I have chosen to use three (3) ways to describe how the Province is living Transformative Education today : living fidelity ; inclusive integrity ; innovative responibility.
There is a profound knowledge and appreciation of the charism of the Assumption as lived today with its enormous challenges. From the efforts at building small evangelical communities in Cuba to the work with indigenous/village peoples in El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as the indefatigable work of formal education in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala – one is impressed at how the diversity of expressions of transformative education draws its strength from its being rooted in the elements of the charism – the incarnation, the option for the poor, the commitment to service and the family spirit – all of which give reason for the Assumption and spring from the love for Jesus and the desire to be His presence there where the Assumption is today. Transformative Education is ALIVE and dynamic in the Province. It is happening in the priority and attention given to where God is moving and acting. Borrowing the words of one of the songs that accompanied us during the visit – “dame, Señor tu mirada y pueda yo ver desde alli…” (1) - it is clear that the Province feels the need to remain faithful to seeing things and reality from God’s eyes and to continue to take God’s options – to be on the side of those who are least able to fend for themselves while at the same time doing everything that is possible to enjoin those who are more able to commit themselves to acts of compassion and solidarity so that the Kingdom may happen here and now.
The scene is in Santa Familia, Santa Ana, El Salvador where we were treated to a gathering of young and old, students, teachers, sisters, friends and alumnae not only of Santa Familia but of the Colegio Asuncion, Santa Ana, which no longer exists --- everyone was included, committed, happy to be together and to be who each one is. This was the hallmark of all the Assumption learning communities we visited in the Province whether it be in a school, a parish, an insertion or a village community or even in the houses of retreat and welcome. There was a place for everyone and everyone had the space and the freedom to discover herself/himself and be the best that one can be in order to contribute to the building of a society that is as God intended it to be. It is this spirit of OPENESS that breaks down human-invented barriers (that were never intended by God) that the Assumption seeks to propagate. And again to quote from yet another song that we grew to love during our days there – “todos aquí somos humanos … adentro tenemos buenos sentimientos… la Amistad no cuestiona tu credo… sin distingos de culto y bandera… casa abierta..”(2) An experience of inclusion that seeks that which unites and looks at each one’s uniqueness as a necessary enrichment that completes each one’s inherent incompleteness and forms the integrated body of Christ for our world today.
A very lively meeting with the Provincial Animation Team that is tasked with assisting the Provincial Council in the animation of the Province particularly in the various areas of Transformative Education : Schools, Insertions, Pastoral Ministries, Houses of Retreat and Welcome – with JPICS as a priority that weaves through all areas of life and mission.
Cognizant of a very rich history marked by violence and martyrdom, there is a growing consciousness of the need for an ongoing discernment in order to determine the most effective and realistic way to live and remain faithful to their fundamental options and to be a church that is near, humble, merciful and engaged. The promotion of LIFE and the witness to communion with a renewed commitment to accompanying processes of formation is a task that has been assumed with responsibility. Working in teams and strengthening networks and links in the work of liberation, transcending frontiers in order to construct the body are ongoing challenges together with the invitation to keep innovating and re-inventing the culture of peace, reconciliation and dialogue.
Transformative Education in the Province of Central America-Cuba is the air that the Province breaths. In LIVING FIDELITY and rooted in the faithful following of Jesus and the charism of the Assumption ; with INCLUSIVE INTEGRITY where every one and all of creation, with profound respect and harmony, have the space to become who and what they are meant to be ; and a commitment to INNOVATIVE RESPONSIBILITY that dares to reinvent with responsibility all that it will take to establish the Kingdom of God here and now, the experience of Transformative Education in the Province was an experience of God. The province is aware that it is God who ultimately transforms but that we are to be sensitive to every opportunity and every occasion where God’s transforming action may take place. Each educator, each person is an object of transformation and ours is the responsibility to facilitate, sustain and support this by creating the climate and the space where this may happen.
I thank the Province of Central America-Cuba for the transforming experience that was the visit for me. And together we rekindle our commitment as we sing –
Señor, toma mi vida nueva … estoy dispuesta a lo que quieras
no importa lo que sea tu llamame a servir
Llevame donde los hombres necesiten tus palabras, necesiten mis ganas de vivir
donde falte la esperanza, donde falte la alegría, simplemente por no saber de ti
Te doy mi corazon sincero para gritar sin miedo Tu grandeza, Señor
Tendre mis manos sin cansancio, tu historia entre los labios y fuerza en la oración.
Y asi en marcha ire cantando por calles predicando lo bello que es tu amor
Señor tengo alma misionera conduceme a la tierra que tenga sed de ti. (3)
Sr. MarJo, ra
(1) Dame Señor tu Mirada by Cecilia Rivero Borrell, RSCJ – Grant me, Lord, Your gaze, so that I may see from Your gaze…
(2) Casa Abierta by Jesús Mariano Alonso Montes – We are all human…we all share good feeling within.. friendship does not question what you believe… does not distinguish between what one worships nor one’s flag… the house (the heart) is open…
(3) Alma Misionera by Hermana Glenda – Lord, take my life anew… I am ready for whatever you want…wherever you call me to serve… where persons need your word, where they need my will to live, where hope is lacking, where joy is missing or simply where you are not known. I give you my sincere heart to fearlessly shout of your greatness, Lord. I will have my tireless hands, your story in my lips and strength in prayer. And walk in the streets singing and preaching how beautiful your love is. Lord, I have a missionary soul, take me to the land that thirsts for You.