Greetings on this last official day of business in Rome when all the Carmelite nuns met here at the Salesianum with Fr. Saverio and members of the Generalate. What a relief not to start the day getting on a bus and spending long hours in crowded security lines! The biggest crowds we had to deal with were those gathered around the coffee-maker this morning.
At 8:45 we met in the chapel for a short prayer service prepared by the French Sisters. Our meeting followed in a comfortable hall capable of hosting simultaneous translation, which was a great help. It's made a huge difference being in places that have the technology capable of supporting good communication.
Our meeting room and distinguished hosts...
Fr. Saverio prepared a proposal for on-going formation to begin the meeting. Thankfully, the Generalate made copies which were distributed in each of the languages so that we could follow the written text as he read it. As soon as I get back home I will scan it and send copies to the CCA communities. BT and I found it to be excellent - as did all those we spoke to about it. It is not specific - he is leaving that to the text coming soon from CICLSAL re: contemplative life. Rather it is focused on formation as the capacity for the full integration of the human person in the light of our identity as religious, contemplatives and Teresian Carmelites.
We shared in small language groups following (3 groups for English). Once again, I acted as a secretary. Sr. Jennifer (Australia) moderated our group and did an excellent job.
The Eucharistic celebration, in Spanish, followed at Noon.
In the afternoon we started with group reports. Srs Jennifer and Lucia companioned me in finalizing our group report - most helpful - which I delivered very slowly so that the translators had a chance to catch it.
Following the reports we listened to a Spanish Sister describe the work she had done on a website during the Teresian 500th. We assumed that her report related to the suggestion that we develop an internet site for on-going formation related to Fr. General's formation proposal. However, this was never clarified and the dialogue that followed had no direction or outcome as far as any of us could tell. 1 1/2 hours were given to this topic in the full group. This was frustrating as our time together was so precious. In conclusion Fr. General said he heard that we affirmed his proposal for formation including the development of a website and he would go ahead with it.
Sisters Allain and Shelagh prepared a lovely prayer service in English (Alleluia!) to end our time together.
Some shots of our sisters. I'm not certain of many names! Below - Sr. Lucia on the right.
Below: Sisters Monica and Brenda - Ireland.
Looking back on our time in Rome; the meetings with the Congregation and the Generalate, it is hard to name with any certainty what really was accomplished. Even though it is possible to name this or that event, it is most probably the quiet conversations, the connections and resulting hidden changes in attitudes that constitute the heart of this meeting. I know I come back to CCA somehow renewed and changed for having participated in this amazing experience in Rome. Seeds have definitely been planted and one day we shall see the blossoming, look back and recognize where it happened. For now gratitude and more gratitude for having been a part of this amazing moment in CCA's own historical unfolding.
Tomorrow Fr. Rafal has graciously offered to accompany several of the American contingent to Assisi: Srs. Mary Clare, Angel, Celeste, Virginia Marie, BT and I. It is about a 2 hour drive North from Rome. As we leave the following morning, I am not sure I will have time to write a blog tomorrow night. So I leave you with a warm arrivederci!
Blessings, dear sisters!