The XXXV assembly of Bolivian religious life was held in Cochabamba from January 11 to 13. As the first day coincided with the last day of our assembly, some of us participated in it:
Antonieta Hernández, Ma. Angeles Iturrioz, Ana María Rodríguez and Teresa Ramírez the last two days. We were sorry to lose the rich experience lived with the presence of Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz who shared in a simple manner the theme “Religious Life Today: Present and Future”. The good feeling that he had left among the brothers and sisters with this fraternal sharing, especially by his simplicity, transparency and the evangelical sense of his life was evident in the atmosphere.
The second day, after the celebration of the Eucharist, was dedicated to receive some brushstrokes about the reality of the country in its lights and shadows in various fields: sociopolitical, educational, religious and the New Generations of Religious Life and of course, challenges posed to us in the religious life. In the afternoon, we had the presentation of the development of the different sections of the CBR in Bolivia [Conferencia Boliviana de Religosas y Religiosos = Bolivian Conference of Religious Men and Women] recognizing the steps of progress, difficulties and commitments for this year, according to the different realities of the sections. To end the day, sharing with the typical “apthapi” of one of the cultures of the country, in which a tablecloth is placed on the floor and on it the typical meals that each congregation contributed. It was really a festive moment of fraternal joy that, once again, allowed us to see that when you share what you have and are, everything is multiplied in overflowing abundance.
He took the opportunity to congratulate, with love and gratitude, Carlos Palmes SJ who, a few days earlier (January 8), had celebrated his 90th birthday. Together with Victor Codina SJ – who in the morning presented us with the ecclesial reality – and Antonio Menacho SJ, these are the Jesuit trio who have always been faithfully supporting the CBR. Which is truly to be highlighted and appreciated.
On the last day, we had the presentation of the Triennial Plan, by the Provincial of the Jesuits (first vice president of the National Board of Directors), Fr. Oswaldo Cerviches, from the Horizon of the CLAR 2016-2018, deepening the icon and commitments which the CBR is already pursuing.
It ended with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Cardinal Joao Braz, who on this trip discovered in his Bolivian passage that in his heart there was a congenital type injury that he did not know he had. This made him surrounded by attention that he was very grateful for. His presence and his words were really very encouraging and inspiring. In the Eucharist, we had the joy of having the participation of Ma. Inez Furtado, Clara Echarte, and Graciela Francovig who were welcomed with affection. They were also accompanied by Carla Barrios, Nieves Pérez and Rommy Villarroel.
We all returned home and had a fraternal lunch with Ma. Inez and Clara and a rich “sobremesa” that was truly a spiritual conversation among sisters and that did great good to us sisters who were present in the Provincial House.
Shared here is the LETTER FOR POPE FRANCIS ELABORATED BY A COMMITTEE ON BEHALF OF THE CBR DELIVERED BY HAND,
THROUGH CARDINAL JOAO BRAZ
Cochabamba, January 13, 2017
Very dear Brother Francis:
From Bolivia, heart of Latin America, Religious Men and Women of the CBR reach our Pastor with the filial greeting that becomes a prayer for your Pontificate, as an expression of the affection and communion we feel as a Church.
Gathered in the XXXV National Encounter of the CBR, under the motto “Religious Life Today: present and future”, through this, we send our deep sense of gratitude for your paternity towards us expressed in the presence of Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz among us, who from his closeness, simplicity and profound humanity, has touched on themes that make the Consecrated Life in its current reality, with a clarity and charity that has opened for us a spectrum of challenges that move us to be what we are called To BE, “Witnesses to a different way of doing, acting and living, being eloquent signs of the Love of God and Missionaries of the joy of the Gospel.”
From what has been shared during these days, we want to manifest with joy and hope that as Consecrated Life in Bolivia, both active and contemplative, we feel that we are growing in being Prophecy with a presence more at the service of the poor and the marginalized in a social, political, economic and cultural reality somewhat adverse to the Catholic Church, which the Bolivian reality is going through.
Before this actuality, we are encouraged by the prophetic gestures of your being as a Pastor, your courage to carry forward the changes in your mission, which become light in our daily lives as consecrated men and women, for which we deeply appreciate your concern for us and because you continually motivate us toward a more radical and coherent life in the proclamation of the Kingdom.
In time to say goodbye and make you feel our closeness and affection, we send you our blessing, which you always ask for, and which we today have the opportunity to make it effective; while we assure you of our prayer, we await your paternal blessing.
With filial affection
CBR – BOLIVIA (Signed by the Board of Directors)