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aai 17 07

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aai 17 10sr Marina, sr Giannica, sr Licia
aai 17 05sr Carmen Sammut, Paola Garzi
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aai 17 06sr Licia, sr Francesca Maria
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The Italian Area Assembly, “Transformations: healing’s opportunities,” took place from March 30 to April 2, 2017. At this meeting, we deepened together – Sisters and Associates – the third Capitular Calling: “We will embrace change at all stages of life, and see them as opportunities for spiritual healing among us and within ourselves.” To prepare for this meeting, we reflected -- personally and as local community -- on the theme of transformation by watching video-interviews provided by the Preparation’s Committee for this purpose.
The Assembly was enriched by the presence of our Congregational Minister, Sr. Licia, and by Congregational Councilors Sr. Marina Triglia and Sr. Giannica Selmo. On the first day, Sr. Carmen Sammut SMNSA, president of UISG, spoke to the Sisters about the different steps of consecrated life.

Paola Garzi, consecrated of the Maria’s Oper, helped us enter the different transformations of our life more fully. The exchanges we shared on these issues enriched us very much. On the second day, the Associates joined the Sisters and with the help of Bible scholar Rosanna Virgili, we explored the theme: “The community of believers before and after the Resurrection: ecclesiastical transformation yesterday and today.”  

On April 1, Sr. Licia Mazzia gave us a charismatic roadmap to understanding Mother Frances’ transformations through listening, personal reflection and sharing. We also celebrated the renewal of the Covenant of Associates Sebastiano Passeri, Nicola Gazzano, Maria De Leo, Angela Saccà, Carlo Gazzano, Gabriella Manganaro and the 25th jubilee of Sr. Francesca Maria Tramonte. We also remembered with joy and gratitude the 70th anniversary of Mother Frances’ daughters in Italy. As a symbolic gesture: we processed to Casa Schervier, the first Italian community, where we planted a tree.

Participants felt particularly enriched:

Sr. Antonietta Urdi said: “The Assembly is a very important gathering of our Franciscan family. Through a climate of confidence and simple and constructive sharing, we further developed true and deep relationships as together we explored transformation and healing.  Now it is my turn to pay attention to essential things: the teaching of Jesus, to live moment by moment”.

Sr. Elisa Di Lorenzo: “This Area Assembly was important for me because it helped me see my story joined with that of my religious family, and to start again from this new beginning.  I am very grateful to all the speakers for sharing so much with us. Thanks to Carmen Sammut, I saw the beauty of each of the steps of life lived fully, and I understood more clearly where I am, and to respect my fragilities and those of the others.  Thanks to Paola Garzi, I learned that adaptation and self-determination are essential parts of healing that together give us the possibility to realize fully our current potential. Thanks to Rosanna Virgili, I saw my life, the Congregation and the Church itself through a different light -- as a community of “forgivers!” Welcoming this forgiveness, this mercy, is a means of rebirth, to be created again. It was nice to see the different transformations of Mother Frances and of the Congregation and how our own transformations are not so different from them. We are Mother Frances’ daughters indeed!”

Valerio Tiranti, Associate of Franciscan Sisters of the Poor: “The Assembly was an illuminating experience. Reflecting on the theme of transformation offered us a starting point in developing the relationship between the Congregation and its Associates. Together, Sisters and Associates tried to better define our identity, and with intensity, instilled the wish to build our relationship in a positive way. We tried to understand how to live the Charism as laypersons, integrating ourselves with the local communities. It was an intense Assembly, in which we felt linked to Mother Frances as sons and daughters. It stoked our enthusiasm to continue to build this sometimes-challenging relationship. I felt that the Associates role still needs to be developed fully”.

Sr. Gabriella D’Agostino: “Thinking again about the Assembly fills my heart with great joy and hope. We all felt the beautiful and joyful climate among. Sr. Licia discussion of Mother Frances helped us to enter more deeply into our call. was very impressed when she said that Mother Frances’ secret was to embrace her dreams and to let herself truly feel Jesus’s passage -- to let Jesus transform my life and to do the same with the people with whom I meet.”

Gabriella Manganaro, SFP Associate: “This was my first Assembly. I arrived enthusiastic, and felt welcomed into a great family… This Assembly confirmed to me that God loves me just the way I am and calls me to bring the Healing Charism to everyone. I feel like I should let myself be transformed and trust all these changes, because they bring new life. I returned home ready to start again, to leave my cocoon to fly like a butterfly, being sure that the world offers many great opportunities to love myself, love others and to be loved.”

With joy and gratitude for the Congregation’s transformations during its 70 years of life in Italy, and for the healing opportunities we are called to live today, we continue to learn more thoroughly Mother Frances’ invitation to, with “courage and trust,” be Apostles of the crucified and risen Christ!

Published: June 14, 2017