Sister Maureen’s Reflection on Day 3: Living Interculturally

Our theme today was living interculturally and we began with a beautiful prayer when first of all we were all asked to remove our shoes because we were walking on holy ground. With barefoot open hearts we listened to the words of the prophet Isaiah 43:18-20. “ Forget the former things and do not dwell on the past . See I am doing a new thing. I am making a path in the wilderness and streams in dry land.” We believe a new era is coming and the words of Isaiah echo for us.
As Religious we have a new paradigm, a transformation with new values and new dreams, new ways of being in relationship, a new mentality, a new way of seeing and understanding creation, and a new understanding of the ultimate reality who is God.
We are invited today to be mystical prophets of what comes from below in history, to be witnesses, women who in their lives make Jesus visible and credible, witnesses of what is poor and simple, witnesses of the God of relationships , witnesses of the mercy of God and God’s care for creation.
Our first presentation was about living interculturally and for me was the best explanation of this word I have ever heard. I cannot do it justice in this email but would like eventually to share the paper with you in communities so that together we can grow in understanding because I think we all need help to understand different cultures and realities. In our table group we asked to write a sentence which summarised what we heard and we wrote the following:  “ How do we listen to one another prayerfully and patiently with an attitude of openness to learn that personal conversion is the only way we will truly become intercultural.”
We can begin in small ways remembering that the early Church was tiny but they had faith and courage and we can do the same.If every Religious in the world would plant a seed of hope, by her presence, her smaller, her welcome, her witness our world would become a place of compassion, love and hope. Let us go out and bring hope to the world around us in whatever way we can.
The afternoon was spent listening to  Sisters working in many different contexts of war, deprivation, abuse and other challenges such as migrants and ant trafficking. We then had a long session with Cardinal Braz de Avis who is the head of the disasters for Religious Life. He answered questions as much as he could but also said we had to ask some of the Pope when we meet with him on Friday. We were asked not to discuss these so I will just say he was very helpful and showed us great concern to be helpful to us in the various challenges many congregations are facing.
This evening we had a meal together for all those in our constellation (group) and we are from UK, Ireland and Holland although most of the leaders in Holland are actually from Indonesia. Tomorrow we meet as a group with questions and I have to chair that meeting of the thirty of us so please remember me in prayer.
Love and prayers
Maureen, Fmsj


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