SUPERIORS’ MEETING IN BELARUS

The meeting of the Superiors of the Blessed Martyred Sisters Province with the Provincial Administration took place in Grodno on November 22, 2021. Sister Alina Furczyk, the Assistant General, also participated in part of the meeting. Since it was not possible for the Sisters to travel to Grodno, the meeting was held online. Thanks to the new technology, s. Agnieszka Romaszko, who serves in the nunciature in London, could also take part in the meeting. After greeting and introducing each other, Sr. Alina briefly introduced the topic of the meeting, presenting the idea of the Synod and sharing her experience of meetings related to the Synod. Sister pointed out that the Synodal way begins in the place where we live and work every day, because the Synod is a way of life, a way of communication, to be a listening Church, able to learn from each other. The Synod is a spiritual journey to which the Church is calling us at this time.

Listening to the voice of the Church and the invitation of Pope Francis, the Sisters, after individual preparation and reflection on the questions given, shared their responses to the questions proposed in the Preliminary Document of the Synod, which could be formulated in the most general terms: how is “walking together” realized today in the Church, in our Congregation, in our community? What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “going together”?

The meeting was conducted according to a method derived from the Ignatian spirituality and proposed by the Synod. Similar meetings will be held in the communities of the Province. It will also be an opportunity for the Sisters to practically learn community discernment through deep listening to one another and listening together to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

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VISITATION IN THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS PROVINCE

Sister Angela Marie Mazzeo, Superior General, is staying in Poland from October 1 to December 20, 2021 for a visitation in the Most Holy Name of Jesus Province. This is the first part of the Visitation of this Province. Sister Angela Marie began her stay in Poland with a meeting with a large part of the Sisters in Kalisz. It was a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Joseph. Then Sister visited two big communities in Warsaw, as well as communities in Łódź, Rawa Mazowiecka, Ząbki, Lublin, Wytyczno, Żdżary, Kolumna, Łaźniewo, Henryków and Supraśl.

The meeting with the Sisters in each community is an opportunity to get to know each Sister personally, to talk individually and in community, to share experiences of life, faith, and ministry, to learn about the apostolic work of the Sisters, and the needs of the Province.

We pray for the light of the Holy Spirit for Sr. Angela Marie and for each Sister of the Warsaw Province.

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PROGRAM FOR NEW PROVINCIAL / REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS

From August 28 to September 4, 2021, a meeting of the General Administration with the new provincial / regional administrations was held in Rome. Sisters from Belarus, Ukraine and the Province of Jesus the Good Shepherd were able to attend the meeting. The Philippines Province was represented by the Provincial Superior, Sr. Greta Marie Gallo, but unfortunately the rest of the Sisters were unable to travel from the Philippines. Due to the lockdown, the Australian administration was also unable to be present.

The Sisters spent the first day of the meeting in the Motherhouse at Machiavelli in Rome, exploring the theme of authority and obedience in the life of Mother Foundress. Sisters had time for personal reflection and meeting with Mother as well as sharing their experience with the group. For four days, the Sisters participated in a workshop led by Brother Emili Turu, a Marist Brother, deepening their knowledge of different communication styles, nonviolent communication, appreciative inquiry, dialogue, along with the topic of power and authority. During this program, the Sisters were able to work in groups and exchange experiences among the provinces, as well as work in their administration group, and meet with Sr. Angela Marie Mazzeo, Superior General and the Sisters of the General Council. The Sisters also participated in the Wednesday general audience and Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. This day of being with the Holy Father and praying in the heart of the Church was a reminder of our mission in the Church and the charism of prayer and our devotion for the Church and the Pope.

We are grateful to God that despite the difficulties and uncertainties of the situation, the meeting was possible, and the Sisters could strengthen each other in their faith, acquire new skills and knowledge, but above all, gain a broader perspective of the ministry in their respective Provinces in the context of the entire Congregation and the calls of the Church.

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FAREWELL TO THE FIFTH GOSPEL

My soul glorifies the Lord… for my 21 years of service in the Latin Vicariate in Nazareth. My heart is filled with great gratitude to God and to the people. To live in a place where heaven touched the earth, where the Word became Flesh is a responsibility, privilege and grace; it is a life hidden in the rhythm of everyday activities and meekness of heart, in the heart of the Church.

Thank you, Mary, for inviting me to your home through the vow of obedience, where the Word has become Flesh.

Thank you, Mary, for your open heart and the open doors of your home, where I could come and learn from you prayer, humility, hiddenness, hospitality and asking for the necessary graces for the whole world. Mary, how many times I did not know how to deal with various matters, then you came with your strength. Thank you for your love.

