Challenges and Hopes: Interview with the new European Provincial Team

We continue our series of interviews with the new provincial teams. On this occasion, it is the turn of the new Provincial Team for Europe, appointed last March. This team is made up of María Gracia Gil, who already held this responsibility until 2021; Mª Inmaculada Eibe, nurse, doctor in Theology and member of the musical group Ain Karen; Mª Dolors Bosch, until now delegate of Zone C, which covers Catalonia; Carmen Montes, who has served as provincial delegate in recent months; Mª Inmaculada Gala, delegate of Consecrated Life in the diocese of Tangier; Montserrat Fenosa, coordinator of the Axis of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Province of Europe; and Teo Corral, who, after having worked in several countries of the African continent, started, together with another Vedruna sister, a house in Deusto open to migrant women.

In this conversation, we explore the team’s perspectives, strategies and objectives to meet current and future challenges. Inspired by the proposals of the last Chapter, this team is called to lead in a synodal spirit, promoting participation and sustainability in all its forms.

Faced with the most most challenging realities that exist in your Province, what strategies have you considered as a new Provincial Team to face them and sow life as a Vedruna Family?

We are very aware that this is a project of all of us and that we want to make a synodal path with the exercise of a shared leadership that:

  • It generates channels of participation, encourages common discernment, facilitates reflection and responsibility in making decisions in daily life.
  • It encourages listening to what is said and even to what is not said, and gives space for silence in personal, community and provincial meetings.
  • Embrace conflicts as companions on the journey, with dialogue, respect, empathy, encouraging the responsible involvement of each member of the community group in their resolution (NdN 54).
  • It counts on diversity, recognizes it as richness and channels it towards the greatest good.
  • He is able to ask for forgiveness and make room for second chances.
  • Facilitates, encourages cooperation and capacity of all in order to generate interdependent links.
  • Weave an interrelationship, stripped of judgments, stereotypes and condemnations, that leaves room for the yearning and the decision to get to weave together.

In light of the proposals that emerged from the Chapter, what specific aspects of your province do you think could be left behind to make room for new initiatives and renewal?

We need to leave behind disenchantment and hopelessness, what is no longer appropriate for this moment, abandon unsustainable practices and ways of living in which the drive towards the new is held back by various factors: difficulties in embracing personal and community reality; the clinging to what is ours, the fear of moving and of change; the difficulty in betting on the common good; an acute sense of hopelessness in the face of the impoverishment and exclusion of many people and in the face of world conflicts. All this causes us impotence, sadness and even leads us to disengage because it seems to us that we can do nothing or almost nothing. However, when we go to the well of our heart and share it, we connect with a breath that lasts and hear the call to be “born again”, to let ourselves be made by the Spirit.

We feel the need to leave the old soils and enter new soils. Inspired by the Samaritan woman and the Samaritan man, we would like to be seekers of wells and new paths in this time of pruning and growth in which we live. We need to live a more meaningful life and we want to organize ourselves in a new and sustainable way. We are aware that what we live today is fundamental for future generations to be able to live in a meaningful way. For this reason, the common discernment that we are carrying out is very necessary.

We feel the need to live the balance between taking care of the existing and being open to the new. Among us there are many older sisters and there is also a small group of young people in initial formation and another group called “Younger Generations” who want to get involved in the province with what it entails for all of us in terms of openness to the new.

What are the main goals and objectives that the Provincial Team plans to achieve during this new period, in response to the needs and challenges identified in the Chapter and the provincial reality?

1.- To promote and encourage the life in mission of the sisters, communities, and lay people, encouraging a lively sense of unity and vitality in order to form a decisive part of the group of those who live and announce the Good News of Jesus.

On the one hand, we wish to concretize and put a face to a mission project for 8 or 10 years, promoting some priority options, assumed by all and according to the reality, needs and possibilities and in continuity with the discernment carried out; and on the other hand, to cover the projects that today are a response to needs.

2.- To provide close accompaniment to sisters and communities, remaining particularly attentive to those who require it in a special way.

To this end, we wish to make effective an organization of communities in continuity with the discernment carried out and that makes possible an accompaniment according to situations and in proximity.

To guarantee an agile and flexible organization that allows us to live as a VF in Mission.

To this end, we wish to put the “short light” on, relying on different Axes, Networks and Commissions that accompany the mission we carry out in different areas: administration, communication, education, formation, insertion, vocational youth ministry, promotion of justice, peace and integrity of creation, protection, secretariat and health. And also put the “long light”, which allows us to glimpse towards which priorities, from the needs of the world and our own, we need to point to the future, in a period of 3 years.

Act as guarantors of sustainability to enable the future of PV.

In the current context of deterioration of the Common HomeHow do you as a Province plan to address environmental challenges and what specific actions could you take to contribute to sustainability?

We want to advance in the holistic care and accompaniment of the people who are part of the different areas, from an integral and ecological spirituality that, sustained in the experience of the Ruah of God in every creature, enables us to weave complicity and build bridges among ourselves and with those who are on the margins (cf. NdN 6).

We wish to encourage a commitment to our common home and to those who inhabit it, which springs from that spirituality of care and evangelical minority and weaves threads of care and tenderness in our relationships with people, with other living or inert beings on our planet and with things, and which defends life in the face of a culture of discarding many and of the abuse of resources.

We also intend to join external network campaigns or Voz Vedruna, for example:

  • Campaign for a dignified life together with the people on the move and those in the various peripheries that we find in our Province.
  • Campaign for the reduction of the CO2 Footprint by listening to the cries of the Planet and, in general.
  • Encouraging nonviolent relationships among ourselves, in our environment and at the global level, asking also for the involvement of our leaders inside and outside the Church, within our possibilities.

How do you plan to facilitate open and constructive dialogue among the different communities and members of the Vedruna Family in your Province, so as to promote a synodal culture?

We are aware of the importance of the involvement of everyone in our Project of life and mission, which requires a healthy exercise of openness, participation, transparency, information, fostering the exercise of shared leadership on a daily basis through structures that make it possible: assemblies and broader EPAS, consultation prior to changes, listening to new proposals and being consistent in giving reasons for the conclusions, etc.

For us, this drawing expresses the synodal culture. In it appear two arms that are the Earth that sustains us and that weaves us. We are all part of this fabric and we are mutually interwoven with a diversity of colors and positions. Each in its own time, in its own process. Once weaving has begun, what each of us does has repercussions on the others. If one gives up, others fall.

In this fabric there is the possibility of making a mistake, and then? It is then unraveled and reknitted. What is not possible is the possibility of not occupying each one’s place because there is a gap that is difficult to fill. Someone might say: “It’s hardly noticeable, but if you’re not there, it’s noticeable and the fabric loses quality.

From left to right: Dolors Bosch, Teo Corral, Montse Fenosa, Inma Eibe, MªGracia Gil, Inma Gala and Carmen Montes.