Praised Be the Incarnate Word!
What existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have contemplated and what our hands have felt, about the Word of life, we announce to you. 1 Jn. 1.1
Dear Sisters: These words resonate in our hearts and for these reason with joy and happiness we share our journey with you on this search to open a place for the CCVI Mission.
From September 17 to October 8, Ana Luisa Prieto, Aracely Uranga and Erika López left San Angel, sent by the Congregation for a first contact with 2 potential spaces for the CCVI Mission. The first place we visited was Xalisco, which belongs to the Dioceses of Tepic, Nayarit, where the Helper Sisters came out to greet us with their 45 years of legacy accompanying the people of God in their sociopolitical battles and for the recognition of their human dignity.
The Helper Sisters, grateful for God’s journey with their Congregation, opened the doors of their homes and history to us. They especially connected us to the heart of the people with whom they have walked throughout these years. We wished to feel, see, listen, smell and experience where Jesus is incarnated today, and from where we are called to incarnate the CCVI charisma. We visited neighborhoods, farms, parishes and sheds where families of indigenous cane cutters live; they have been accompanied by the Sisters in catechetics and comprehensive health projects. It is worth noting that this home began as a novitiate with the purpose of fostering a proximity with the people.
On the 27th of September, we arrived at Xalapa, Veracruz, at the “Casa San José” Community Center, ministry sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Lyon. This house served as a training house in the 80s and 90s. Afterwards, due to a lack of vocations, the Sisters left this place and it began to function as a Cáritas dispensary. In June 2019, Sister Ilse, provincial on duty, asked Sister Enedina Juárez to take care of the house, she assumed control of the bazar and through that encounter with the people she noticed the population’s needs. She was forced to suspend sales due to the pandemic, but her energetic and extrovert personality couldn’t stay on the sidelines. So, she began giving what little she had, mint and lemongrass. She left them on a chair outside her home with a sign that said: “If you need some, take some for free.” That’s how she decided to embark on the project of a community center she called “Casa San José.”
The purpose of the center is for people to go through a community integration process for mutual collaboration to transform their surroundings. For Sister Enedina, the priority is for people to attain the greatest personal growth and improve their economy. It has numerous programs, including educational support for children in elementary school, bazar sales, humanitarian aid through food supplies, stemming from the pandemic situation and as a solidarity gesture, and support through medicines for treating Covid-19 patients, and the Solidarity Economy “ECOSOL” program, sharing purchases to lower the cost of basic groceries.
In addition to the community in Xalapa, the Sisters manage a Migrant Shelter, located in Tierra Blanca, 3 hours away from “Centro San José.” In our talk with Sister Dolores, she mentioned that the hardest part of this service is maintain the balance between mercy and firmness, especially when enforcing regulations for a healthy coexistence in the shelter. Other great lessons include making the migrant experience a theology of religious life, this is, the passion with which they pursue their dream, carrying only what is necessary for the journey and adapting to the conditions required by each step. She wants us to live religious life with the determination with which migrants pursue their dream. May we allow their itinerary to become a light for this lifestyle that also requires passion for following Jesus and to be lived in greater freedom for building the kingdom.
Of course, we not only wanted to feel God’s calling to respond to these needs, but we also simultaneously wrote minutes, field diaries, encouraged conversations, intentional encounters aimed at having the supplies for discernment, this entire process with the guidance and feedback of an advisor.
We thank both Congregations for sharing with us their simplicity, their charisma, and their unique way of accompanying the People from the Gospel in the style of Jesus.
We entrust ourselves to their prayers, so may this process of discernment become the route that guides our steps and our wish to respond to current needs, from our CCVI charisma.