By Julia Martín FI
We frame particularly important events in our lives in a date and a place. That helps us live them in a continuous present. The grace of the past is updated every day. That is what happens with “our origins”.
– Date: April 2, 1869. Good Friday, for more information.
– Place: altar of the Rosarillo (Valladolid)
– Event: Beginning –germination- the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus
– Main figures: God and Juana Josefa, in prayerful communication
– Fact: God gives to Juana Josefa a particular charism that makes her feel as “Daughter of Jesus” and asks her to found a congregation dedicated to the education of children and youth, A.M.D.G.
Juana Josefa consents to God’s plans and gives Him her Yes, like Mary. Gradually she will discover where to found (in Salamanca), when (December 8, 1871, feast of the Immaculate Conception), who will be her first companions, how they will live, dress and much more … With the help of Father Herranz, she will experience the confirmatory grace. She knows well that she is poor but, no matter, the work is of God who knows what instruments He chooses. She puts herself in His hands with total confidence.
Every April 2 leads me/us to give thanks to God who wanted to enrich the Church and the world with this charismatic grace that He gave Juana Josefa and, through her, all of us who form her big family, religious and laity. This grace reaches and commits all of us who have received it. I feel the responsibility to keep it alive being a true Daughter of Jesus.
I trust that the Holy Spirit is with us today as in the beginning..
By Matilde Blanco FI
When you invited me to reflect on: “What resonates in you this year upon contemplating the Rosarillo?”, the first thing that occurred to me was … there will be others who can better express it!
Nevertheless at the end of the day the invitation came back to me which made me stop and contemplate once more that beautiful picture, this spiritual experience of Juana Josefa, when she was looking for what God wants for her, and I thought, maybe I could say something.
Like every night, at the end of the day, I raised my eyes to the headboard and I found this picture, this Mystery, and I noticed that my feelings were quieting down and I said, you are asked to contemplate … be thankful, look for space and contemplate.
I paused for some time. I jotted down some ideas and I went to bed with that desire to contemplate more slowly a mystery which surpasses me, that of the Holy Trinity, of the Holy Family-Incarnation, the great Mystery of Mercy … “as a source of joy, serenity, and peace.”
The next day … together with “the Rosarillo” I prayed, contemplated, resumed my notes and … I remembered that when I started to read and reflect on “The Face of Mercy” by Pope Francis, I stopped long enough in something that summed up well “the Rosarillo” for me. Mercy is the word that reveals the mystery of the Holy Trinity … I associated it with the experience of our Mother Foundress who understood from the mystery what God wanted to do through her life, poor and simple, but full of hope and strength, nothing less than to make our Congregation, Daughters of Jesus, for the Catholic education of peoples, arise in the Church …
I have often asked what would have become of me without this generous response of Candida Maria de Jesus. And I thank God for this day April 2, 1869, paving the way for all of us who have been called to be Daughters of Jesus, and we continue that way, despite the difficulties.
For me, getting into this “great mystery” of “Mercy” is helping me see with the eyes of God what I live every day, the mediations, helps, coincidences that life is giving me and that it’s not always easy to live them as a gift because it involves a lot of dispossession, of selflessness, of entering another dynamic different from what reality pushes us into, almost without our realizing it.
So when contemplating this beautiful and historic scene I see, I hear, I look at … the “cry” of so many people, both near and far, who need hands of mercy, an open heart, new hope.
I wonder, before this, what I can do? What am I willing to do? How will my life go on after contemplating this mystery of a God full of Mercy, who always forgives, coming out to meet me, inviting me every day?
Open questions that must be answered every day and at every moment, with one’s own life.
In this Easter season, a time of joy and hope, it is good for me to remember these words of St. Paul to the Romans, 12: 8: “whoever does acts of mercy should do it with cheerfulness.”
I also want to greet with joy all of you Daughters of Jesus this Easter that we are beginning to celebrate, and at the same time, I invite you to look again at our history, thank God for what we have experienced, and be open to the future which the Risen Christ gifts us with.
Pope Francis, toward the end of the Bull of the Jubilee of Mercy, tells us that “no one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary.” May she place us with her Son and help us to live it generously…