dance that included “sevillanas.” Somebody commented: “This can only happen in Seville.” Certainly, I can give testimony to that.

Celestino Fernández, C. M.

[Text and images from C.M.- Madrid website: misionerospaules.org]
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