“We need to create more opportunities for dialogue in communities and encourage positive experiences.”

The first year will be the year of Reconciliation. The second, that of Confident Prayer. And the third, coinciding with the bicentennial of the Vedruna Foundation, will be a Year of Thanksgiving and Hope.

This is how the new Provincial Team of Japan, headed by Teresa Mitsue Shirahama, who has returned to Japan after six years in Rome as a member of the General Team, has planned the next three years. She was joined by Elizabet Hagiwara Tokuko (on the left of the photo), who is also a representative of the Province of Japan on the International Commission for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, and Ryoko Maria Hasunuma (on the right of the photo), who was a member of the previous Provincial Team as a councilor.

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

We want to leave behind our self-referential ideas and attitudes. That is, egocentrism, a closed attitude to dialogue, offensive attitudes that stem from fear, lack of kindness in community coexistence, negativism, activism that seeks to avoid excessive work…

Faced with the 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?

First, to unite ourselves to the One Aspiration as consecrated women. In community, we need to create a space and time to express our deepest aspiration to live our Consecrated Life, using the method of Appreciative Inquiry [an approach to organizational change that appeals to the best in people and organizations, and to their illusions, unlike other models that are based on a diagnosis of weaknesses and problems]. Secondly, to become aware of living personally and communally from the “Central Place of God’s Desire” in our life. And thirdly, to express and visualize in community a positive experience, to pay more attention to the positive things and to dialogue with serenity and kindness when there are negative things to improve.

We want to begin to live all of this during this triennium in which we will celebrate the Bicentennial of the Founding of the Congregation. The first year is to live the “Year of Reconciliation”. The second, the Year of Confident Prayer. And the third will be a Year of Thanksgiving and Hope.

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

The first thing is to initiate discernment on the restructuring of the Province within AMA, including the Chinese Mission. We also need to discern about the educational works, the Aitoku College and the Kindergarten in Kadoma. And to animate the Youth and Vocational Ministry.

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

After evaluating what we have done so far as a community and province, the challenge will be to involve the people of the parish where we work and join other groups in this Mission of Care for Mother Earth. We also aspire to become more conscious and live an integral and ecological spirituality. In order to achieve these objectives, we propose to look for a training day, guided by a qualified person.

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 need to create more opportunities for dialogue in the communities and in the Province and encourage positive experiences with appropriate methods. For this purpose, we are going to organize a talk on dialogue or communication in human life. It is also important to know the method that helps us to understand about human psychic mechanisms so that we can become more aware of ourselves.

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