GEOGRAPHY OF THE PROVINCE OF INDIA
Dear Sisters, Birthdays always brings a lot of joy and happiness in the life of every person. Every celebration is a symphony of love, joy, gratitude and jubilation. As we are going to celebrate the birthday of our loving Blessed Marie Poussepin it is a time of joy for each one of us in the Presentation family because she has imprinted in us the family trait of love, simplicity and hard work. Born in Dourdan from a family deeply committed Christian and works of charity she was baptised on October 14, 1653. Through her dedicated life many sick, children, youth especially the young country girls were educated, guided and supported. This year we have a special reason to celebrate this feast of Marie Poussepin because we have the presence of our sisters of the general government with us. These kinds of occasions are rare moments in our lives. May these words of Marie Poussepin, “bring the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His mysteries ”, continue to enkindle in our hearts and minds the desire to spread the knowledge and love of Christ where ever we are called.
I wish you all a very Happy Feast of Blessed Marie Poussepin!
Only One Contemplative Aim...
Love of God and love of others moved her to speak to God or of God with a charity full of mercy and compassion. Charity which knows the whole person and wants to respond to its hunger:
Hunger for bread and for knowledge
Hunger for dignity and recognition
Hunger for Truth and
Hunger for God
With generosity and abundance Marie Poussepin spread abroad the liberalities she received from heaven. Not miserliness nor stinginess, but a total gift of those who, having received gratuitously, gave gratuitously (Ratio Formationis Page 11).
Since her youth, Marie Poussepin’s faith was anchored in an open, ecclesial and committed life. Being rooted in the local Church marked her life and all her works. The sisters were sent “for the service of the parish”.
In order to give with such energy throughout her long life, Marie Poussepin applied herself to a true and solid devotion, “Imitating the life that Our Lord led on earth”. Her service to others, at the heart of her encounters with her sisters and with all those she met in one way or another. It was Our Lord, the Eucharistic Bread, the bread of the Word who nourished her and moved her to share it with others.
Following the example of St. Dominic, who learned charity in the book of the Gospel, we are intent on listening to the Word, keeping and pondering it in our heart, deepening it in the scriptures, and sharing it in our community and apostolic life. As we open our minds to the wisdom of God, we receive the Truth, allowing it to set us free.
Presentation of Mary
In confidence and joy, Marie Poussepin turned toward Mary, the Mother of Christ and our Mother. Marie Poussepin wished her community would honour and imitate Mary in the mystery of the Presentation, mystery of call, mystery of acceptance, the faith in this God who "fills the starving with good things and sends the rich away empty" . (Ratio Formationis p.12)
At the age of three, Blessed Virgin Mary was offered in the Temple of Jerusalem. She grew there under the protection and guidance of other Holy Women. She spent her life in the Temple reading the Word of God, pondering upon it and keeping it in her heart. Thus she prepared herself to be the co-redeemer of the humanity.
Within her reality as a woman, we find the most noble feelings the human heart is capable of: “the self offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement. (RM 46)
In her mystery of presentation, a mystery of listening and contemplation, of acceptance and gift, which radically consecrates her to the Lord with a "YES" which is renewed day after day. Mary is for us a model of fidelity and of gift, of the life totally fulfilled in love. (Ratio Formationis p.46)
She, as Mother of merch, walked in the way of faith, remaining united with Jesus up to the Cross and with the newly born Church and the Church of all times. She is also present in the birth and growth of the religious vocation each one of us, deeply associating herself to its fulfilment in the Holy Spirit.
Marie Poussepin placed her Community under Mary’s protection. We can always have recourse to her and the Congregation can continue “hoping to obtain everything”, if it has recourse to Her with persevering trust.
With the tenacity of the Prophet....
Marie Poussepin traced a new path for lay and religious women. With the tenacity of the Prophet she remained faithful this deep conviction:
Charity must be lived in the heart of the world with all the richness and strength of a life in community
Marie Poussepin wanted to belong to the Dominican Family, she wanted a new type of community, faithful to the traditions of the Order but also open to new needs.
These new needs were the “sick poor of the country side and the instruction of young girls”. For us today, they are the fragile and vulnerable masses in the large cities and country villages, who are waiting for the sisters’ presence in order to live freely and responsibly with the certitude that God loves them. This vitality of the Charism knows how to create a response of charity when the moment calls for it.
A question before the whole world which is thirsting for God experience… The Lord is asking: who will go for me with the peace of Christ and its good news to the world of restlessness, violence and lack of peace?. Who will give a life time radiating God’s Love, Enkindling Faith, and Inspiring Hope?
Blessed Marie Poussepin answered this question in 1696 with audacity by leaving her home to respond to the needs of her time. Her remarkable work – a life time of loving service has been an inspiration for thousands of Dominican sisters of the Presentation throughout the world in 36 countries.