My heart looks back with great gratitude for every person I have met: bishops, priests, religious sisters and lay people who are not ashamed of their faith; for families who came to the church for Mass; for children running around the church with bread in their hands, because the church means home for them; for pilgrims; for the fear of war and the uncertainty about tomorrow, for frequent thinking about death, persecution and martyrdom, for people dying 30 km away, whom we can only help with prayer.

Thank you for every sister who has worked here, for every effort, struggle and hardship – for the fact that we lived together and learned the fifth Gospel – thanks be to God.

I especially thank the present community for their love, care and that I have someone to pass on this wonderful TREASURE of NAZARETH to, and I entrust you to God’s protection.

Thank you for the appreciation of our Nazareth work in the Latin Vicariate in Nazareth and the surprise offered by Mother Church.

I cannot thank you, Lord, because my words are small, please accept my prayer and teach me to thank you with my life…

Sr. Wiesława Malesa – of Jesus and his Mother

I will use the reflection of Paul VI with the excerpts from his homily given in Nazareth:

Nazareth is the school in which we begin to understand the life of Jesus. It is the school of the Gospel. Here we learn to observe, to listen, to meditate, and to penetrate the profound and mysterious meaning of that simple, humble, and lovely manifestation of the Son of God.

Here we discover the need to observe the milieu of His sojourn among us – places, period of time, customs, language, religious practices, all of which Jesus used to reveal Himself to the world. Here everything speaks to us; everything has meaning. Everything possesses twofold significance.

The lesson of silence…

The lesson of silence: may there return to us an appreciation of this stupendous and indispensable spiritual condition, deafened as we are by so much tumult, so much noise, so many voices of our chaotic and frenzied modern life. O silence of Nazareth, teach us recollection, reflection, and eagerness to heed the good inspirations and words of true teachers; teach us the need and value of preparation, of study, of meditation, of interior life, of secret prayer seen by God alone.

The lesson of domestic life

The lesson of domestic life: may Nazareth teach us the meaning of family life, its harmony of love, its simplicity and austere beauty, its sacred and inviolable character; may it teach is how sweet and irreplaceable is its training, how fundamental and incomparable its role on the social plane.

The lesson  of work

The lesson of work: O Nazareth, home of “the carpenter’s son,” We want here to understand and to praise the austere and redeeming law of human labor, here to restore the consciousness of the dignity of labor, here to recall that work cannot be an end in itself, and that it is free and ennobling in proportion to the values – beyond the economic ones – which motivate it. We would like here to salute all the workers of the world, and to point out to them their great Model, their Divine Brother, the Champion of all their rights, Christ the Lord!

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REGIONAL GATHERING IN UKRAINE

From April 28 to May 8, 2021, Sr. Alina Furczyk, Assistant General, was in Ukraine. The main purpose of the visit was to participate in the gathering of all the Sisters of the Saint Michael the Archangel Region. Eighteen Sisters came to Hajvoron to participate together in the annual meeting. Invited for the gathering was Sister Maria Santus from Warsaw who led workshops and gave lectures for the Sisters on emotions, communication and relationships. The meeting lasted from April 30 to May 4 and it was a very busy time. Benefiting from the professional help and rich experience of Sr. Maria, the Sisters had the opportunity to go deeper into their feelings and emotions, to get to know themselves better and to look at their life history and relationships in communities from a different perspective. It was also a blessed time of silence and prayer in this beautiful corner of Ukraine, and the possibility of walks and other forms of recreation brought everyone a lot of joy. Sr. Alina also shared with the Sisters her reflection on obedience as an expression of a nuptial unity with Jesus and an extremely important aspect of our Nazareth identity.

After returning from Hajvoron, there was also a meeting with the entire Regional Council on the theme of different communication styles and the challenges of communal discernment in leadership. Before the departure, Sr. Alina spent the whole day with the community from Browary celebrating Temporary-Professed Feastday with Sr. Natalia Tereszczuk. It was an opportunity to visit the botanical garden in Kiev together. Awakening to life and the beautiful nature, flowers, shrubs, trees and beautiful views of the Dnieper and nearby monasteries were the crowning moment of this beautiful time.

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NOVITIATE IN GHANA

On April 23, 2021, the anniversary of the beatification of our Mother Foundress, a historic ceremony took place in Chiraa, Ghana. On that day, the first two Ghanaian Sisters were accepted into the novitiate: Sr. M. Angela Kissiwaa and Sr. M. Theresah Anane. Accepting the Sisters on behalf of the Congregation was Sr. Speranza Grzebielec, the general councilor responsible for the mission houses in Ghana. Sisters from the communities of Chiraa, Sunyani and Yamfo attended the ceremony.

