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Día 15

Today is the last day of our mass together since the Korean priest who has been with us these days will leave for his country of residence. He has been a great part of this encounter and we are grateful to him for offering his services to say mass everyday.

We started our gathering by presenting in the bigger group the commitments each zone/province/country has come up with.

As this encounter is  about to end we also have the time to evaluate the different aspects of what have we experienced here. So in the afternoon we gathered in small groups (“grupos de vida”) and evaluated our experiences and the journey we had as a group and as part of the bigger group.

Late in the afternoon,  we shared in the assembly what was common in the small group sharing. All groups saw that the experience in “grupos de vida” was very positive, there was profundity, confidence and a listening attitude in the sharing,  respect for the pace of each one especially in the language and  strong ties were established among themselves.

In relation to the bigger group, they had been committed to the responsibilities given, critical, sincere, mature and inclusive.

The atmosphere had also been pleasant. They also valued the celebrations, respected the rhythm of each one and language was not  a problem.

We ended the day thanking God in prayer for all that has been and shared during the day.

August 14

We began the day in which every group showed three commitments in the assembly that they believed were necessary to impel the dream we had agreed days earlier. 

During the second half of the morning every group belonging to a cluster or province met to see how they could concretize the commitments in their reality.

At 12:30 in the afternoon we left to go to community of Kami wherein a delicious lunch was waiting for us. We were grateful to the sisters of that community for their generosity and welcoming attitude and for sharing their time with us. After lunch Mapi and Amelia, the members of the Provincial team arrived from Peru. We greeted and chat with them for a short while.

In the afternoon we went to watch the folklore festival in honor of the feast of the Virgin of Urcupina. It was the eve of the celebration. It was a show filled with colors and a festive atmosphere and we enjoyed it very much.

August 13

Stage 7

The journey continues . . . Words and commitment

“So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what he said to me.” (Jn. 18:20)

Maria motivated us to bring into life this stage  with these words: “today we will return to the dream that we, as a group, have for the congregation and that we want to offer. In the real world, to have a vision or a dream is simply the first step.

Joel Barker who was a pioneer in  popularizing  the concept of paradigm shift in order to explain the importance of vision to promote change in the organizations said:

A vision without action is only a dream
         An action without vision is only a heavy work

        But a vision without action can only change the world.

Therefore, we will continue the process reflecting what is asked of us together as a group to make this dream we have for the Congregation true ... "

Personal Work

What is being asked of our generation in this moment and in view of the future?

In the small groups and in the assembly we agreed on this work.

And after that she invited us to do personal work guided by the following questions:

1. To what do I commit myself so that our dream will be realized?

2. To what do we commit ourselves as a group of sisters in the midlife stage so that we can attain our dream?

And as a group we came up with three commitments.

We are still in the process of having a consensus of looking towards the future and the commitments we want to attain to make our dreams come true. As soon as we have them we will let you participate of its implication in this stage.

August 12

We started the day coming up with a consensus in the assembly of the work we have accomplished in the small groups. (Dreams, challenges, possibilities and obstacles)

In the afternoon we devoted some time for personal prayer and reflection with the following questions:

1.How do I feel with the dream that the group has for the congregation?

2.What sentiments are evoked in me with the possibilities that we have discovered and with the challenges and obstacles that the congregation has to face in order for our dreams to be realized?

3. What are my main inquietudes and questions?

We concluded the day gathering what we have experienced in prayer and with this, we finished stage 6.

In the evening we gathered again to celebrate and to share the good news received by the congregation . . . a group presented an interesting skit to commemorate the origins of the congregation.

August 11

We started the meeting with the joy of the news of the approval of the Constitutions. Lillian read to us the letter that was just sent to the Congregation and a big round of applause filled the room. We are deeply grateful to the General Team for their effort and fidelity to what is desired by the congregation during these years of dialogue with the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. The news gave us more strength to keep walking in this journey and determination to promote the congregational projects.

Stage 6 


“You do not only have a glorious history to write and to tell, but a great history to build!

Put your eyes in the future towards where the Spirit drives you so that you continue doing great things.” (VC 110)

 Lillian motivated us to face the next stage of our journey:

 “This is the congregation that we have known from our own experiences and from what we have seen, heard and perceived from the sharing of the different realities, we have contemplated it with love and gratitude having Butinya and Bonifacia close to us together with our sisters in the Congregation. I am aware that I am a part of this congregational body. From her I receive energy and life, but I also recognize that the Congregation needs me. I give her my life, my capacities, my dreams, my strengths and weaknesses . . . my present and my future. Without me, something is missing in her. I look like a drop in the ocean, but I serve as the leaven in the dough.”

