Fifty Sisters from every Province and region of the congregation -- including our own Sr. Lory Mapa and Sr. Catherine Soley -- are gathered at the Motherhouse in Paris from November 4 - 14, 2016 for a session on Liturgy. Sr. Catherine writes about the experience of the first day:
“Halleluiah, shouts of joy,
All the living are praising the Lord”
Our first days of the International Liturgy Session have been filled with the joy of being sisters together, focused on the source of that joy, finding its expression in liturgy.
In her opening remarks, Sr. Martine exhorted us to return to God in the liturgy, to return to our source, to the legacy we received from Marie Eugenie and Therese Emmanuel. She encouraged us to move out of what gives us security, to listen to each other and allow ourselves to be enriched!
The work of the session began with listening to individual voices from five continents. There were many common threads: liturgy defines the life of an Assumption sister; it gives form to the inexpressible. Liturgy nourishes us. It both forms and informs our community life, our ministry and our contemplation. The liturgy opens us, unites us with the prayer of the Church and the people of God.
Given the vital role of liturgy, the biggest challenge seems to be the accelerated rhythm of our lives. From the sharing that followed, it was clear that we see a responsibility to preserve the treasure that we have been given and to hand it on to the new generation.
The presentation of Sr. Cristina Masso, Spain, took us on a pilgrimage to our roots. For Marie Eugenie, liturgy is the door that opens into the mystery of prayer. It is the source: when we are full, we can give to our students. It gives us the possibility to “recognize who and what we are.” She would abandon education before abandoning the office!
Accompanying us is Fr. Pierre Faure, S.J. as an echoing voice. One initial observation was that liturgy integrates and structures the contemplative, apostolic, personal and communitarian aspects of our lives.
Our second day has been wonderfully filled with a close reading of the Eucharistic Celebration by Fr. Jean Claude Reichart. Through developing the two images of Source and Summit, he gave us insight into the transformative power of participation in the Mass, the center of Christian life in which God, through Christ, sanctifies the world.
At the end of the day, Sr. Loretto (U.S.A.), remarked that she felt like a novice! Such a perfect response to all we have and will receive: a heart open to the transformation that is already taking place!