Experience in El Salvador by Nancy and Andrea
Dear Sisters and associates:
We greet you all in joy and fraternity, hoping you are all well.
With the spirit of unit which distinguishes the Sion family, we would like to share a little bit of our experience in Salvador.
After having shared various experiences in Nicaragua during the month of July, on August 1st we left at 5:00a.m., filled with hope, to Salvador. Hopefully, during the journey, there was no inconvenient. We enjoyed the Salvador countryside.
We arrived at 6p.m. and sister Margarita welcomed us with a big hug. Then we went to her home where sister MarÃa Luisa Castillo was waiting for us. To give thanks as daughters of Sion we sang the Magnificat in the chapel.
During our time in Salvador we were blessed to be able to share with many people in different groups. We also visited and got to know some places which helped us to know better the people in Salvadorâ€™ s history.
We will mention here some of the experiences lived:
- The meeting with the group of young people: The group welcomed us with a wonderful prayer based on the Biblical text of Mary and Elizabeth visitation; then they shared with us the peopleâ€™s story, their prophets and martyrs. After that, we had a good time together doing some dynamics, while we waited for LÃºcia (a Brazilian postulant who shared with us the whole month) and we finished enjoying very tasty â€œpupusasâ€.
- Meeting with the associates: They had prepared a special welcoming prayer. It was a moment of great joy as we could learn more about our cultures. Some of the associates offered typical dances and poetry. Then, they explained to us how the people from Salvador have been living the struggle and told us about the courage of so many prophets and martyrs.
United as one Sion family, we finished thanking God for our diversity and sharing some â€œpupusasâ€ and coffee.
- Meetings learning how to live together: We met with coordinators of several parish groups, religious and Lutherans. They meet once a month, discussing different subjects to foster unity and communion.
The workshop theme was â€œThe Theater of the oppressedâ€ which helped us to reflect if we had sometimes been oppressed or if we had been the oppressors; we had a great time, as we had to act and express ourselves with our body.
- Feast of the World Savior: We celebrated Eucharist and shared with the whole Salvadorian people this celebration. Then, we enjoyed the feasts of the patrons.
- Visit to Park CuscatlÃ¡n: The monument to memory and truth is placed here. There is a space created by the Commission of Truth, sponsored by United Nations; its intention is to honor the names of women and men, boys and girls who were victims of the Salvadorian Civil War between 1981 and 1992.
It was an encounter which allowed us to be closer and to reflect on the footprints left by that war in the peopleâ€™s life in Salvador. We could also observe how this event helps the people to be stronger in hope, in justice willing to build every day a better society.
- Visit to the Cathedral and the Crypt: We were blessed to be able to go to those places, where we prayed in silence for the life and the prophetic mission of Mons. Romero. All this invites us to continue building the Kingdom of justice and peace to which he was so committed.
- Religions for peace: Sister MarÃa Luisa Castillo goes to these meetings once a month, so we could also participate and were able to know some of the projects that the Jewish, Muslim, Indigenous, Catholic, BahÃ¡â€™I and Anglican communities have in common.
We could see the communion, the dialogue and the richness of the diversity as all the communities were united in the search of a more integrated world, full of life and hope.
- Visit to UCA: Sister Margarita accompanied us to this sacred place, where we were happy to have a guide to visit the museum of the UCA martyrs. He explained to us, step after step, the events which led these men and women to accompany and struggle with and for the people even to death.
This experience made us feel part of the people as Mon. Romero used to say, because it is such a profound moment where the only thing to do is to contemplate, to pray and to act so the testimony of these people become source of life for everyone in the world.
Apostolate in Soyapango: During our visit in Salvador, we went to Soyapango, a place 30 minutes by bus from where the sisters live. Our apostolate was to collaborate with a Project in a nursery and having a space to help children from 7 to 15 years old in their studies.
This experience allowed us to know better the reality of these children and teenagers. Their daily struggle to follow their studies, and we could collaborate with their families who work in the market.
It was good to be able to share with them. We could learn a lot about their culture and we could also speak to them about ours. We could also help them according to our capacities in the academic educational area.
Inter postulant meeting: It was a mixed space where postulants from various religious congregations in Salvador meet. The subject of that day was the one on discernment. We then shared on the founders of each congregation, we realized some dynamics and there was also a space for personal and group reflection and we enjoyed a shared lunch; we celebrated Eucharist and closed the meeting with a film which completed the topic developed.
That helped us to contemplate and remember our own life story and Godâ€™s presence in it; the same did the people of Israel who discovered little by little the true face of God, face of love, mercy and fidelity and, once again, we could recognize Godâ€™s eternal covenant with his people.
Visit to the hospital: Sister Margarita took us to that place, where Mon. Romero lived and offered his life in behalf of his people.
We could also participate in a Eucharist celebrated in Mons. Romeroâ€™s memory and the Salvadorian martyrsâ€™ memory. It was in Portuguese as a group of Brazilians (Ecclesial Base Communities) were there visiting the country. After the mass, the priest invited us to introduce ourselves as he knew that Margarita was a sister of Our Lady of Sion. He recognized her because of the medal as he knew the sisters in SÃ£o Paulo.
It was a very agreeable experience. We were united to the living memory of the Salvadorian people and for this we blessed God.
Mons. Romero said:
â€œThe word remains and this is the great consolation of who preaches. My voice will disappear but my word, which is Christ, will remain in the hearts of those who had been willing to accept it. And if I am killed, I will rise in the Salvadorian people.â€
He was a very spiritual man who met God through his people witnessing de Gospel, with great courage and strength.
We finished this month with a Eucharist celebrated in our house in Salvador giving thanks for all these experiences we had.
Being conscious that this experience made us grow at a personal, community and spiritual level in our formation, we would like to give thanks to every one of you who have accompanied us with your prayers.
Blessings, IN SION FIRMATA SUM.
With love, Nancy and Andrea
Postulants, Our Lady of Sion