Daughters of the Holy Spirit of the Vice-Province of Cameroon, we held our Annual Assembly from 25 to 27 October 2022. “Hearing the cry of the poor, the cry of the earth and making it our own in a synodal Church” was the theme. It was a time for us to share our different community missions in the joy of being together at least once a year! This year, we had a ‘big plus’ with the presence of our sisters from the Generalate: Sister Ann ALMODOVAR, Superior General and Sister Jeannine LEGERE, General Councillor. To have them with us during this important time of review and setting in motion the new year was a real joy for each of us.
Of course, as usual, we began with an opening prayer and each community had a time to share with the assembly its daily life: its joys and sorrows, its difficulties, its hopes, the new experiences. This moment allowed us to have a general view of our life in the Vice-Province.
However, to help us to identify the theme of the year, we had the joy of listening to Father Christophe IDRISSA, priest of the diocese of Maroua-Mokolo, called for the occasion. To situate us, he defined Synodality as a process, a walk together, with others. Speaking of the spirit of Synodality in our Rule of Life, he recalled that religious life itself is a synodality because it is “circulatory”, that is, each one has his turn in the service of authority or in responsibility. The docility of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit is also a synodality, for it is a matter of listening together in order to tune in to the Spirit. It is both a vertical and horizontal listening. The words “With others”, “Linked to those whom God has associated with us”, “the women and men of our time” are recurrent in our Rule of Life and are the mark of Synodality, he says. The Daughters of the Holy Spirit are associated with the mission of the whole Church and they have lay associates who try to live their charism with them. With regard to the questioning of the world, Father Christophe dwelt on the cry and the mobilisation that emanate from it and which should not leave us indifferent. The priority has always been the neighbour and charity. However, the teaching and doctrine of the Church invite us not only to intervene in the emergency but also and above all to bring people to participate in their own evolution and that of the Church. The cry of the poor brings us back to a divine dimension; God said to Moses: “I have heard the cry of my people; go, I will send you…”. Hearing the cry of the poor also means making their cry our own; and Synodality means making this call ‘our own’: doing and being with others. He concluded his speech by saying that Synodality calls for conversion which, as we know, is never a given.
Then each sector presented its way of hearing the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth with the help of a PowerPoint. Several realities of the various cries were raised through the slides such as: paying special attention to waste management in our communities and in our mission places; stripping ourselves of what we have in surplus in order to better share with others; raising awareness and collaborating with others (priests, collaborators, parishioners…); paying special attention to the abandoned children in the street; dealing with the unforeseen needs of some women who arrive in a health centre without their delivery kit…
We went to the hubs to deepen what we had heard and to bring up important points to keep for the year. We had another good moment of exchange on all the areas of our life as ESF religious in mission with and for our peoples.
To officially close our assembly, Sister Angèle SILIKAM, Vice-provincial of Cameroon, addressed two key words to us: “thank you and courage”.