Villamaria, February 15, 2019
“Vincentian, identify yourself with the face of the Word: Jesus Christ”
Under the guidance of Sister María Doris Angel López, DC, we, the advisors of the different branches of the Vincentian Family, responded to the call to gather together in the city of Cali, Valle del Cauca. Those present included the advisors to the Sons and Daughters of Mary Immaculate, Servants of Mary, Association of the Miraculous Medal, Vincentian Youth Volunteers, Vincentian Marian Youth, Young Marian Vincentians, International Association of Charities, Louise de Marillac Foundation, Ladies of the Shrine, Vocational Animators, Biblical School and MISEVI.
As usual, the Sisters who organized the event and the Sisters of the Provincial House received us with a warm welcome and with great joy. After settling in our rooms and a delicious dinner, we formally began the provincial meeting of advisers, under the motto “Vincentian, identify yourself with the face of the Word: Jesus Christ.” Our first activity was directed by the psychologist Alexander, who tested our ability to work together as a team under pressure and showed us to strengthen our skills and abilities as we carry to completion the different projects that the group is attempting to accomplish.
On Saturday, February 9, we began our journey with a reflection on the Word of God as found in Luke 5:1-11 (Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people) … this reflection was led by Father Ricardo Cherubín and by Cesar Ramírez, a lay Vincentian. This time enabled us to examine the manner in which we, as advisors, carry out our role: What have I done well in my work as an advisor? What can I change in my work as an advisor? What practices or actions do I need to reorganize? What level of commitment am I giving to my work as an advisor? We came to the conclusion that we still have much to do and learn.
We continued to reflect upon the profile, the role and the functions of a Vincentian advisor. This reflection and discussion was intended to help the participants come to a better understanding of the Vincentian Family so that ultimately the advisors might be able to form Vincentian disciples who live in accord with the spiritual experience in St. Vincent de Paul, who develop an ecclesial sense and who live out their vocation of the service of God through serving those who are poor and most needy.
The day continued with the celebration of the Eucharist which was concelebrated by the priests of the Congregation of the Mission who, as advisors, attended the meeting. During the afternoon we continued the theme of the morning but focused on the element of Vincentian Mysticism. We reflected on the example Saint Vincent de Paul, as a mystic of charity (to see God in the face of the poor) and explored ways in which we might clothe ourselves in that same mysticism.
In the evening, we enjoyed a tour of the city … it was a night of recreation, joy, fun as we walked through the streets of the beautiful city of Cali, demonstrating to its population that Catholics are not boring, that the consecrated have not lost their joy and that joy is only given by the Word, who is Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, February 10, we began our day with the celebration of the Eucharist. Then, each branch met as a small group during which time they made group commitments and organized their calendar of events for the coming year. All those present understood the urgent need to act as mystics of charity.
Many thanks to God and to Mary for this wonderful experience and for allowing us to grow as a Vincentian Family. We also thank the Daughters of Charity who provided us with a place in which we could reflect calmly about the manner in which we are called to follow the example of our Founders and thus become better servants to those people who are poor.
Paola Andrea Castellanos Torres
JMV leader, Caldas Region