By Carmen Cruz FI
An altarpiece full of looks. Intertwined and convergent looks. All aimed at one goal: Jesus.
From above, for always, God the Father turns his gaze on Jesus.
The gaze of the Spirit, of God the Holy Spirit, giver of all good, descends on Jesus.
The angels, God’s creatures, look at him.
And beside him, his parents contemplate Jesus. His adoptive father, Joseph, with a humble, dedicated, faithful look. Will the gaze of the one who felt disconcerted before the mystery not reflect his gaze? Of him who doubted, hesitated before aceepting in his home the wife with the blessed fruit already in her womb? Now he, known as the man with questions of faith, looks at his son with a grateful look, full of peace and love. And with bright eyes, lost in thought, his mother, Mary of Nazareth, looks at Jesus, she who from the first moment surrendered to the God of mercy who was asking for her consent to work redemption.
Joachim and Anne -from outside- look at him, too. Their look is a look of surprise. How would they think that through their daughter the Messiah would come to Israel?
All eyes converge on Jesus. But whom does Jesus look at? His mother, yes, Mary. It could not be otherwise. It has come full circle. All looks are born of God and merge in God, in man created in his image and likeness, saved by his infinite mercy, in the new Eve.
Around the altarpiece floats unseen another look, that of Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola. Look of awe and fright, silence and answer, perplexity and peace, surrender and fear, trust and submission. An April 2 in 1869, while contemplating the altarpiece of Rosarillo, the young maid of Valladolid experienced the divine gaze and the invitation to be in the Church the first Daughter of Jesus.
By Carmen Simón FI
We have just celebrated Easter this year. And remembering that the experience of the Rosarillo took place on a day of Good Friday has brought to my heart many experiences that Mother Candida expressed in her letters, and a question as well.
Was it chance or providence that she would feel so strongly what the Lord wanted of her on a Good Friday? We do not have the answer, but the truth is that this Good Friday marked Mother Candida in that desire that she kept all her life to resemble a Jesus who carries his cross for love. Suffering with Jesus and for Jesus so many setbacks, problems, difficulties, illnesses, economic hardship… it was a constant in her life. That Jesus with his cross, who occupies the center of the altarpiece, would be forever branded on her heart. And his words as well: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16, 24).
Let’s hear how it is expressed in one of her many letters wherein she encourages us to live the paschal mystery of Jesus.
“Here I am, my mother, in this your school of Tolosa for quite some time already, arranging some business, and I do not know when it will end, suffering everywhere; but very happy and resigned, because my beloved Jesus gives me so many trials. Pray hard that I may never lack patience and that I may know how to properly correspond to as many favors as the Lord will continually provide me”. C 89 To Doña Hermitas Becerra. 1895
“… may you offer everything for love of Jesus and His Holy Mother of Sorrows, now that we are in the time when we meditate on the Passion of Jesus, our beloved Redeemer, and on the sorrows of our Blessed Mother, for they will give you strength and resignation to suffer everything patiently …; may you receive it as a proof of love of our Father Jesus who loves you as his beloved daughter, and wants you to suffer with him to help him carry the cross, and this will gain for you a very great reward”. C. 386. To Antonia Beloqui, 1910
“If ever Jesus shows us his cross, it is also true that he covers it for us with flowers, holy peace, love, strength and hope”. C. 289 To Fray Joaquín Pérez Pando. 1905
It is the same Jesus who leads her, with Him, to live the joy of the resurrection in the midst of everyday life, and she expresses it thus:
“You greeted me for Easter, wishing me every happiness, and especially that the Lord may have communicated me much of his glorious resurrection, enjoying that true joy even in the midst of the labors that the Lord may wish to send me, so that, faithfully following him in this life, afterward we may possess him forever in the other, without any fear of losing him. What happiness! The others are all deceptive, and mutable, and perishing, as you say very well.”. C. 142 To Josefa Gonzalez. 1898
I feel that today she would greet us thus for Easter 2016, wishing us real joy and reminding us of the same thing that she expressed to a Sister with so much emphasis:
“In Jesus we have everything and without Him we lose everything”. C.13 To Antonia Robles. 1889
By Mª Jesús Esnal FI
“What resonates within you this year upon contemplating the Rosarillo?” It was the invitation that Silvia made to me, and the truth is that I felt the desire to take this opportunity, as this is an experience in the process of Juanitatxo that, as I open up to it, I always notice that it gives me life, hope, trust …
And this time, in pausing before that “event”, I noticed that I could not stay in it, but that when I imagined Juanitatxo there, in that church, at that altar, she was inviting me to connect with all “her existential process”, with her history, with her “tilled land”.
Perhaps it is because every time I am more aware that ” the today of an experience” has a lot to do with the “lifestyle”, with how I read events, allowing myself to be affected and perceiving the God of history who acts in the ordinary things, who calls and to whom I respond in the small events of everyday life, the ordinary life, and that I perceive the flutter of the Spirit by opening all the senses.
I imagine that this is how Juanitatxo lived, through the data that her biography gives us:
– From childhood, living “with what is necessary”, enjoying all that nature gives, enveloped in an atmosphere of Christian faith.
– Experiencing that work is necessary, and it led her out of her town, leaving grandparents, friends …
– In Tolosa she is able to “feel internally” before the image of Saint Ignatius, and name, express it.
– At the stage of “falling in love” she feels that “another invitation” is stronger, although she does not identify it fully yet, but it is clear to her that “she is for God alone,” the God of the Kingdom.
– And her connection with what “moves her internally” is so passionate, that she is able to “leave her land”, put some distance, help with the family economy and “stay attentive to that call of God” in order to identify it.