Pope Francis invites us to renew our missionary zeal through small things. This is the opportune moment to do this, to go “where the Church Calls us and our brothers and sisters needs us”, to make the poor the first subjects of our evangelizing action. Reality clamours each day with new faces, new needs and new urgencies and inspires us with new possibilities for mission.
Evangelization is the task of the Church. We the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation are called to “announce Jesus Christ” (C.82) This proclamation gives meaning to our mission “to Praise, to Bless, to Preach”. In order to reach the “peripheries” we are called to move out of our comfort zones. We are the privileged representatives to discover the face of the Lord in the cries and laments of the people. It is urgent to reinforce our missionary presence in the “peripheries”: Migrants, broken and multicultural families, Human trafficking, Day care for the old and babies and Family Apostolte. (Ref: project and Statutes 2015 – Province of India)
The theme of the Enlarged General Council is Mercy, Discernment, Communion and Solidarity: the Demand of Mission. Mission demands that we assume itinerancy, that we are available for change, both personally and in community, that we overcome the temptation to become settled or believe that we are indispensable. It requires that our witness of life is happy and joyful, to convoke and encourage others to respond to the call of the “service of charity”. ( Ref: XIX EGC - Barcelona page 13-14)
The Dominican Community
The Dominican Community that Marie Poussepin wanted was to have Charity as its soul. This love of God and neighbour was first of all expressed in the community where thee was no distinction of persons and where neither country nor birth gave way for differences. This did not mean egalitarianism, but full acknowledgement of each one with her values, her possibilities and also her limitations. In this community Word is welcomed, shared, studied and celebrated.
Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, an international community is responding creatively to human needs today and there are about 3000 sisters serving the people each according to her own gifts and talents. Through Charity, the binding force of our lives, we are united in our service to the love of God and humanity.
In 1971 the seed of the Charism of Blessed Marie Poussepin was sown in the Indian Soil. It took root and branched out to 8 states through Education, health ministry, pastoral care and social services.
A Tree on Fire: A Symbol of Transformation
Tree is a dwelling place of God according to Indian thoughts. Sages go under a tree in contemplation to experience the power of God. Tree gives life, protection, shelter, food, and energy. Fire is a purifying element dispelling darkness and evil resulting in core transformation. The powerful symbols of tree and fire are combined in the book of Exodus where the Lord meets Moses in the Burning bush (Ex.3:2-5) As Moses was sent to the people of Israel to bring about transformation we are sent to this Multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious land to elucidate this transformation.To last a life time in community for the mission requires no less than courage, tenacity, openness, joy and faith. Formation is indispensable throughout our life for the growth of our faith, as well as, for the service of theirs.
We are called to be lovers of the Word and Preachers of hope. To nourish her faith, hope and love, Marie Poussepin opened herself to God’s Word which she shared with others. She insisted all the sisters to “adhere to reading good books, especially the Gospel and the Letters of the Apostles. You should not let one day pass without giving reading the required time”. The Word of God, as nourishment and as a challenge to conversion is the food for the journey which allows “to bring wherever we are called, the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His mysteries”.
We try to respond to the needs of our people in a creative fidelity to the Charism, in trying times of religious fundamentalism, threats of persecutions, we live our mission being a ray of hope to the broken humanity. Aroused by the Spirit, we seek radical responses which involve the conversion of perspective and heart inviting us to take the road of discipleship with Christ and with our people.
Indian sisters from International mission speaks...
"We live in a world that is more and more globalized, rapid, pluralistic and connected. Our internatinality makes us sensitive to the wealth of each culture. Our unity is based on respect and the recognition of each one's identity as well as our capacity to enter into relationship and build together. This is a great opportunity, and at the same time a real challenge." (54th General Chapter document Page.31)
Sharing by Sr. Suchita - PDF
Relishing the memories of the past...
"One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good". Gretchen Rubin.
Sharing by Sr. Jose Mary - PDF
Challenges faced courageously and joyfully...
To learn, to continue learning, to learn again, is the task of our life time. We are not in total possession of knowledge, norms, ways of thinking or doing but rather be convinced that the Truth is discovered by the acceptance of challenges which question our certitudes. Remain open to what we do not know; not to know everything, but rather try to learn better in order to love better. (Ratio Formationis Page 53)
Sharing by Sr. Anima Tirkey - PDF
“To see what is right” is also to discover persons and things, events and situations beyond their appearances. For Marie Poussepin, in teriorization meant not only a manner of living with God and for God, but also a way to look at the others, to know and appreciate them. The experience of God in silent listening and contemplation of His Word asks from us intense times of prayer, silence, retreats, lived with growing interest, appropriate means to reaffirm our gift to the Lord, to "live and die for the service of the Church, in the exercise of charity" and our will to live by the Gospel in the manner of Marie Poussepin and Dominic.
Thanks giving of Bangalore Retreatants PDF