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On August 31st 2014, the Brazilian Area joined the rest of the Congregation in celebrating a Ritual for the Transfer of the General House. The ritual was held at the Frances Schervier Formation Center, in Goiânia. Associates Jairo José da Silva, Marli Moreira Barbosa, Ataci Almeida Borges, Arminda Maria Miranda Almeida, Salomé Machado Ribeiro, Divino Áureo and Edna Maria do Nascimento Oliveira and their daughter, Ana Luisa Oliveira joined the Sisters, actively participating in the prayer. Moreover, Sisters Tânia Machado and Maria Helena Carvalho invited Neusina and Maria José Carvalho, a couple preparing to make their first commitment as Associates, to participate in the Ritual.

goianarel 01The Sisters and Associates who have actively participated in the ritual

goianarel 02The chapel ready for the ritual We began with a song invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit. Then, Sister Tânia explained briefly how the Prayer Ritual would proceed and, in a symbolic way, bring us into communion with all the Sisters and Associates of the Congregation as together we prepare for the transfer of the General House from Brooklyn NY to Rome in October 2014.

She recalled the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor arrival to the United States in 1858; the transfer of the Generalate from Rome to Brooklyn NY in 1968; and finally the move back to Rome in 2014. She introduced the material displayed on the table: a portrait of Blessed Frances Schervier, the Holy Bible, three copies of the SFP Directories, a candle, pictures of Sisters and Associates and two suitcases.

We spent some time praying and reading the reflections contained in the booklet, and learned the ritual involving the suitcases -- and responded to the Rite’s motivational questions by sharing personal reflections as follows:

 

goianarel 03The suitcase symbol of arrival in the United States and the transfer to Rome What hopes for the future of the Congregation do you carry in your heart?

• “An increased number of people working for the benefit of those who are most needy;”

• “Growth in faith sharing, trust in God and the presence of our Healing Charism among young people;”

• “That the Congregation will grow in communion and membership, attracting vocations, and increasing the number of Sisters, especially in Brazil;”

• “That the Congregation continue its work around the world, helping many people and giving them a new life;”

• “That this transfer take place smoothly, in the hope of a promising future and the expectation of renewal, as new Sisters enter the Congregation;”

• “Courage to face new challenges;”

• “That this change will be for the good of the Franciscan community and the Church, and that we will generate more social projects and the human and financial resources needed for them.”

goianarel 04Cane Cutters, Militão Dos SantosWhat blessings for the Congregation and for yourself do you foresee with the transfer?

• “The blessings of peace, that everything happens naturally, according to the will of God; blessings for the opening of new horizons.”

• The blessing of renewal and guidance by the Holy Spirit. Going ahead with more enthusiasm, peace, charity, giving of oneself while taking on the Charism of Blessed Frances Schervier.”

• “That God’s blessings go with us a, led by God’s grace, we seek new horizons. I wish the Congregation may be renewed with this move;”

• “May the Congregation have a renewal and be blessed always for following the Charism of Mother Frances;”

• “The blessing of accepting change, something that is so constant in our lives.”

goianarel 05 “Easier intercontinental mobility to the places where the Congregation operates. Easier ways to prepare members for the Congregational Leadership Team who will now be in Italy where the largest number of younger Sisters live;”

• “The courage to take risks when thinking about the future;”

• “Maintaining unity while being open to the new; having the detachment that is needed at this moment in our history;”

• “As an Associate, I am a physically distant from the headquarters of the Congregation, a symbolic seed. My hope is the Sisters in Leadership live in harmony in their new home, responding to the true call from God received at some point in their lives.”

• “The blessing of finding new vocations, and the strength of youth which will alleviate the burden of the elderly American Sisters.

At the conclusion of our moment of sharing, we prayed a Litany and, forming a circle, we prayed the Our Father. Our final prayer and ended with a song in praise of Blessed Frances Schervier. Then each person marked with the sign of the cross on the forehead of the person next to her to signify God’s blessing as we to fulfill His command to always go on straight ahead.

Our gathering was very significant to all who attended, each person expressing joy and gratitude to the Congregation for the opportunity to participate together in the move of the General House.

 

Sister Tania Maria Ribeiro Machado

Published: November 20, 2014