[Province of San Vincenzo –Italia] The first Provincial Assembly of the Province “San Vincenzo -Italia” took place in Rome from the 28thof July to the 8th August 2014. While we were not present in person we were certainly with our prayer, and thanks the internet we were able to follow the work of our sisters in real time.
The Assembly remarked that our Province is an “elderly one” because of our many services carried out by Sisters who are 60, 70 years old and older. In our local communities we take care of the marginalized, the young, the elderly, children, the sick, women in difficulty, prisoners, homeless, immigrants of the third and fourth world. This is done with activities of evangelization, hospitality, prevention, care, training, support, education and listening. Sister Beatrice, the Visitatrix, said that we need :
- To review the journey we have made until now.
- To propose guidelines in order to revitalize the charism and to actualize our commitments for the mission.
We don’t know very well what to propose because now our Province is really huge and we are few. We can speak about our experience so that you can take our advice to heart and we can also transmit to you our profound desire of belonging to the Community. We don’t feel like guests or tourists, we are not marginal members of our Congregation and our belonging to the Company is so strong (thanks to the relationship with God) that we have a profound desire to transmit it to the whole world and to show it with our example and joy.
The Daughters of Charity are a significant part of a larger project of God and as elderly Sisters we feel that our first duty is indeed carrying out the plan of divine Providence. We need each other and we know that to share life is not always easy and it requires accepting each other and therefore calls for a strong spirit of sacrifice. We want to suggest to the younger sisters, who have less experience than we have, that the service is a means, not a goal, and therefore we should realize that what we do is not for our gratification but aimed to welcome and love the poor with the urgency of bringing Jesus to others. We are aware that we live in a time with few vocations, where young sisters are vital for the life of the Company from today and tomorrow. Only the young sisters can contribute to the revitalization of the Congregation, but we have to guide them, and teach them that first of all we have to look into our hearts, to judge ourselves before judging others. Only in this way can we be the example that the world requires us to be.
We obviously are yearning for our past, but without the feeling of regret, which would stop us from growing and advancing and we would be stuck in our philosophy of life. So, besides helping the poor, we must try to improve ourselves in order to be a good example to the younger sisters, who will draw the right inputs from our “action”. We don’t have any special recipes for the sisters who now are carrying on the services of our Congregation and change the Community according to current needs. But we can say that we, who gave up many activities that once we had carried forward, we have tried and are still trying to transform ourselves day after day.
Only in this way can we experience the joy of always being with the Lord wherever He leads us and to follow the message of Saint Vincent who says, “the things of God come about by themselves, and that wisdom consists in following Providence step by step.” We would like to conclude with the words of St. Vincent, “The spirit of the Company consists of three things, to love and serve our Lord in a spirit of humility and simplicity. As long as Charity, Humility, and Simplicity, exist among you one can say that the Company is still alive.”