News from Maria Chiara and her team - In the Magreb

Algeria, walking togetherAlgeria, walking together Rabat, February 22 2014. Extracts from a letter from the General Council after their trip to the Maghreb.

It is in the midst of this shifting, unstable climate, with no idea what tomorrow will bring, that we reflect on our presence in the Maghreb.  Throughout our meeting, the Word of God in the daily liturgy guided and inspired our exchanges, bringing us back over and over to the essential.  “For you, who am I?... If someone wants to come after me…” (Mk 8: 27-38).  “Do not fear little flock…Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.” (Lk 12:3-34).

Here are two of the points from our sharings, and our impressions during our visit.

It was moving to find ourselves in historic places, the places at the source of the Fraternity, in the geographical region which fashioned our spirituality, there where the experiences of Magdeleine and her companions gave birth to the keywords of our charism.  We found our sisters to be women who have lived many things, who are marked by these places, often marked by the rough climate and way of life, who have passed through historic moments, sometimes tragic, in the life of these countries.  We are deeply touched by how faithful they are to their life of prayer in these fraternities, how much care they put into it.

Together we recalled the specificity of our charism as it is lived in the Maghreb: “A freely given presence in an entirely Muslim environment” (Const. 26).   Here, to this day these words are powerfully meaningful and real: here is the reality of lives given, lost from day to day in the relationship with God and with the other.  With no escape possible, nothing to give meaning or fruitfulness to this presence if God is not there…We feel very strongly how freely given presence to the other can only be lived in faith, and in being freely present to God.

The Fransiscan Media Centre has a video of Maria Chiara available on YouTube.