Presence. Vincent said, “…While we do not yet see God, faith teaches us that His holy presence is everywhere… I mean, this presence in all places, penetrating all things and even our hearts to their very depths.”
In this world with a global pandemic, presence has been both limited and enhanced, a sure sign of the paradox of life. We all have experienced the limitations. For MISEVI, these limits stretch far and wide as we continue to try and serve, reaching out to those who are most in need, while trying to limit encounters that can lead to a spread of the virus. And so, serving one another has taken on new challenges.]
On the other hand, our presence to one another has been enhanced by, … you got it, Zoom! On Saturday, 12 December 2020, MISEVI International gathered 40 participants representing 18 countries to be present to one another and to hear the unique ways countries are accomplishing our mission of guiding, animating, and supporting the missionary presence of the laity, especially in those countries and missions connected to the Vincentian Family. It was heartwarming to hear of MISEVI Egypt offering short- term opportunities for youth to enhance their understanding of the Bible and longer-term missions in support of those who are living in poverty in the villages. While on the other side of the globe, Argentina is collaborating with MISEVI Spain by sending a missionary to Bolivia. In Venezuela, the challenges are huge, and yet, the faith of the people is so alive and active. These are just a few examples.
As one of the younger branches of the Vincentian Family, MISEVI is becoming more and more enriched by diverse cultures and unique ways of serving. Because MISEVI is growing in presence around the world, the International team faces new challenges and opportunities. In the last two years, we have accomplished much: we have created Spiritual Guidelines, updated the website, and confirmed our legal presence. In the months to come, our goals include:
- Create more fluent communication within MISEVI and with the Vincentian Family and its branches
- Collaborate locally and globally
- Rewrite the Statutes
As we prepare for a new year (and hopefully better one) in 2021, we bring the presence of Christ through MISEVI which is active in these countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, USA, and Venezuela. Countries in formation include Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Panama, while Costa Rica is restructuring.
Presence. The meeting was not spectacular. The meeting was not monumental. At the meeting, we encountered some technical problems. Yet the meeting was deeply meaningful because of presence. Each person was needed. Each person brought the love of their own group and of the mission of the Vincentian charism. Each person found a connection with the other 39 members because of presence. Their own presence. The presence of the others. And most importantly the presence of Christ in the poor.
One person from our International team was not able to be on the call. She is what inspired me today, because her presence was also felt on that Saturday, even though she could not be there. Sr. Neghesti Michael, DC is our counselor, and in her very quiet way, she shares her wisdom, sometimes merely by her presence and often by the experience she has gained through her commitment to her vocation. Her presence was felt at this meeting in the Spiritual Formation plan that we shared, but even more in her constant, steady belief in the presence of Christ in those who are poor.
Vincent and Louise would have loved our gathering, as we can hear in Louise’s words:
“…Physical separation does not prevent spiritual presence among persons whom Our Lord has united by the bonds of His holy love. The stronger this love grows within us, the closer it binds us together.”
Respectfully submitted by Mary Frances Jaster