Yasmine Cajuiste concludes her service with a in a letter as the President of the JMV
July 18, 2015
Dear members of the Vincentian Marian Youth Association:
Evangelized, we evangelize!
This year, as the VMY throughout the world celebrates the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother to Saint Catherine Laboure, we are preparing to gather together for IV General Assembly (Salamanca, July 24-28, 2015).
As we approach the opening of our Assembly, we are called to pause and discern (under the watchful gaze of God and Mary) new paths for the Association. The theme of our Assembly is: evangelized, we evangelize and thus we are invited to reflect on the reality that we, as young women and men, have been called and loved and then sent forth into the world in order to proclaim God’s love and God’s loving plan for humankind.
Therefore, in this last message that I, as President, will write to the members of the Association, I want to tell you that I am filled with gratitude for having had the opportunity to serve and share with all of you during these past ten years. Thank you for your friendship and your love, for supporting me during difficult times, for your words of encouragement, for your kindness, for your commitment … for so many things that I could not possibly list them all here.
During this time I discovered that the first missionary commitment is that of prayer (Pope Benedict). I came to understand the meaning of Saint Vincent’s words: give me a man or a woman of prayer and he/she will be capable of everything. Each person will pray in a different manner. In our spiritual life we will experience both high and low moments but the decision to persevere in this daily encounter with God is key to finding happiness and peace. The events that we experience during our lifetime and our encounters with the less fortunate members of society take on meaning as we spend time in prayer. Prayer should guide and inspire our life, our relationships and our commitment on behalf of the Kingdom.
As we remember the apparition of the Blessed Mother to Saint Catherine, I am mindful of Mary’s words: Come to the foot of the altar! Returning to the foot of the altar in every situation, during times of calmness and peace, during times of searching and concern, during times of rebellion … returning to the foot of the altar has been a source of great strength in my life. The Lord has allowed me to pray very often at the foot of the altar at the Rue du Bac but it is at the foot of any altar throughout the world where Christ offers us his love that we can ultimately discover meaning in life and find the strength to take the next step in our journey through life. There, at the foot of the altar, we can also find the love that heals and impels us forward, the courage that enables us to continue to walk with and accompany the poor and there we can find the joy of sharing with a community of saints and sinners. I know that we cannot always understand what happens at the foot of the altar. I also know that we are never the same after having spent time at the foot of the altar. Therefore, I pray that each one of us will receive the grace that will enable us to deepen our love for the Eucharist … for it is there that Mary teaches us to reflect on the movements of our heart and it is there that God acts in a mysterious manner as we are molded and formed to become more and more like our loving God. During this year of Consecrated Life, let us give thanks to God for all the priests and brothers and religious women, especially for those who have been instruments of God’s grace in our life (men and women who have accompanied us and shared in our life).
During these past five years the International Council and Secretariat have achieved many things as a result of your collaboration. One of our great satisfactions has been confronting the challenge of self-financing through our campaign, something more from you! As of June 30, 2015 we were able to raise 431,465.35€ … the members and groups and national councils have supported this campaign by raising 91,254.78€. We also received two matching grants and only one of those grants is reflected in these numbers. In this Year of Vincentian Collaboration I give thanks for all those (members of the VMY and all the members of the Vincentian Family) who participated in this common dream. During the General Assembly we will be able to share with you the final results of our campaign and we are hopeful that many countries will take advantage of this opportunity and bring their contribution to this gathering. As I stated in last year’s latter, from the time of its origin the VMY has a history of collaborating with God and with Mary and their plan with regard to young men and women and with regard to those who are poor.
My brothers and sisters, during these years of service, the words of Pope Benedict XVI became real: I am consoled by the fact that the Lord is able to work and act even with inadequate instruments. My time of service in the VMY is coming to an end and that service has been composed of fidelities and infidelities. I know that my labor has not been in vain. I have been able to harvest what others have sown and I have been able to plant some new seeds that other will harvest in the future. One of my hopes was to make real God’s wonderful plan for young men and women and to do this through the VMY … mission accomplished! I am at peace and I rejoice! I will miss the VMY but the Association will always be present in my prayers. I know that I am the person that I am because of what I have lived and experienced in the VMY.
Each one of us will live our own adventure in the VMY … some of us will take on national and/or international responsibilities; others will actively participate on the local level. There is no doubt about the fact that once a person has become a member of the VMY that person’s life is changed forever. I give thanks to God for having given me the opportunity to serve in this manner and I rejoice knowing that perhaps my life has been instrumental in bringing about Mary’s plan. I ask for pardon and grace from God and from each one of you. I say farewell and again I give thanks to God for this experience and I remain united with you: we are united together! Yes, we are united on this journey as we allow ourselves to be evangelized so that we, in turn, can evangelize others, especially the Lord’s privileged ones … we are engaged in a journey that does not end and therefore the journey should not be hurried because God is calling us to holiness. May the Lord bless you today and always!
To Jesus with Mary!
International President VMY