Ten USA-Haiti province participants had the great fortune of attending the Symposium, JM: Jesus and Mary, 200 Years of Faith and Hope, held from October 4 – 6 in Lyon, France.

What follows is an update to their report begun in last week’s Bridges.

As the symposium began, each country processed in with its own flag.  Here, Sr. Diane Dube carries the flag of the United States and stands with Louise McGowe, the Head teacher at Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College in London, who carries the flag of Great Britain.  It was a moment of being one in Jesus-Mary, yet strangers.

After the initial welcome to the Symposium, participants were invited to a deeper understanding of our rich heritage which is grounded in the life and times of Claudine’s world of  19th Century France.  Then talks, panel discussions, and interactive workshops invited us to reflect upon Scripture as we were exposed to a number of issues and questions that arise from current RJM ministries and projects expressing our charism 200 years later.  (Session titles are listed on the Symposium Program which is attached to the email accompanying Bridges.)

The question, “Who is My Neighbor?” that is posed in the Gospel passage of the Good Samaritan on the Jericho Road (Luke 10:30-37) became a guiding question for much of the Symposium.  This same question now stands to challenge our boundaries of time, space, and age as we go forth from this three day encounter.

We will meet many “strangers” on our Jericho Road.  Not only are we called to tend to each of their wounds, but we are called to work towarda transformation of the road itself.  Our larger challenge is this:  we are called to create a world that is free of dangerous roads for all our brothers and sisters.

In her final words to our assembly, Sr. Monica invited all to go forth as one apostolic family with ever greater unity among us.  We are invited to take the message of the Good Samaritan and follow on the journey of the one who “…let go of his own plans to respond  to the need of another …who turned over the resources that he had to the one in need… who created a way for care to continue, even in his absence…” and who said finally, “…if you need more, I’ll be back!”

At the closing of the symposium, Sr. Monica invited the same flag bearers to carry out another country’s flag.  Our Raoul Jean Louis, FJM-Haiti (far right), carried Cuba’s flag as a symbol that now we are all one, one in Jesus-Mary.

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