The evening prior to the day of the Sisters’ admission into the novitiate, there was Mass celebrated on in the Sisters’ chapel, followed by the blessing of the crosses for the Novices. The Sisters spent the entire next day in silence and reflection, and at 3:30 PM the ritual of the admission to the novitiate began. These were extremely touching moments. After the celebration, during which the Sisters received white veils, vespers were prayed, followed by greetings and a joyful time of dinner and recreation.

We praise God for the gift of the vocations of our Sisters to Nazareth and for His blessing on our African mission.

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A DECORATION FOR SR. WIESŁAWA MALESA

We would like to share our great joy with the whole Congregation that, in Nazareth, our Sr. Wiesława was decorated by the Jerusalem Patriarchate with the Medal of the Holy Sepulcher. It is the highest distinction awarded by the Patriarchate for merits and service to the Church in the Holy Land.

The decoration ceremony took place on May 17 at the Latin Vicariate of Nazareth in the presence of Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Bp G. B. Marcuzzo, priests, employees and friends of the Vicariate. We thank Sr. Wiesława for her dedicated service and love for the Church in the Holy Land.

And a short message from the Sisters from Nazareth:

Dear Sisters and Friends,

You know from the media what the situation in Israel is, where the “new – old” conflict between Israel and Gaza has been going on for over a week now. In the currently ongoing conflict, riots between the Israeli and Arab communities also break out in other cities, including Jerusalem, Haifa and Akko, which is disturbing. Fortunately, here in Nazareth there are no such extreme clashes. We have no immediate threat from Gaza missiles. In the evenings, Arabs demonstrate in the streets, there are screams, loud noises, and various things are burned in the streets. In the evenings, people simply do not go out, so we also stay at home.

Dear Sisters and Friends, let us remain united in prayer to the Lord that the Holy Spirit may enlighten the hearts of the authorities of these countries, that they may seek understanding and wish to walk on the “paths of peace”. May our common prayer dispel the darkness of war and violence!

Greetings from Nazareth,

Sr. Christella, Sr. Wiesława and Sr. Bogusława

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VISITATION IN SPAIN

From May 7 to May 14, 2021, Sr. Alina Furczyk, General Assistant, together with Sr. Lucyna Fraczek, General Treasurer, were conducting visitation in our mission house in Benicassim, Spain. The visitation lasted only one week but was full of meetings. First of all, it was the time spent with the Sisters who were willing to share their experience of life and new apostolic challenges, as well as their concern as to how they can best serve God in the Spanish Church. Sr. Alina and Sr. Lucyna had the opportunity to get to know the places where our Sisters minister and meet their closest co-workers. They also participated in the meetings and prayers of groups associated with the Sisters. Spain is a country that gave birth to great saints, but also today the Church in Spain is being reborn and she operates in small but very dynamic parish groups. It is our great joy that the Sisters can spread our charism there.

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STAY IN MISSION HOMES IN GHANA

From February 16 to March 10, 2021, Sr. Alina Furczyk, General Assistant, and Sr. Speranza Grzebielec, General Councilor, were in Ghana.

The Sisters visited all of our homes: in Chiraa, Sunyani and Yamfo, and both of our schools, in order to better understand the conditions and the environment in which the Sisters live and serve. During this time, in each community, the Sisters shared the Word of God and led a meeting about our charism. They also participated in the life of the communities and visited the parishes and institutions with which the Sisters are associated. They also had the opportunity to visit the poorest families with whom our Sisters work. Sr. Alina and Sr. Speranza participated in the meeting of Polish missionaries working in Ghana, which was also attended by the Apostolic Nuncio, Fr. Bishop Henryk Jagodziński. They also met with the bishops of the Sunyani and Goaso dioceses where the Sisters work. Sisters also visited the novitiate of the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit, a school run by a local Congregation and the huge Salesian school in Teme to see how other missionaries work within this reality and to understand more about the specificity of this culture.

At the end of their stay in Ghana, the Sisters also met with the Superiors of the communities, and then with all the Sisters. It was a very moving meeting where the Sisters shared the experiences of their missionary life and their understanding of the mission and their place in it. They also tried to talk about the challenges and the future of the mission in Ghana. The Postulants also shared how they see the role and mission of our Congregation in this Church.

It was a remarkably rich and beautiful time. It is our great joy that our mission in Ghana is growing and bearing such beautiful fruit.

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