“As part of  this body,  I feel responsible for her life, for her charism, for her present and future together with the sisters in the congregation. Therefore I want to share my dreams for her which are also her dreams for me, for my community, my zone and my province.”

(From the words of Lillian)

This was the proposal of  what to do next:

PERSONAL WORK:  We went over the synthesis of the work done in  Stage 5 and reflected on the following questions:

  • How do I see the congregation moving toward the future?

  • How do I see the charism helping us to journey in the future?

  • What challenges do I believe  must be confronted with the possibilities I discover and with the obstacles that I glimpse along that journey?

GROUP WORK:  Agree on three dreams, three challenges, three possibilities and three obstacles that we have discovered and share them in the assembly the next day.

What we have done today started the process of dreaming together the future of the congregation. We will continue with the same work for the next days which we will  share with you.

August 10

Day of passage 

Objective: To gather the lived experiences in this stage that has been finished and to dispose oneself to the new stage.

Contemplating our congregation and empowering the present . . .

“ How great was my joy to see the foundation of the good Josephines started and how great was my desire that it would come to a happy ending and to spread it in the whole world.”     (Fr. Butinya)


The text of the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman motivated us to re-read what was experienced. (Jn. 4: 3-15)

We recalled what we did in this stage. In the climate of encounter, of trust, we shared with Him our experiences during the last two weeks.

  • How was my experience in this stage?
  • What are the significant experiences?

  • What have I learned? In what way do I feel enriched?

  • What difficulties have I encountered?

  • How do I feel for the congregation . . . its present and its future? What moved me from within?

We answered the question in small groups: How was my experience in this stage?

Every group prepared a symbol expressing what they shared and brought it in the assembly.

THE PLENARY: To start the plenary Mariana shared a few words to motivate us to the next activity and led us into prayer with the song “Aun Seguimos.” The groups then spontaneously expressed their experiences through symbols.

A STICK AND AT THE END ARE COLORFUL THREADS WHEREIN EACH MEMBER IN THE GROUP WAS WEAVING: this represents the desire to open doors to new ways, new horizons, weaving new experiences to give life and color to the congregation.

CLOTH: Each sister holds the corners of the cloth and moves it as if they are waves while listening to the song “ como la Sierva que busca corrientes de agua, mi alma te busca a ti Dios de mi vida”. This symbolizes that we are a congregation who need to drink water and that water is Jesus.

THEY WROTE THE NAMES: The congregation is present in  countries where we are and in different languages, this phrase is written “it is also mine” symbolizing that we are all responsible for the congregation.

A PLANT AND EACH ONE PLACING THE LIGHTED CANDLE AROUND IT: This represents the richness and diversity of the work of each one; aware that we are doing common work.

BRICKS ARRANGED IN CIRCLE AND A VASE MADE OF CLAY AT THE MIDDLE: This symbol represents the hope for the future and what is happening at present where there are difficulties and challenges, where the reality moves us and where there is faith in God who walks with us . . . let us be “all for all” as Bonifacia told us.

We closed the day praying the psalm “Del Amor de Dios Conmigo” and reading some lines from the letter of Poyanne and with the song “Tus Fuentes” we finished stage 5 of our journey.

August 9

Our day began with the celebration of the Eucharist where everyone gave thanks for Terita on the occasion of her birthday.

We went through the day reflecting on the Communitarian Apostolic Plan (CAP) and the Strategic Plan with the following points: 

1.What are your experiences in relation to the elaboration of the CAP? What was the process you followed in elaborating it?

2.Which is the greatest contribution that you discover in the CAP considering it valuable in the community-taller?

3. What is your experience of the Strategic Plan?

4. Differences that you discovered between the Global Plan and the Strategic Plan

After the personal reflection,  we gathered in small groups to share our experiences of the CAP and the Strategic Plan.

In the assembly we shared the synthesis of what was discussed in the small groups and we came up with the following: 

The experience with the CAP was very positive and it served as a dynamic instrument of community life.