– In Burgos are many experiences that gradually clarify for her where that call of God is being manifested: integration into the Sabater family, care of an accompanied spiritual process, relationship with people in need to the point of risking her own job, learning to discern “desiring and choosing that which leads her closer to God.”
– And again the experience of “going out”, from Burgos to Valladolid, experiencing firsthand the vicissitudes of life, the consequences of the socio-political “crisis” in the Sabater family, in her own salary … and amid everything always that desire to “recognize where and how God wanted her” …
– Always a “prayerful” woman, from where she found the strength and hope to live in that spirit so human, allowing herself to be “affected”, so incarnated.
And from this existential journey, how would this young woman of 23 years be living that Good Friday? How would she unite prayer-life?
From this “tilled-prepared land”, that heart so desirous of corresponding to the love that she felt from the Lord Jesus, of living from God’s dream for her, as in many other times she stood before the altar of the Rosarillo, but this time “those sculptures of Joseph and Mary with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father under an arch, and at the sides, St. Joachim and St. Anne. Above the central arch a medallion supported by three angels and with the anagram of the name of Jesus” made it possible for her to feel intensely something that disconcerted her, lit her up, touched the most emotional part of her being: she understood clearly that she was called to “found a new Congregation with the title of Daughters of Jesus, dedicated to the salvation of souls, through education and instruction of children and youth.”
Indeed, it was something that she had not even imagined; it had not crossed her mind, because… she did not feel capable. However, that itself gave her hints that it was not hers, but God’s; therefore this experience was always a touchstone in her life, there resided a “central motion” in her story.
And today, in our day, with the socio-political events, the economic crisis, the crisis of values, where there are so many different ways of living “religiosity”, in this culture so plural, in which God continues to bring about the history of salvation, and continues to call us, she has a Dream for the Daughters of Jesus today. Upon recalling this “Cardoner” of Juanitatxo, what echoes is me is that invitation to ask myself what style of life do I, do we, live? Is my prayer connected to the God of life , of history, of reality? Do I/we try to be unified persons, “alert” with the desire to continue listening to the God who keeps calling me and whom I answer in ordinary life? Do I/we live in the dynamics of “desiring and choosing only what leads me/us more to God? “
Thanks again, Silvia, for giving me this opportunity to relive what Juanitatxo was able to “feel and relish internally” at the age of 23.
By Pepita Soler FI
Perhaps like other days, Juana Josefa was praying before the altar of the Rosarillo. She was entering the Mystery that dwelt within her. Mystery welcomed that opened her full potential. That experience shapes her call. Meeting that opens a future that she will go through as a process. She is invited to go and look at and respond to the world through the eyes and entrails of Jesus.
How many crucified people, waiting, without her knowing it, for her yes, as a new annunciation, as their desires of life would depend on her response.
That experience goes beyond everything she could dream of. Not only to go to all people to be for everyone, but a Congregation formed as a sign of universal communion of all peoples.
This day brings me back to that meeting of Mother with the Virgin Mary, and ultimately with God. And I receive an invitation to a new beginning, in my relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as in the manner of all my relationships… I feel called to live intensely my relationship with Him, while I am touched physically by so many crucified people with whom I share the everyday. Their looks return me to the gaze of Jesus, and his touch and his friendship lead me to all the world crucified.
In each tiny spark of life in which we are remade together I am brought back to the experience of the Resurrection.
The Lord, scope of Mercy, relocates us in Hope.
He who has called us fraternizes the diverse and takes us into processes that like Mother that day, neither do we know, but which we have to go through, because the dream of God in us for the world that He so loves, once more exceeds what we are able to perceive, recognizing the gift of knowing that the Risen One is the Crucified.
By Celia Amorós FI
The Rosarillo is the fresh fountain, the most transparent and pure echo that comes to us from the inner experience of Mother Candida regarding her vocation as Foundress and the nature of the same congregation. A time when so many things present in her heart from the preceding months condense and acquire a name, a confirmation. A time when she touches the essence of this unprecedented call and puts it in simple words and responds with a leap from poverty to the immensity of God, to the heart of God.
For conventional wisdom the things that will follow are not so clear at that moment, but she welcomes the grace of risking everything, leaving behind any personal projects of a religious life in any existing community, and agrees to be guide, be an instrument for others, risk, give life and accompany a new, small congregation that bears the name of Jesus, makes Him its center and seeks the good of souls.
The Rosarillo is actually the birth of the Congregation, two years before December 8, 1871.
The resonance that this date produces in me is the gratitude for the call to be a Daughter of Jesus, for the sisters who, since my teens at the College of Elche until the present moment in Italy, have passed on to me and convey many times what the Rosarillo means: the joy of walking with God, service to the faith and the growth of every person.
By Mª Carmen Jiménez FI
Today the Rosarillo speaks to me of Family, the family of Jesus and the Trinity, the great family of Christians and our charismatic family; the Family of Mother Candida, of Daughters of Jesus and laity.
Today it speaks to me as well of the passage of belonging forever, of perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus, that of Nieves, Johana and Massiel.
Today that altarpiece of the Rosarillo, as a backdrop or composition of place for Juana Josefa, speaks to me of the motion of the Spirit gestated in prayer, contemplation, service, discernment with contrast and accompaniment, motion that waits for a response and obtains it, and this unfolds in Life.
The Rosarillo once again today, continues to place me before Jesus… and all of us who live today in a shared mission, anywhere in the world, before all the Daughters of Jesus and laity who have gone ahead of us, walking in front of Jesus, walking to the other … seeking more the good of our neighbors, helping them to grow as autonomous, creative and committed people…