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Response by Mother General on Global Compact on Education (II)

December 21, 2020

After listening to the interventions of the different participants: directors, father and alumnus, and student of one of our schools in the Philippines, I was pleasantly impressed by the human and academic quality, the spiritual depth and the assimilation of our charismatic traits from “Our Characteristic Way of Educating ”. I value the work that Hijas de Jesús and Lay Educators have done and continue to do in the Philippines. A ripe fruit is now being perceived.

We are all experiencing the impact and effects of the Covid 19 pandemic and in this context they make their reflections on the Global Compact on Education that Pope Francis wishes to promote in the Church, with civil states and government bodies.

– Professor Eleazar Solas invited us to “look reality in the eye”: that of our students, those we have in the classroom every day, and with and from them, to ensure that their dignity is taken care of. From the valuation of each one for what he is and can, and offering the appropriate tools for growth in his own self-esteem. In this way we can train physically, psychologically and spiritually healthy people. We are all loved by God who is our Father. And these people with good self-esteem can achieve better insertions in areas of society. We have to work on the social dimension of the human being from an early age.

– Allow me to highlight the work of Dr. Lu, former student and a parent of the school in Davao. He has placed a positive criticism of our current educational system, bringing as an example that of Finland, finding in these values ​​of the gospel and OCWE. I was struck by an aspect that I am discovering as something universal: Why is it that educators give so much work for children and adolescents at home? This entails a difficult organization of the family’s leisure time. But it is a phenomenon that I have heard in all schools in at least five countries in Latin America. There are some issues there that have to be paid attention to. The child does not learn more because he has more tasks to do at home “to fix content.” You have left other very important elements that for reasons of time I do not dwell on.

– The reflection on the margins and the verification of the 10 million children who were forced to drop out of school seemed appropriate to me. And those 250 million school-age children excluded from all educational activities as a result of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. It places us before a challenge of openness, acceptance and welcome of the most marginalized and vulnerable. I thank Professor Rhodora for this sensitivity to the reality of childhood and adolescents in training. From the charism of our Foundress, the education of childhood and youth, I leave you the question: Mother Candida Family – Daughters of Jesus and lay people – in what way can we respond to this pressing situation? Where and how is the Lord calling us?

– Professor Edna Giner tells us about the importance of the family as the first educational institution. We have a great responsibility as School of Mother Candida to accompany and help the families that come to our schools, and to collaborate with them in the education of their children. Let us never forget that the school institution comes to complete the education that has already started at home. That is why it is very important that the family and the school dialogue a lot, reach common agreements. That will give security in the growth of our children. It will make them grow in healthy self-esteem and prepare them to face a future that is challenging.

– I appreciate the sensitivity of our student Anezka to philosophy. Anezka presents to us the challenge of the situation of women in the world. And the statistics that she puts up worried me, they made me think about what we are doing and what else we can do. The dignity of the human person means that women and men have the same opportunities and rights, the same obligations and commitments. “If you can prevent one child from belittling another because of her sex, you can change her whole world.” This phrase seemed very strong to me. Anezka invites us to a commitment in favor of women, and that affects the education we provide to our boys and girls. And this can start right now. Thank you Anezka for your commitment. Help us to live it that way.

In the end, I would like to underline some approaches or aspects of the Compact that acquire a special resonance on this 150th anniversary that we Daughters of Jesus are preparing to celebrate.

We live in circumstances of immense pain, of loss for thousands of people around the world; for a great majority, illness and death are added to other previous deficiencies. We celebrate this event in a context of “change of era”, as Pope Francis tells us, we educate citizens of a new era, we are called to build with those who will live it more fully.

At the end of the Eucharist on the day of the Immaculate Conception, the beginning of this jubilee year, echoing the words of Mother Candida, I made some invitations that, in a way, I am going to repeat, but from this perspective of the Global Compact on Education:

Care for one another … Mother Candida wrote: “We are under divine providence, and God, as a kind Father, watches over us.” A propitious way of making this charism alive is by caring for the entire creation, for people and for the relationships between one another.

If we educate for the protection of the common home, we will be manifesting something of the care that God has for all creatures and especially for each one of his sons and daughters. We will study and learn to find another way of growth and progress, that is at the service of the human being. And the person, every person, with his abilities, possibilities, with the richness of that “character” that M. Cándida wanted us educators to know well, will be at the center, not the learning standards or the bureaucracy or other elements that could blind us to the main thing.

Live in hope…, I said last December 8, “Our cause is in the hands of God. We are Hijas de Jesus. He will defend us from all evil. This is our hope and we will not be overwhelmed.” Mother Candida thus shares her deep experience of hope. She expresses this gift from God with simplicity, it is her way of living the gospel. To educate is an act of hope, says Pope Francis. Let us take care and be consistent with what has served us and that remains, beyond the many, deep and rapid changes we are going through, so that the protagonists of the future may also find meaning, discover what really matters and makes them happy. Hope that recognizes that this world has a lot of goodness, of which we are part, and which we have to bring each other.

From there it is truly right to welcome the initiative of children and young people, that we may help them discover the goodness that they carry within them. In this way we will be trusting and also, almost, educating the family, as the first and indispensable educator.

Always have a universal horizon: Mother Candida’s phrase, “The world is too small for my desires”, you know, expresses it to me. The world, the common home, the global village. Always enlarge the place of our tent, there is room for all.

All also means the girls, their full participation in the learning and social processes. All are especially the most vulnerable, the least favored, those left behind, “the discarded.” All means each one of us,  those near and far, in a “small” world when it comes to bringing the good news of the Lord Jesus.

I take this opportunity to extend to our lay brothers and sisters of the Indico-Pacific the call that the Pope makes to us to “get into the fields that are shouting the need for an evangelical announcement”, he tells us: “do not be afraid, as long as you do not go alone, go with the Lord ”. Let’s go together and with the Lord!

With deep gratitude and hope, let us add, in our educational endeavor, a future link to this chain of history that began 149 years ago.