The process of the elaboration of the CAP is usually done in an atmosphere of prayer. From the previous CAP it reflects the reality  of the environment and the community and  the needs to which it  will respond are prioritized. The Strategic Plan is integrated and takes into account the dimensions of fraternity, spirituality, formation and the chronogram. 

The CAP articulates and systematizes the whole life in the community bearing in mind the external and the communitarian realities. It strengthens co-responsibility, sense of congregational body and common search. 

The Strategic Plan: At the beginning it was difficult to understand its methodology but little by little we were able to enter into the process. It is a good tool for the journey the congregation is going through – it is measurable, evaluative and participative.

The Difference between the Global Plan and the Strategic Plan:

As gathered from the groups’ sharing, the strategic plan is more dynamic, operative and can be assessed.

In conclusion, Mariana and Lillian presented a powerpoint presentation about the CAP and the process that we have undergone for the elaboration of the Strategic Plan.

August 8

We started the day with the joy of the celebration of the feast of Bonifacia. In the Eucharist we remembered her life and everyone in the congregation.

Maria presented to us the work of the day; that is, to be closely acquainted with the life of our founders.

. . . and from there she proposed to us what to do next:


To be aware of my relationship with our founders

  • Who inspire me? How is my relation with them? What is their significance in my life?

From the document “Luces que arroja la documentacion sobre el P. Butina” (Eulalia Ramirez)
  • What confirm/s me from the article?
  • What lights have I received?
  • To what am I called?/To what do I feel called?


Share the personal reflections and prepare the outcome of the small group sharing in the plenary.


Share what is our relationship with our founders. Express it through a symbol.

With creativity and profundity every group expressed the experiences they reflected and shared:


They presented the symbol of a root that signifies inspiration, a trunk of the tree that expresses the relationship with the founders and the fruits which symbolize the meaning in their lives.


It represented a bridge formed by each one of them and in small pieces of paper some phrases were read in  different languages “Bonifacia and Butina were bridges.” With this image they expressed that our founders are the bridges that unite and help us to pass through the different paths of history and life.

A sister weaving symbolizes that Bonifácia and Butina are like needles weaving threads of life, they are our guide, but we  are also called to become a new fabric with our hands, our efforts...

GRUP 4: 

The symbol of the group is expressed through a fire representing the passion and hope of Butinya and Bonifacia, which was burning in their lives and to which should give light to our lives. Called to continue  keeping     the fire of our founders, the assembly were also invited to kindle the fire with twigs symbolizing our responsibility in maintaining the passion and hope of our founders.


They chose a tree with abundant fruits for their symbol. The tree has strong roots; they represent our founders and our fruits nourishing us with its sap. We are the embodiment of our charism today. 

In the evening we had a cultural presentation. A group of folkdancers from Cochabamba came to offer us a selection of dances from the different parts of the country.

Día 7

Mariana started the day with a reflection recapturing the moment and the stage we are walking and with one more step, she invited us to work in groups for the charismatic elements. This was our reflection:






August 6

A session on “U Process: An Itinerary of Hope” was introduced to us by a lay woman from Bolivia, Tania Avila. That started our day.

It was an experience filled with symbols and games . . .  which brought us closer to  build with others our dream for the future of the congregation.

In the evaluation of the experience, we saw that the process was beautiful and challenging . . . we were taught to search, work and build together – letting go of the past and welcoming the future – to be creative,  committed and  attentive to life.

We had a joyful and festive cultural night of songs, dances, music, jokes and games. We really enjoyed a lot.

 August 5

Today is a day of rest. Each one took advantage of going out – take a walk, do some shopping, visit some projects in Uspha-Uspha and we met again during supper where we spontaneously shared our experiences during the day.

 August 3-4

On the third day, we started the workshop with the theme “To feel good in order to lead” facilitated by Nuria Pedrals and Guadalupe Echeverria, Chileans.

Nuria presented to us the approach of the positive psychology that studies about  positive emotions, talents, strengths and personal virtues/qualities. From this paradigm it is very important to discover  the way to live a happy and meaningful life.

In the second moment,  through a test, we discovered  the strengths of each one, which we later shared in the assembly and discussed together what were our strengths which defined us as a group.

From the strengths of the group, she asked us to elaborate/formulate a purpose/proposal taking into account what we want to do hand in hand with the realities/needs in our respective places.

We spent the afternoon working on the the positive emotions as a tool for having a fuller life.  By means of a questionnaire,  we discovered how the positive and negative emotions interact in us.

