By Sr. Dani Brought, ASC
As soon as the U.S. Regional Assembly ended, I headed off to Guatemala to facilitate a weeklong seminar on Maria De Mattias for the young men of the CPPS Latin American province who are completing their year of special formation. I was excited to go and share with our CPPS brothers who were eager to learn more about our foundress saint. When I arrived, Guatemala was on day eight of country wide civil unrest with peaceful demonstrations and roadblocks as the people protested on behalf of democracy and against corruption in the current government shown in the deliberate efforts on the part of the Attorney General’s Office to undermine the results of the recent presidential election.
But my journey to the CPPS seminary was meant to be as the roadblock to the airport opened up just as Fr. Victor was on his way to meet me and as we were driving back to the seminary, we looked in the rearview mirror and saw the roadblock go up right after we had passed through. It was like a miracle and I do believe Maria De Mattias had something to do with this!
That evening the seminar, titled The Spirit of Maria De Mattias and the Adorers Embodying It Today, began with introductions of the three seminarians and director and our sharing of hopes for the week. I shared that my hopes for our time together were that their hearts would be touched by Maria, that they would learn a little about her and the ASCs, that they wouldn’t be bored, and that technology would work! Technology was very important for this seminar because I knew I couldn’t speak for a whole week on Maria De Mattias and in Spanish, at that. So, during the week we had nine ASCs, Zooming in from six different countries sharing about diverse aspects of Maria De Mattias and how the Adorers live that aspect in their own reality today…all done on Zoom and the technology worked like another miracle of this week.
Topics ranged from Maria’s historical life, her connections as foundress with Gaspar and Merlini, her spiritual life and charism, as educator, her service to our “dear neighbor” on the peripheries and promotor of justice, Maria as a prophetic woman of courage and pilgrim into the future. We had PowerPoint presentations, we had prayers, we had songs, we had conversations…and not once was anyone bored! From the U.S. Region, Srs. Joan Hornick and Kris Schrader were two of the presenters and they did a great job sharing about Maria and engaging with the three seminarians and their director. And like a miracle, all our hopes for the week were realized to overflowing. The seminarians expressed it themselves:
– “The whole story of St. Maria De Mattias inspires us to assume a missionary commitment wherever we are.”
– “I was impressed by the details of each one, their way of being, their experiences as missionaries, as Adorers, most of them spoke of the “dear neighbor.”
– “I felt that listening to all the sisters gave us hope to follow Christ in a specific mission and no matter what it is, what matters is the strength of will and faith in God.”
– “Just as Maria De Mattias was courageous in founding the ASCs, I am also courageous to move forward to help continue St. Gaspar’s Institute as my life’s project and purpose.”
The week was a blessing for all…the seminarians, the CPPS formation director, the sisters who shared their experience of Maria, and for me in the gift of spending a week listening and sharing the wonderful stories of our congregation and helping others to grow in their love for Maria De Mattias. Gracias!