Between the laziness of starting a new quarter after Christmas, the cold expected for Castilla-Leon, the “idleness” that meant thinking a whole week locked up, sitting and listening, …, we arrived in Salamanca last Sunday, January 8, the group of professors and members of the Provincial Team for Educational Works, that configured the IV edition of formation for directors. Today, Friday, January 13, when we said goodbye and each one of us left for our places of origin, the warmth that came from each of us in those “see you soon”, “see you in April”, “it has been a pleasure”, “what a good time we had!”, “we are family”, …, has been the expression and manifestation of the week that we have lived.
This third meeting for formation in Salamanca is what we call the “institutional week”, the week in which we encounter our origins, the source of life that gives us meaning as a family and as a body that derives, assumes and gives continuity to the charism of Mother Candida.
The themes that have brought us together have been those of apostolic leadership, centered on the figure of Mother Candida, a woman who, given the social, political and religious circumstances of the moment she lived, knew how to respond to her dream with fidelity, joy, strength in God, availability and service, trust, universalism, humility and simplicity. Antonio Grau, very much of the family, invited us, as directors, in today’s moment, to seek with interest the good of each person, helping him in his process, to draw out the best of himself. We are left with the four “C’s” of Mother Candida: “Calidad, Caridad, Calidez y Confianza” [Quality, Charity, Warmth and Trust].
Elías López, SJ, and Mª Luisa Berzosa, FI, led us into Ignatian leadership, gave us very clear guidelines for discerning: stop, step back, connect with your values, become aware of it, ask yourself which values block you, which sustain you, and, from there, decide. And taking another step, Julia Martín, FI, spoke to us of Ignatian leadership, of the attitudes needed to discern, of the rules of discernment in the Spiritual Exercises, of consolation and desolation, of motions, …
Raquel Amigot spoke of the service of government, about the root and horizon in the Congregation, and gave us the features and characteristics desirable in those who have authority: charity, humility, transparency, trust and the ability to receive and give collaboration, all very much in keeping with the leadership qualities of M. Candida.
Mª Luisa also spoke to us of the most needy and of the challenges presented to us as Christian educators; and Marian Cantalejo and Mª Carmen Jiménez, both Daughters of Jesus, talking about the current accents of our Mission, closed the talks of the week.
On Wednesday we traveled to Valladolid, to hold a round table discussion of experiences with former and current directors of some of our schools. It has been a week of intense experiences that have touched us in the depths of our heart, and perhaps it was the visit to the chapel of the Rosarillo and the celebration of the Eucharist there, which touched, affected and moved us most. How precious to present ourselves as directors before the altarpiece at which our Mother Candida felt the inspiration, the call, to make her dream come true, to which we are invited, all of us who are part of her family! The silence in the chapel, the Eucharistic celebration, the desire to take a photograph of all of us before the altarpiece, the feeling that our foundress had been before it and had felt that call, was what helped us to go deeper into the experience. Upon expressing our feelings, there was room for tears, to be thrilled by the emotions of others, to feel ourselves a body, network, and know that we sail in the same boat toward the same horizon.
Another emotional moment was that of the pilgrimage, interior and exterior, that each of us did in the evening walk through the holy places of M. Candida. I think it was the fourth or fifth time that I did this same tour, but never until now had I done so with such profound significance, questioning and challenging us in each of the stops we made.
As Mª Luisa said, “we have to celebrate everything”, and hence we have done so with wine, drinks, dinner, … we enjoyed each other, we shared photos, laughter, amazement, gratitude; the group was strengthened, we have been creating network, as attested to by some of the whatsapp messages that have come: “thank you all, you are wonderful”, “thank you, thank you and thank you!!! “so happy to think about the Mission”…
M. Candida, I believe that you can be very proud of the teams of educators you have in the schools, and certain, with confidence that this is not going to be lost, that we will continue, that your charism will have continuity with all of us, we shall not lack for eagerness or hope.