First International Encounter of CONFHIC Juniors,
on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversary
of the religious profession of the Foundress,
Blessed Maria Clara of the Child Jesus, 14 April 2021
Vocational Journey with Mother Clara
Oh! How beautiful and wonderful are the ways of our God who brought 65 Junior Sisters of CONFHIC and their formators to celebrate the anniversary of the religious profession of their beloved foundress Mother Clara!
This first online international encounter, organised by the Formation and Youth Vocation Pastoral Committee was held on April 14, 2021 with the objective to help each Sister discover the secret of true joy in living her Franciscan Hospitaller vocation and to deepen her sense of belonging to our Congregation.
For the preparation, texts taken from the book: Maria Clara do Menino Jesus, sua gente e sua obra, (her people and her work) written by our Sister Rosa Helena Mendes de Moura, were sent in advance to the Junior Sisters. These texts highlighted four phases in the life of Mother Clara: Childhood, Adolescence, Youth and the definitive option of her religious vocation. Each Sister dedicated special time to the reading, reflection and assimilation of these texts and on some thought provoking questions. Thus, the preparatory phase was very important, leading them to savour the richness of this unique encounter.
The welcome and presentation of the Sisters were moments of great joy and enthusiasm. This was followed by a surprise: a virtual tour to the Mother House that instilled in everyone a great sense of belonging, and a spirit of communion.
The four stages in the Vocational Journey of Mother Clara were meaningfully presented by the 4 Provinces:
1º. Calm and Captivating Childhood – Province of Santa Maria
2º. Adventurous and adaptive adolescence - Province of Our Lady of the Mount
3º. Determined and decisive youth - Province of St. Francis of Assisi
4º. Fundamental and definitive choice - Province of the Immaculate Hospitaller.
Each Province unfolded the sub-theme with a brief summary of the vocational itinerary of a particular stage, through a power point, followed by the sharing of the Junior Sisters' reflection, the biblical text was chosen as a reference to the life of Mother Clara in that particular stage and in consonance with her own personal story. Each moment of sharing ended with a hymn that was related to the theme shared. In each stage, there were interventions from the Junior Sisters of the other provinces. It was a prolonged time of deep sharing and reflection, which was very enriching and enlightening for all the participants.
It was then time for each one to present her personal work on the question: "How can I embody the spirit of Mother Clara in my daily life? Each one answered this question in a creative way, expressing her talents: in songs, poems, paintings, prayers, etc. in order to, like Mother Clara, grow in profound intimacy with God, in the spirit of faith, determination, simplicity, humility, forgiveness and courage, trusting in Divine Providence and believing that nothing happens in the world without Divine permission.
In a festive ambience, it was time to make known the Fraternities where the Junior Sisters are integrated, their members and the mission they carry out. Sister Jennifer Greig, coordinator of the Formation and Youth Vocational Pastoral Committee, emphasized the importance of each Fraternity and thanked them for their collaboration in accompanying the Junior Sisters, who are also very grateful for everything, especially for the witness of life that helps them to journey with more hope and confidence in the living of their consecration.
At the end of the encounter, the hymn of the Congregation was sung with great enthusiasm. A family celebration followed, singing congratulations to Mother Clara and to each other, expressing the richness of languages and cultures.
This day will remain forever in the memory and hearts of our young Sisters! With much gratitude, special thanks were expressed to the Committee for this significant initiative that greatly enriched and brought the Junior Members closer to their Religious Family, opening horizons and giving the opportunity to get to know each other, even though in a virtual way.
May God be praised! May Blessed Maria Clara lead her dear daughters to follow her example and become a face of tenderness and mercy of God in this wounded world!
VIDEOS OF THE ENCOUNTER
PHOTOS OF THE ENCOUNTER