Two years after the celebration of the Synod of the Amazon, and in the month that the Church dedicates to praying for the missions, we remember and thank the sending of the first two Daughters of Jesus to the Amazon.

In August, sisters Kenia Cedeño FI and Yomarys Tolentino FI were sent to collaborate in a project to support the education of Amazonian peoples by participating in the  REIBA  (Amazon Bilingual Intercultural Education Network).

An article of the CG XVIII determination and the memory of a recent sending...

[13] Poverty in Mother Candida is “to go"  to live and proclaim the Gospel. Availability leads us to be in continuous itinerancy, to get out of ourselves, and to go to those most in need. It asks us to be bold, as a Body, to reach the frontiers of today's world and prepares us to listen to the cry of the world to share in the Mission of Christ. 

We are already on the way, in these months Kenya and Yomarys are preparing, from distance training, in collaboration with others for their future arrival at the beginning of next year in Amazonian territory, wishing to live there the interculturality, inter-congregationality, and itinerancy that this experience supposes.

 

TESTIMONIES OF  KENIA AND YOMARYS

As a Daughter of Jesus, what is your gift to offer in the Amazon?

Kenya: My whole being as the Daughter of Jesus is the gift I bring to the Amazon. My gratitude for " so much received" that these will be translated into love and service... I also carry joy and welcome as a gift.

Yomarys: As a daughter of Jesus, I will offer to the Amazon the gift of passionate service for the Kingdom and my vocation as an educator. From the initial formation, I wanted to be a teacher in rural schools. Also, my ecological sensibility.

What deep desires does the preparation you are carrying out awaken in you?

Kenya: Every Tuesday and Friday we receive, together with 15 other REIBA volunteers, information about life in the Amazon and I am feeling very strongly the challenges and challenges that this "lung-heart" of the world poses... They are for me the voice of God who invites me to enter "barefoot” in that sacred land.

Yomarys: Preparation, rather than awakening, is confirming me in my deep desires to go where other people don't want to go.  My consecrated life is to serve the most vulnerable.

In the face of this sending, how does the motto of the Jubilee Year resonate in your heart: "A charism..."?

Kenya: It fills me with the hope that this gift from God to Candida Maria, this living charism, now also has an Amazonian face and begins to be a shared path between the rich and diverse cultures of that great piece of our planet.

I go happy, with God inside and with a song of life... full, like a full moon!

Yomarys: I think our going there responds to the motto of 150 years. I do not doubt that the charism is alive and that the path must be followed by sharing; and what better place than the Amazon that cries out for collaboration with so much human and ecological vulnerability. I think it's a response, as a body, to give of the little we have. I credit that Candida Mary is happy with this sending.

 

The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Querida Amazonia", the final document of the Synod, synthesizes the dreams of the Church as the People of God after a long process. Dreams that need our part and summon us to four conversions:

Cultural, the Word also becomes Flesh in us and invites us to set our tent next to others and live that dream of a “we” as a fraternal and filial community.

Pastoral, to be born again of water and the Spirit, to connect ourselves to the grace of the sacrament of Baptism and to feel very much loved, to manifest the love of the Father we have received, who sends us to be sisters of all.

Integral-ecological, becoming aware that all beings are intercommunicated and this understanding allows us to create attitudes of commitment, care, and love for Mother Earth.

Synodal expanding the development of ministries and the participation of its members.

An important antecedent of this process is the Encyclical  "Laudato Sí"  from its invitation to the care of the common home and the experience of integral ecology is intimately linked to the dreams already commented on and expressed in “Dear Amazonia".

The synods are a shared path of reflection in which people representing different groups linked to the subject in question participate. For more than a year, the people appointed to participate go through different stages. 

The synodal process could be said to culminate in a meeting in the Vatican where the sessions of the Synod itself are held. In the post-synod, the document that summarizes the main reflections of the dialogues is published and the work continues to live the new calls that the Spirit makes to the Church-People of God, in this case, present in Amazonian lands.

In 2017, Pope Francis convened a special Assembly, then Synod for the Amazon, concerned about the population of the vast Amazonian soil, especially the indigenous people. On January 19,  2018, he visited this region and was able to contemplate- know the reality with his own eyes. 

The Synod for the Amazon was held in Rome from October 6 to 27, 2019. The preparatory document for the synod collected, after the listening process, the data of the Amazonian political-social-ecclesial context that revealed the indifference that exists before the devastation of the fauna and flora of the Amazon, that is, the dismantling-deforestation as the main problem and the urgency of redirecting towards agriculture for subsistence. 

Along with this, the exploitation of people and the destruction of cultural identity, the urgency and difficulty to meet pastoral demands, facing the tension between the culture of the place and how the Church is a Gospel response from the circumstances present there.

A challenge that, as a Congregation and charismatically, we are called to live in this time...

"... commit ourselves, from all areas of our mission, to protect the common home and to live an integral ecology in communion with all creation, to combat poverty and restore the dignity of the excluded. It is a cultural, spiritual and educational challenge, inseparable from social justice..." (Calls in Apostolic Action 5)

Finally, for some moment of personal prayer, we invite you to listen to the musical composition made by the Brazilian singer-songwriter  Antonio Cardoso. From his great musical talent, he gave us the soundtrack of the Synod entitled  "Ancestral Amazonian Bread"  and was inspired by the way of cultivation used by the riverside peoples-families of the Amazon. Antonio, as a singer, has already offered his art on several occasions placing in a musical key the Amazonian theme, its people, its people, and its culture.

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