I came to Ayete to accompany the older Sisters.
And it’s the other way round: I feel so well accompanied … I feel very much part of the Congregation, so Daughter of Jesus … vital and in the Spirit.
It is so rich, the life of these Sisters …! Jesus already told us. We know them by their fruits. Fruits that have been borne. Such a life is not improvised.
It is true that the biological curve descends; that not only the joints get rusty, but also the brain neurons. And memory and attention and everyday logic fade with the passage of time. And there are clashes and misunderstandings and obsessions and ravings.
But the roots, the depths of the soul reveal a special presence of our FATHER GOD. A radical discipleship of Jesus. A surrender of life … “in many ways”.
Ages? Well … until 100 and 102 years.
And several levels: the fully autonomous who walk without supports.
Dependency begins when you have to use the walking stick. Then the walker. And the dependence becomes total when, confined to the wheelchair, you are taken by others; or you lie on your bed of pain.
The life of these Sisters is still so rich …!
It is true that some coincided with the first Daughters of Jesus, companions of M. Candida. They drank from the charismatic wellspring. They picked up and handed us the torch.
And they have simply lived “authentic Daughters of Jesus”, as a matter of course.
They have made possible “… a Congregation of love, of union, of true and fruitful apostolate”.
As the first witnesses of Jesus lived the gospel, the good news of Jesus, before the Gospels were written.
Analogically, something like this must have happened.
They lived that intuition of the Rosarillo, expressed in the Rules and Customs, with the simplicity and joy of the Anawin.
Then came the texts, the richness of all our spiritual patrimony, also the conciliar breath of the SPIRIT.
The life of these Sisters is still so rich …!
Authentic Daughters of Jesus, true and fruitful apostolate, their lives surrendered, have made possible the Congregation that it is today.
Here and beyond the oceans, on other continents; it was they who forged the longing of M. Candida … To the ends of the earth I would go in search of souls … Like her: always on the way out, in search.
They are the energy of the Spirit for our Congregation. Roots in this land of ours, which nurture the congregational sap. Foundations supporting the building. The roots are not seen. Nor the foundations. The fallen leaves are scattered by the cold wind; the facade would fall without being sustained.
All I do is look, contemplate those lips that whisper prayers, those fingers already inert, that squeeze and crush the crucifix of the worn rosary. That head nodding for long periods before the tabernacle. That look, perhaps without seeing, but profound, when the conversation revolves around the paths of God, human sufferings and avatars, the Blessed Virgin, Jesus, the Congregation, our mission here and there … How much interest and how they live it!
And it is normal that they bring to the memory experiences of old. These experiences are historical strata of the congregational becoming. Listening to them is good. It leads us deep into our way of being and proceeding. Of being in the world.
And what synergies still: how they help each other. Some just caring about others, or peeling the fruit which no longer obeys the knife, or accompanying, or pulling one’s wheelchair when the assistant is busy. Caring for the flowers they cultivate with effort and care; what flower arrangements in the chapel and oratory! Or fraternizing by playing cards. They alternate the computers, which keeps them in relationships, with the crochet they do not forget.
Others visit the prison or have contacts with Romanians or other displaced persons. Their apostolic vocation reaches even to the parish. An artistic dimension is also present in this community. Our Ma.Cruz Báscones, a volcano of creativity and energy, in her 80’s continues to publish books and exhibit her ceramic works in various rooms … The Song of Songs, Our Father, The Beatitudes, The Apocalypse … Nothing stops her. Her workshop is the paradigm of the artist. Those of us who enter there, do not know where to step; but she has another principle of order … and knows where everything is.
Now she exhibits a collection of enamels, the MAGNIFICAT, Museum of Sacred Art in Bilbao.
But the thing is, the house itself is an exhibition of oils or enamels. Also sculptures modeled in clay.
The life of these Sisters is so rich …
The Kingdom of God is not a matter of biology, but of faith, hope and committed love; from the stones may arise sons of Abraham.
The biblical story shows: Abraham, Sarah, Elizabeth … in the dry roots, the outstretched arm of God’s love fulfilled salvation. With God there is no time. I think He keeps fulfilling it.
Before, in our catalogs, in the section of the tasks of the mission, this statement was adjoined to the Sisters who were without social forces or were sick: “prays for the Congregation”.
I came to accompany you … and I have felt very much accompanied!
Teresa Zugazabeitia FI
San Sebastián, 24 july 2017