Closing of the Seminar
The 5th SSpS International Formators Seminar is finished; it is now part of our common SSpS history. Nevertheless, it continues. It had an impact on all those, who in one way or another, took part in it and will radiate to all our provinces and regions.
At 8.45 Sunday morning, all participants and staff members gathered for the last time in the conference hall. The reading taken from the book of Ecclesiastes reminded us of the circle of life: there is a time to arrive, and there is a time to depart. In procession, we walked to the church, as we sang and felt in our hearts: “We are Companions on the Journey”. Inside the church, Sisters from the SSpS Timor Province communities, some SVDs and friends were already gathered.
We recalled how we were gathered in the same place for the first time three weeks ago, on Pentecost Sunday. Little did we know then what blessings were waiting for us. Today, we had come together once more to count these blessings and thank the Triune God for having been so wonderfully at work within and among us.
What a journey it has been… with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, our faithful companion, and in communion with each other, as sisters from different cultural backgrounds, united in the same spirituality, and on fire for the same mission: formation. Though we came here as formators, we ourselves, nonetheless, have been formed – by the Spirit at work, by the resource persons (among them our own sisters), by our sharings, by a culture and a people who have welcomed us with open arms and generous gestures.
For three weeks, this beautiful place of Bello had become our pasture – a place to reflect on our identity as SSpS, to be renewed in our spirituality, to grow in passion for formation ministry. “Bello is a simple place”, noted by our Mass presider, “yet, it is the place where something new began.” We celebrated this new beginning with an intercultural spirit – songs and readings in different languages, an offertory procession, and the Indish Arati.
Toward the end of mass, Sr. Maria Theresia addressed us, this time not in words, but gestures. In order for us to bring to our provinces and regions something tangible, besides the digital seminar materials and experiences, the three Sisters from the CLT gifted each of us a symbol: the papal cross of Pope Francis. It depicts the Good Shepherd and serves as a reminder – Who is journeying with us, and by Whom we are called to journey with others as well.
The Closing Mass was followed by lunch. Since then, three sisters have already departed from Bello and are now travelling back to their respective countries. The rest of us will follow in the coming days; we leave this place with nostalgia and joy at the same time. May the blessings that we have received bear much fruit as we continue our journey in companioning toward communion.
Sr. Michaela Leifgen – texts
Sr. Maria Yosefina Neno – photos
Sr. Nancy Noguera – Spanish translations
Sr. Marides Santos – design, editing and posting