Seoul, 17 June 2011
though we are in contact with you with our international website, we would also like to be present to you through the printed form, so that all of you can know what is happening in our Asia Pacific Continental Meeting of Apostolate and Economy, here in Seoul, Korea.
By the evening of Monday, June 13th, most of us arrived in Seoul. We were welcomed by the gentle and gracious hospitality of our Korean sisters, who even at 11 p.m were there to greet and cheer us when some of us arrived. Then, it was followed by wishing warmly – baci e abbracci – those whom we knew already and those whom we met for the first time. Of course, there were more gestures and actions than words because not many of us know the Korean language. For most of us coming from warmer climates to have a better and cooler climate was a welcome change.
The introductory Eucharistic celebration on 14th morning was presided by Fr. An Sung-chul Maggiorino, SSP Provincial. Before the Mass an introductory dance initiated us into prayer, followed by the procession of the flags of the countries which we represented. The morning of the same day was dedicated to visiting the apostolic sectors, in a separate 5- storey building. We were divided into four groups, and each group had a “tourist guide”. It was truly an enriching experience to know how well our sisters are organised and have reached a degree of professionalism in all the sectors of the apostolate. Of special interest was the Ut Unum Sint, the Bible correspondence course that has now become online or e-learning. We appreciated the seriousness and dedication with which they shared with us the growth and development of our apostolate here in Korea.
In the afternoon, we were welcomed formally by Sr. Ausilia Chung, the Provincial of Korea and also by Sr. Antonieta Bruscato, our Superior General. For a better knowledge of one another, a small group dynamics was conducted by Sr. Natalia Maccari. A pair of cards, with a picture and a phrase from the writing of Primo Maestro was distributed in the group. Each of us had to find our partner and share with her an insight, a light, a path of hope or a thought that the cards has provoked in us, and later on to share it with the entire assembly. This of course, caused a lot of movement, looking for partners, and most of all getting the help of translators!!! After a brief moment of confusion, all were settled with their apparatus well fixed, relaxed and moved into a peaceful listening and active participation. The sisters were very spontaneous and the sharing highlighted their hopes, new light and sincere zeal for the Pauline mission.
We welcomed the second day of our Encounter in a spirit of celebration and gratitude to God for the Foundation anniversary of our Congregation. We reminisced the 96 years we journeyed together to proclaim the Word of God to all amidst difficulties and sufferings of the times. These 96 years of grace, presence and service in the Church invite us to continue our journey on “the road by which the Lord led us” (cf Dt. 8:2), discerning truly what “paths of hope” He wants us to travel here and now.
The introduction of Sr. Antonieta posed a great challenge to us. She asked: «How have the Daughters of St. Paul lived their mission in the nearly 100 years of our Congregation’s existence?». A question followed by more questions to determine the deepest motivations of our apostolic vocation. She maintains however that she has no other intention than rekindling once again that apostolic passion that made Paul exclaimed: «Woe to me if I do not evangelize!».
After Sr. Antonieta’s talk, Sr. Battistina Capalbo, facilitator, followed clearly explaining to the assembly the 3 objectives of the methodology: 1) the what of the Continental Meeting, 2) the why of an Apostolic Global Project and 3) the Workshops to be done.
The whole assembly was reminded that the purpose of this important meeting was to move toward formulating a Global Apostolic Project. This is the realization of the priorities of the 9th General Chapter. She said that we would follow an interactive method by which everyone’s contribution is required for formulating this project. To complete it, Sr. Annamaria Gasser presented to us the Story of a Long Journey which is the passage of the Continental Encounters from 1987-1988. Sr. Natalia Maccari synthesized the outcome of these preceding meetings. She said that in the heart of every FSP the need for a greater passion is always present, and this is focused on the word: Diffusion of the Word of God.
The day was closed with a powerpoint presentation on the vocation story of Maestra Thecla entitled From Castagnito to the World. This was enlivened by a spontaneous short quiz on the assembly on how much they know of Prima Maestra’s life. Everyone appeared to be the winner because the community gifted us ice cream as our prize.
Thursday June 16th was dedicated to deepen the theme “Imbued by the Word, We trace out New Paths for our Mission” by the help of two speakers. The first talk was given by Dr. Paul Wang Kyung-hoon, on the theme, Church of Asia and its Mission for the Future. For an authentic evangelisation in Asia, he emphasized the importance of a threefold dialogue: dialogue with the poor, dialogue with the religions and dialogue with the cultures. He highlighted the disparities that exist in Asia and exposed a number of issues that are relevant for our mission. The second talk was based on the topic Tracing New Paths for the Mission in Asia-Pacific, given by Fr. Ambrogio KeeTae Baek, ssp. His vision of our centres of diffusion was really challenging. For this, he proposed the necessity of internal communication among the Paulines today, the need to give a new image to our book centers so that they might be places of meeting, dialogue and animation, and the need to be open to invest in new media.
In the afternoon we had our first group work. After sharing, the groups came into a convergence on the elements that they consider useful and as priorities in view of the Global Apostolic Project.
Sisters, thank you for your messages and continuous prayers. We really feel supported and encouraged knowing that you are journeying together with us.
Greetings from all of us here,
sr. Consolacion Ducusin and sr. Anne Plathara