[Province of Curitiba, Brazil] How very precious is a good missionary! God must raise him up and fashion him; that is the work of His omnipotence and His great goodness. (St Vincent ,VII, 626)
When we begin a new year, we think of proposals and projects and when we prepare an action plan, we mark it with something greater: the plan of Jesus Christ who loves us and calls us out of love. The Vincentian Vocation Promotion Service of the Province of Curitiba began the year 2020 with enthusiasm, introducing new projects and making a proposal for a renewed vocation mission which for 49 years has been accompanying young people in their process of vocational discernment.
In this immense terrain which is the Kingdom of God, we have always been challenged to look to new horizons, waiting for a time of awakening in the hearts of young people and looking for innovative ways of being present to them. As we put into action the plans we made, we were disrupted by “HOME”… social distancing. Immediately, we went into reflection and searched for alternative courses of action in the face of the present reality that demanded greater care for life in a personal and communal way.
During this time of waiting and in the uncertainty in the process of discernment of vocation and the accompaniment of the young, the spirit of hope and persistent strength emerged. The Service of Vocation Animation related how the process of vocational discernment has taken place and how the work with young people who wish to enter the Company is carried out in this time of social distancing:
The call is to redesign the plans that are now totally different from what we envisioned them at the beginning of the year; the invitation is to recreate ourselves and take a new route leading us towards new ways of knowing the young person: no longer in big gatherings but through the digital medium.
We know that discernment is essential, it is the key to the process of self-knowledge and of deeper awareness of a vocation call in the life of the young person. The challenge to use digital platforms in vocational accompaniment invites us to reinvent ourselves in order to be closer to the young and their families; it calls us to actively learn the multiple functionalities of social media and to adopt its usefulness to our mission. The “new normal” points to new spaces and new approaches: online meetings, vocational chats, livestreams, etc.
The online meetings provide young people with a chance to encounter Sisters as well as to be in dialogue with those on the same journey. This has also provided opportunity to unite with other Provinces: Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte and, together, offer to young people the possibility of interaction.
Aware that the process of formation demands personal contact with the young person and her family, today’s crisis however requires this online modality and use it to accompany young persons and encourage them to discern. We will zealously continue our mission and improve our skills and competencies and become “virtual fisherfolks”, welcoming young women with their human and digital experiences, capable of finding their own answers in this time of pandemic.
Our presence in social networks must make a difference; it must be a witnessing presence because while the platforms determine the meetings, the center is always the person called to respond to a vocation. Let us be a presence that draws others to who we really are!
Let us pray for young people who seek to discern their vocation and respond to God’s call to follow Jesus Christ!
Sister Geovani de Fatima Domingues
Vocations Animation Service
Province of Curitiba, Brazil