International Meeting of Young Sisters of the Cenacle
22 - 24 July: Workshop on Interculturality with Fr. Anthony Gittins, CSSp
This morning we began a new stage of our adventure together. Father Tony Gittins, CSSp, introduced us to a workshop on interculturality. He helped us to clarify the use of different terms so we could move forward on the subject and reflect on our personal experience. In particular, I was touched by his insistence that interculturality is not the mere coexistence of different cultures and nationalities, it is the fruit of an intentional choice to live with our differences; these are perceived as a richness because God created difference. He also emphasized that intercultural living concerns not only international religious communities but it is a challenge for anyone engaged in a ministry. This concerns all of us! Maurizia (Europe-Togo)
In order to live “interculturality” well, Fr. Tony helped us first to understand the meaning of this word. It is a word used in theology to designate a faith commitment by people desirous of living together their different cultures. It is not the same thing as “internationality”, which is used in sociology, because in “internationality” different cultures can live side by side.
The understanding of interculturality invites me to be constantly engaged in meeting people who are different from me. Therefore, I must leave ‘my world’ so that I can create a ‘new world’ with others. This intercultural living challenges me to see the beauty of difference in the way that God sees it. I am happy to commit myself to intercultural living. It renews my way of living in my community. Sylvia (Madagascar)
Today we continued to go deeper into the subject of interculturality with Fr. Tony Gittins. He asked us to reflect on whether we come from a culture that is ‘egocentric’, which is one that gives more space to the place of “me”, or from a culture that is ‘sociocentric’, which puts the life of the society first. There are strengths and weaknesses in each of these cultures. However, our formation in religious life means that we are no longer situated in these extreme categories! With the grace of discernment we situated ourselves in ‘the just place’ between the two cultures.
All of this also makes me feel how much intercultural living touches our charism and spirituality. I am deeply touched by the way in which Jesus is close to the excluded, the poor, to all of those who find themselves on the margins! I ask myself about my manner of welcoming people who come to us! Do I always take care to manifest the love of Christ without excluding anyone? Georgette (Madagascar)
Thursday July 25 Day of Reflection and Integration
And a treat from Marielle at the end of Integration Day!