On the following day we worked on the topic on leadership

We then conducted/answered a questionnaire to define our psychological types and we had some dynamics to show the interaction between the different types and how to make use of their respective strengths.

In the afternoon, we focused on how to take care of ourselves and maintain a level of energy that will allow/enable us to give life to our work and to have a good quality of life and relationships.

We ended up returning to the purpose/intention of our group to see how we are going to carry it out in the places where we live.

It has been an encounter that has helped and strengthened us personally and as a group. We are grateful to Nuria and Guadalupe for their generosity and for sharing with us their knowledge and expertise.

August 1

After days of intense work, we dedicated this day, Saturday for a tour in the different places of Cochabamba.

In the morning, we visited the center of Cochabamba: the park, cathedral and some shops. Afterwards, we headed to a place called “The Step” where there is a beautiful country house in which we enjoyed a tasty meal.

We continued our tour in Tarata, a town 29 km. away from Cochabamba which retains a bit of the colonial architecture; there we visited the convent of the Franciscans which was constructed in the 18th century.

We ended the day visiting the workshop of a family whose means of livelihood is making pots.

July 31

Majority of us woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning to prepare ourselves to go to the immigration for the extension of our stay here in Bolivia.

We had to wait for more than two hours on the queue before office hours. Besides the cold and being so sleepy, we also experienced that borders not only separate but discriminate and cost money.

The procedure was simple: our passport was marked with a seal allowing us to stay for 30 days more but it wasn’t the same for all of us – for all the countries. Cuba, for example had to pay 210 Bolivian pesos and our sisters from Congo had to travel in La Paz and stayed there for two days just to finish the processing of their visa.

In the afternoon we shared with our small groups the questions Lillian gave to us the day before:

1. How do I see the congregation today?

  • Always alive, a trunk with different branches
  • Is a dynamic congregation inspite of  the reality that many are in midlife and in the latter stage of life.
  • With consecrated women who has option for the poor woman
  • Networking
  • Acquainted with the reality
  • Respect the diversity of cultures
  • Committed in the charism, taking risks
  • The charism is incarnated.
  • Sensitivity to the care of creation
  • The model of governance challenges us.
  • Capacity of embarking on with a look towards the future
  • We are women in search, on a journey, committed to women and open when needed
  • Lacking in the vision of the future ( Pastoral Care of Vocations)
  • Concerned about the PCV but there’s no response
  • There’s a strong sense of awareness for the recreation of the charism.
  • We know our realities and the persons whom we are with, our recipients/collaborators and the sisters
  • Greater sense of belonging to and love for the congregation
  • We make present the incarnated Jesus.
  • From our littleness, we are prophets of the times.
  • We have different levels of organization and systematization (commissions, Christian industry, working with women)
  • Seeing all the realities has enriched us and has opened us to new horizons.

2. With the image that I see about the congregation and hand in hand with the vision of the congregation, what conclusions do I have?

  • Incarnated spirituality
  • Dignity of women
  • Simple lifestyle
  • Care of creation
  • Simple women
  • Incarnated spirituality in a multicultural history
  • Available to people who need our help
  • Less networking
  • Lacking in communitarian witnessing
  • Prioritize the Youth Ministry.
  • Work more to make the charism more visible.
  • Leave other tasks in favor of those which are more related to our charism.
  • Although we are few, we give life in everything we undertake.
  • In all places where we are, we recreate our charism.
  • I deeply desire to be faithful to the charism.
  • The charism transforms people’s lives when they imbibe it.
  • Lack communitarian witnessing
  • We work so much, we have many projects but we have little time to  be with the people.
  • There are initiatives in networking.
  • Continue taking the challenge of working for PCV.

July 30

We continued with our trip to the different realities of the congregation.

In the morning we became more familiar with the province of Peru 

and in the afternoon with the cluster of Congo. 

After these three days of life sharing, Lillian invited us to recall our experiences guided by the following questions:

  • How do I see the congregation today?

  • With the image that I see about the congregation and hand in hand  with its vision (Strategic Plan 2011-2017), what conclusions do I have?

We spent some time for personal reflection.

Delicious “arepas” were prepared by our sisters from Colombia for our supper.

The day wouldn’t be complete without the beautiful “Qoa” ceremony which is an expression of  communion to Mother Earth and a sign of respect and thanksgiving to the different indigenous groups. We all gathered before a bonfire dancing around and offering our prayers, wishes and desires. We ended the day with cheers and dance. Thanks to our sisters from Peru-Bolivia who led us to this experience.

