It was a year-end treat for the three communities in the Philippines after all the closing of the apostolic activities (2010-2011) of each community. With joy, we welcomed each other looking forward to the promised communion: to pray, to play, and to serve each other. The heartfelt preparation of the community in Zamboanga provided the ambiance.
The Delegation Encounter had a special touch. It was indeed something new, compared with all the gatherings we have had before. At hindsight, there was an inspiring thought that just the eleven of us, at this point in time in the history of our Delegation, we were graced with “an intense community life lived in communication of cordial and open friendship, in a spirit of work and sacrifice and in an atmosphere of cheerfulness and simplicity as befits a religious family” (Const # 43).
These words were practically lived to the letter which made each other’s presence real PRESENT. What was more heart-warming and future-motivating was the essence in the simplicity of everything; from the previous preparations, up to the very day of our gathering. Each one had her turn to serve, to share, and to care. No one had been idle. There was a special ambiance, typical of a Spinola Gathering; each day was a living proclamation of “see much they love each other”.
The meeting started with a short, simple and solemn prayer to dispose each Sister to welcome the surprises of the day. A moving opening statement of Myrna, as the Delegate Superior, inviting each of us “ to renew our faith in the creative power of the Holy Spirit and entrust to our Blessed Mother and to our Founders our Delegation meeting. May we live these days with renewed enthusiasm, responsibility and total commitment to our FIAT and go to our “tinajas”, with a heart inflamed by the Heart of Christ, ready to announce with more passion, creative fidelity and courage, His personal love.” And it did happen! It was a complete experience of our daily living; an experience of love, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation, expressed in the ritual of the “washing of the feet” and culminating in an agape of lugaw! (because it was Friday of Lent).
Each day was filled with reflections, discussions, discoveries, discernment and decisions. Sometimes, it was a little tiring but wrapped with joy and serenity. Notably, there was a communion of hearts and minds. It was a moment of gratitude. The Delegation had grown that far; the Sisters bloomed that much. Each one was really happy and enjoying each other’s presence despite the tiredness. What was most touching was to witness that each one spoke with a certain degree of ease and serenity in front of the others. The gathering projected a living hope for the future of the Delegation and holding of the inner treasure that each one has been most loved, cared, and nurtured. As the song goes: “We’re together; we’re here to share the smiles, the tears, the work, the year. Love is what binds us together, together we’ll pass all kinds of weather”.
Witnessing the growth of the mustard seed in the Delegation, sure, our Blessed Founders, Marcelo and Celia were smiling in gratitude for the fidelity of the Heart of God in the three small corners of the Philippines. With deep trust and confidence, we ended our Gathering with renewed dynamism and enthusiasm, echoing the words of our Superior General: “I believe it is fundamental that any service we render, no matter how small it might be, and whether it is seen or not, be done with our heart… We pray that each one will realize that we are ‘poor and useless Esclavas’ who are simply collaborating with our God in the great mission He has entrusted to us.”