Left, from left, Sisters Rita Manriquez, Edna Hess and Maria Luisa Miller with the earthen vessels and the three founders; middle, a banner from the encounter showing the three founders; right, from left, Sisters Edna Hess, Rita Manriquez and Maria Luisa Miller with the chalice and the seven values as drops of blood. Contributed photos
The weekend of January 13-15, 2017, was a memorable time for us in Chile. The three Congregations of the Precious Blood in Chile and representatives from the many groups of laity, who form Precious Blood reflection groups in Chile, met to renew their identity with Precious Blood Spirituality.
Part of the weekend was recalling the history of the Family of the Blood of Christ in Chile. Yes, calling to mind the five Seminars that took place between 1983 and 1990 and were the beginning of the Family of the Blood of Christ. After the Synod of Bishops of Latin America met in Aparecida in Brazil, the Family of the Blood of Christ met to reflect on our mission to live out Precious Blood Spirituality as indicated by this great synod for Latin America. In the following years, from 2008 to 2016, we had annual encounters among the three congregations and their lay groups to share our spirituality. So once again it was time to meet with representatives of all these groups to discern what values of Precious Blood Spirituality we are called to live out in our areas of ministry today.
The first night Sister Maria Luisa related the history of the seminars and Mario Cordova, secretary of the Family of the Blood of Christ, recalled and gave thanks for the eight Encounters with many laity. Saturday morning each lay group gave a brief history of its beginnings, its activities and its plans for the future. Father Emanuele Lupi, from the Generalate of the Missionaries in Rome, shared the history of the laity and the spirituality of the Precious Blood beginning with the Confraternity of the Precious Blood. Saturday afternoon we worked in groups discerning what values of Precious Blood Spirituality we are called to live out today. At the end of the day we decided the seven values we want to emphasize are: prayer, joyfulness, reconciliation, mercy, charity, vocation, and defense of life.
In our Sunday morning prayer we committed ourselves to making these values part of our lives and our ministry. Then each congregation met with their lay groups and each group made their commitment to live out one of these values during 2017. Our encounter ended with Eucharist and each group presenting their commitment and depositing it in an earthen vessel that had the name of the value to which they were committing themselves.
Finalizing the Eucharist, the participants congratulated our community for our 60 years in Chile. Our first Sisters arrived the evening of January 15, Mother Maria Anna Brunner´s entrance into eternal life. On January 16 they were permitted to descend from the ship, Santa Margarita, and touch Chilean soil. Gratitude fills our hearts for the many Sisters who have lived among us in Chile, many of whom are with God while others continue their mission in the U.S. May we continue this dream realized by our first Sister pioneers in 1957 as we continue to share our Redeeming Precious Blood Spirituality.
Everyone left the encounter with a lot of enthusiasm and renewed energy for making Precious Blood Spirituality a vital part of their lives and for sharing it with others.
Story by Sister Maria Luisa Miller