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News inserted on 11/12/2008

Symbols of reconciliation from the General Chapter

SMSM SistersLatin America:
The pan pipe – Latin American musical instrument and our symbol of reconciliation.

The life giving breath which comes from the depth of each one of us to play the music of life is the ruah, the breath of God.

To the extent that we personally experience the breath, the reconciling love of God, we are able to make music, celebrate and give voice to the differing pipes which are more and less receptive to the breath the ruah of God.

SMSM SistersAustralia:
Sometimes we bring a symbol of our reality.
Today we bring a symbol of our hope.
It is closely connected to the theme of our chapter.

When Sr. Janice was asked to create the “logo” for the theme of the chapter, after prayer and reflection, she was inspired by a similar “Candle holder”.

Our hope as a province is:
• To centre our life in Christ our light
• To be held together by bonds of love
• To have the light of Christ shine out through us to the world, through our actions of love.

SMSM Sisters Italy-Rwanda:
We present an unlit candle around which are entwined photos of the sisters and a branch of the olive tree: this signifies our communion with each sister of our Province and their ministry of reconciliation. Lighting the candle from the Pascal candle we would like to renew our commitment as consecrated women so that we can welcome and spread the Light of Christ beyond our own shadows. The candle that melts when light purifies us so that we can become witnesses of mercy, hope and peace as symbolised in the olive branch.

SMSM SistersNorth America:
Our symbol is that of Praying Hands (which are represented on a Poster with the word: September 11th.)

7 years ago the symbol of world finance (Twin Towers) was destroyed by terrorists. The symbol of military power (Pentagon) was attacked and the symbol of Government (White House) had a failed attack as the hi-jacked plane was brought down in a field. This event sent shock waves around the world and brought America to its knees. We acknowledged a Higher Power as we faced our helplessness and united in prayer for those who died, their families and our nation. Every September 11th since is a national day of prayer and remembrance. For most people it is a day of prayer for peace.

We also chose this symbol of praying hands because we have the largest number of elderly Sisters in the Congregation. Their mission is largely one of prayer. They are committed to this mission with the same zeal and faithfulness as they lived other stages of their lives.

All of us as called to this mission of prayer as we walk with our brothers and sisters in these difficult times - even desperate times - in our mission of Jamaica and Tanzania.

Prayer is living passionately the reconciling love of God!

SMSM SistersOceania:
We have chosen two symbols: - the traditional house (case) - and the mat

The mat is a symbol of LIFE, when a child is born or when we welcome someone into the house.
The mat is also a symbol of the WORD when RECONCILIATION is taken place or something important has happened in our traditional custom (way).
The mat is also a symbol of DEATH. When someone has died we envelop the body with the mat.

The traditional house is a symbol of LIFE, of WORDS and of DEATH. The head of the clan, head of the family, head of the village. Everyone is welcome in this traditional house. It is also a place where exchange of words and things taken place. It is a place for RECONCILIATION.

SMSM SistersSouth Pacific:
The South Pacific Province is made up of five countries with strong cultural rituals that express reconciliation: the ifoga or fine mat that covers the person asking forgiveness in Samoa, the pikorua with its crisscrossed paths representing life and the bicultural partnership of Maori and other peoples in Aotearoa-New Zealand, a Muslim malong cloth from the Philippines, the lou ifi garland of leaves worn by those seeking reconciliation in Tonga, and the whale tooth tabua from Fiji.

Today we present these symbols intertwined to show our unity within the Province and our desire to encourage one another to live passionately God’s reconciling love.

SMSM Sisters
These hands symbolise our hands that are at the same time clenched, caressing, closed, open, white, black.
Hands that bring support and care to the sick that are at the service of the most impoverished.
They help in growth They put someone back on their feet. They always find something to be done.
When the community environment becomes difficult Our hands open to ask pardon, to seek reconciliation amongst ourselves, The community then regains its peace, joy and desire to live as sisters.
These hands help us think of your hands, Lord!
With your hands, you helped the poor, the excluded
Your outstretched hands blessed children And were placed on the sick to heal them.
With these hands you shared out the bread. On Holy Thursday, with your hands you consecrated the bread which became your own Body for us and the wine which became your own Blood.
On Good Friday, you walked to Golgotha and your hands took the arms of the cross. On the Cross on high, you stretched out your arms and your hands were nailed by derision and contempt. On this Cross “God our Father reconciled us to you” (2 Cor 5: 17 – 21).
With these hands you enabled Thomas to go from doubt to faith. These hands of the Resurrected one, invite us to hope, To take ourselves in hand, not to lower our hands in face of difficulties.
Lord, remind us that the work of our hands belongs to you. They are there for us to use.
Into your hands Lord, we place our hands so that they will thus become your hands, Hands that give us Life.

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