Twelve lay SSpS missionaries from Africa, Asia, America and Europe, participated in the Seminar “SSpS Mission Partners towards deepening Communion”, at the Generalate in Rome from 23 to 29, last February. Who are they? What are they doing? What are the wishes and suggestions? Check out the article!

“There is a diversity of gifts, but one Spirit. Ministries are diverse, but one is the Lord. There are also different works, but it is the same God who works everything in everyone.”  (1 Cor 12, 4-6)

With this feeling of diversity of gifts, ministries and works, but one Spirit, twelve SSpS Mission Partners from Africa, Asia, America and Europe, participated in the Seminar “SSpS-Mission Partners towards deepening Communion”, at the Generalate in Rome, from 23 to 29 February. The Seminar was prepared by Srs. Eleonora Cichon, Gretta Fernandes and Ms. Magdalena Beier – Mission partner from Germany. With happiness, gratitude and faith, they shared vision, desires, dreams, opportunities, suggestions on the participation of the “Companions in Mission”. This is the name the Mission Partners would like to call themselves.

Fortify and maintain the collaboration of lay SSpS missionaries, share a common vision for a better collaboration, propose a plan to implement the Seminar according to each reality, elect two participants and prepare the Statement for the 15th General Chapter were the objectives represent our reflections.

The Congregational Leader Sr. Maria Theresia and the General Councillor Sr. Eleonora, opened the seminar reaffirming the theme: SSpS-Mission Partners towards deepening Communion.

The opening Mass was celebrated by the SVD General Superior, Fr. Budi Kleden, who preached about the spirit for building new paths that the Spirit carries out, as well as about the SSpS documents that manifest the need to increase the participatory leadership of lay people and have the courage to accept and appreciate differences.

Lay missionaries from Germany, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Philippines, Ghana, Netherlands, India, Indonesia-Timor Leste, Paraguay and Taiwan shared experiences of communion lived in their countries and mission activities. There was also sharing about the activities of the Lay Missionaries of the Divine Word Society. Some SSpS Sisters enriched the Seminar with inputs on Church’s documents and SSpS Congregation’s journey with the laity.

Dr. Susanne Ruschmann gave a lecture on “Enlarging the circle, Jesus and the limits”. When Jesus deals with limits there is a starting point and a clear objective: his concern to spread God’s boundless love.

A very special moment was the greeting that Pope Francis made at the General Audience, on February 26, to lay SSpS missionaries.

Intensive prior work was carried out with the responses to the Questionnaire received from all provinces / regions and, during the Seminar, with the twelve representatives working on the Statement for the 15th General Chapter. Some points of the Statement that will be presented at the 15th General Chapter in Steyl in May this year, by the elected representatives Juan Matías (Argentina) and Richar González (Paraguay) are:

Who we are?

We are women and men (consecrated and not consecrated) of different nationalities and ages, co-responsible for the mission with the SSpS:

  • Committed to Trinitarian spirituality and the missionary charism;
  • We chose to share our gifts and talents in the different areas and pastorals of the mission.

We feel part of the Arnoldus Family as a source of happiness, strength and hope. We walk with the congregations founded by Saint Arnold Janssen, living the spirituality and charism in our daily lives in the face of the urgency of the times and collaborating with the discernment and work of the Congregation of the Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit; carrying out the internal mission (domestic church – family) and the external mission (Ad Gentes), expanding circles of communion.

Vision as companions in the mission

We are a group of companions in the mission, expanding the circle of communion, inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit who renews, dynamizes and rejoices the mission with the SSpS and responds to new challenges in our world, promoting life and dignity and taking care of the home common.

We want to communicate to SSpS sisters

Grateful and inspired by the fruits of living in the spirit of communion, we wish to continue our missionary journey together with greater participation and collaboration with SSpS, fostering the spirit of mutual respect and trust, co-responsibility, continuous formation, deeper commitment, renewed enthusiasm and fervor.

That regional, provincial and intercontinental leadership teams be created to work collaboratively between the Companions of Mission and the SSpS and begin to work with the responses to the questionnaires in preparation for this Seminar.

Thankful for the opportunity to express our thanks to the congregational leadership team and those who made this possible. This meeting was very fruitful and enriching for all of us. It is an honor to be part of the 15th General Chapter and to share our statement.

We appreciate the confidence to analyse new ways of working together. We would like to assure our support and commitment to further expand the circles of communion.

May the Holy Triune God live in our hearts and in the hearts of all people!

Maria Cristina Queiroz MaiaParticipant and SSpS Lay Mission Partner, Brazil North