How to write an end-of-year letter when this anniversary year – the 25th of ACAY – has just begun… No doubt there are endings that are in the end only beginnings!
From this first word of the Bible, “Bereshit”, so commonly translated as “in the beginning”, Annick de Souzenelle opens a new horizon by offering us another translation, “Bereshit – A son I will place”. And she goes on to explain how the Bible is ultimately this unfolding of this “being a son” through the books, stories, and mysteries.
If these 25 years were to end somewhere and begin again, then let it be in this second translation of “bereshit” into which I fully inscribe our 25 years of missionary experience. While everything began in the infinitely small call received in the heart, then enlarged in the hearts of a few sisters, then expanded in the hearts of our lay Missionaries of Mary, employees, and volunteers from all over the world, the years have passed. The mission has unfolded, the “ups and downs” of the chaotic missionary situations we have faced have not ceased, but the fundamental teaching received throughout all this is to become “Sons and Daughters”. Rooted as a condition of self-giving.
As that Greek author I quoted recently, Nikos Kazantzaki, said – “Every man is the workshop where God, often in a hidden way, works the clay and transforms it.” And to paraphrase his message, we in ACAY have been given the “grace to enter God’s workshop and work with Him. And the more we transform with Him trauma into knowledge, fragility into courage, the chains of the past into freedom, the more we ourselves became sons and daughters of God.”
Too spiritual, some would say? No. It is fundamentally human. By working on the human clay, we enter the space of trust as a pedagogical and therapeutic foundation for a relationship of growth and development, we enter the question of the freedom of each person to open up about his or her past, to want to go beyond it or to be part of a destructive relationship, to make choices that may or may not lead to metamorphosis. By listening to the hearts of our young people and their parents, we receive the key to understanding the often-unstated problems of our societies, both Filipino and French, which allow us to define strategies with precision and accuracy.
By co-creating, thanks to your precious and generous support, with the various professions impacting the lives of our young people, whether they are in the social world (social workers, educators) but also in the medical world (doctors, psychologists), in the business world (entrepreneurs, managers, coaches…), we the “gang of sisters” see and are in awe of this immensity of the One. All is One.
Together, by building this unity in the hearts of our young people, with our specific objectives, we offer them a tremendous opportunity to integrate into the world as men and women who are rooted, built from within and ready to live their lives.
In the name of our two missions – France and the Philippines – this letter intends to express our deep gratitude to you for these 25 years of support, 25 years of trust and of developments ” far greater than us “. With us, you have believed in this deep work in the hearts of our young people. Today we see the fruit of this work, together! Let us rejoice in the achievement of these 25 years, which are the root of ever more expansion and development.
The risks and challenges do not diminish, but we have learned to trust and hope.
May this end of the year be accompanied with a new beginning, and may we establish in ourselves “once and for all” this being sons and daughters, the anchor of our lives.
A Merry Christmas to all and all our best wishes!
Sr Sophie de Jesus