[Motherhouse] The Seminarium is a gathering of Daughters of Charity whose main responsibility is the formation of young Sisters in the Initial Stages of Formation. This is usually held every six years at the Mother House, Paris France. The Seminarium of 2017 had as its theme: With the Boldness of Charity, Let us Dare to Form for the Future. It was held from May 3 to 22. Participating in this gathering were 84 Sisters representing 53 Provinces from all the continents of the world. Sister Kathleen Appler, Superioress General of the Company of the Daughters of Charity, welcomed the formators, and invited them to this Holy Ground, this privileged time of prayer and renewal.
Being at the heart of the Company and at La Chapelle, the shrine of our Blessed Mother’s Apparitions of the Miraculous Medal, was a great source of grace and inspiration for the Sisters. It was like coming home… to the “foot of the altar” where they enjoyed the ambience of prayer and solitude, beautiful liturgical celebrations and the assuring love of Mary for the Company. Witnessing the continuous flow of faith-filled pilgrims from various walks of life gave the participants moments of solidarity with those in great need of prayer and healing.
The Mother House bloomed with life, hospitality and joy with the presence of Sisters of diverse races, languages, cultures and age. This intercultural presence gave evidence to a Company without borders.
Conferences, conversations, individual reflections, and group work marked each day of the Seminarium. The participants were divided according to language groupings to facilitate communication. Though they spoke a common language in the group, the experience of sharing different situations and cultures was truly enriching and enlightening. The participants offered respect and appreciation for each other’s uniqueness, supporting one another in the group work, and sharing their fears, hopes and dreams. This gathering forged friendships among the Sisters as they experienced communion in their vital mission of formation.
The speakers were as diverse as the participants, coming from outside and within the Vincentian Family: Sr. Judette Gallares, RC, Sr. Lynn Levo, CSJ,Fr. Patrick Griffin, CM, Fr. Guillermo Campuzano, CM, Fr. Javier Alvarez CM, Fr. Bernard Schoepfer, CM, Director General and Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, CM, Superior General. Our very own Sisters included: Sr. Rosanna Pitaresi, Sr. Nora Gatto, Sr. Gloria Aniebonam, Sr. Raymonde Nahimana, Sr. Anastasie Mukarugabira, Sr. Rosa Maria Miro Miro, and Sr. Kathleen Appler, Superioress General.
To rekindle the Vincentian spirit, the participants made a pilgrimage to St. Nicolas des Champs Church where St. Louise’s Lumiere took place. An afternoon was also devoted to a Vincentian tour of Paris, retracing the footsteps of the Founders, and walking through the Mouffetard District, the neighborhood where Blessed Rosalie Rendu ministered for 50 years to those who were poor. Touching base with these holy places evoked a deep sense of fidelity to the Vincentian vocation and strengthened the bonds of belonging to the Company.
With a newer understanding of their mission as formators for a “Company without borders”, their spirits rekindled and their hearts burning with joy, the Sisters went back to their own Provinces filled with hope and courage to face the challenges of the future.