July 29

It is now the turn of Holy Family Province. The sisters made the ambiance in the dining room more Filipino by hanging colorful flaglets, playing Filipino folk music and offering rice for breakfast.

A prayer dance marked the beginning of their report which was creatively presented in a form of a newscasting style on tv. They shared about the geographical, political, economical, religious and social realities  as well as the different presences of the congregation. Holy Family Province is composed of three countries: Philippines, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. Filipino food was served during lunch which everybody enjoyed.

The next reporters were the sisters from Spain who also discussed about their own realities in the areas of geography, socio-political, congregational, some of their presences: to name them – the Youth Ministry and Pastoral Care of Vocations and the Lay apostolate. They also talked about the great works/characteristics of Talleres de Solidaridad. Everyone was also delighted with the ham, cream cheese, drinks which they served for supper.They called it a day when they invited everyone to a festive celebration of music and dance. 

July 28

We welcomed another day with joy as Peru celebrated its “fiestas patrias.”  The dining room was decorated with red and white flags prepared by the sisters from Peru. The lively music also made the atmosphere festive and alive.

We had a session with Fr. Victor Codina, SJ on the first hour of the morning who shared with us the encyclical of Pope Francis “Laudato Si.”

“The recent encyclical Laudato Si had world repercussion. For many, this is the Magna Carta of integral ecology, the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, a green encyclical, a disturbing letter, impressive, subversive and of great social importance with regard to the care of the common home, a call to the ecological conversion from the perspective of the poor . . .”

“Laudato Si is not only a pastoral letter but a prophetic voice: it denounces pollution and climate change, announces God’s plan for creation and calls to conversion to an integral ecology.

“This prophetic voice which discerns the signs of the times is like the watchman who announces both incoming dangers as well as the dawn; it is good news for a generation that feels trapped in its own nets and searches with anguish for a voice to liberate it from the slavery into which it has fallen. May we listen today to that prophetic voice of Francis . . .”

In the second half of the morning, we had the presentation of the different realities of the congregation and  it was the province of Maria de Nazaret who started first. The sisters sang Nino Bravo’s “America” while holding the  flags of their own countries (clusters) which compose the province. After that, we got to know their province in its totality and what each one is doing.

Cuba was the first one to present; it is good to take note, then, that Cuba was the first foundation of the congregation outside of Spain.

The sisters of Peru prepared a delicious meal for lunch typical of their country and a toast with “Pisco.” We were also happy with the presence of Pepita and Justina who belong to the community of Kami.

In the afternoon, Argentina, Colombia and Chile continued their presentation.

In every report, the political, economic and social realities of the country and the life of the congregation ( sisters in the communities, apostolic projects, functions of the different commissions or team) were given emphasis.

The whole day activity was finished in the evening after supper . . .  it was a very enriching moment.

July 27

We started the fifth stage:

Contemplating our congregation and empowering the present

"... How great was my joy to see started the foundation of good josefinas ... and how great the desire that I have because it bring to fruition and spread throughout the world ..."(Francisco Butinyà)

Mariana, at the beginning of the day, recalled the different tasks we have accomplished which motivated us to continue with our personal work  and to share with our assigned groups.

After personal reflection and placing everything into prayer, the different groups came up with the following responses from the questions given: 

How do I feel being in the congregation today?

  • On a journey
  • Alive
  • Taking risks

  • In communion
  • Active part
  • Confronted
  • With hope
  • Critically aware
  • With a sense of belonging
  • Living the demands of the call
  • In continuous search
  • In uncertainty
  • Valued and supported

What gives me life in the congregation?

  • Contextualized liturgy
  • Celebrations
  • Daily work
  • Participation in searching for the right direction

  • Spaces of formation
  • Responsibility
  • Service
  • Self-giving/Witnessing of the elderly sisters
  • Life of the founders
  • The community 
  • Our collaborators

What do I contribute to the congregation?

  • Reflection 
  • Fidelity
  • ·      Passion and commitment for the mission
  • Our limitations and fears

  • Vocation lived with responsibility 
  • Creativity 
  • My capacities 
  • Service 
  • Capacity for reflection 
  • Lights 
  • Our option for women
How do I perceive the congregation today and the response that it is giving to the challenges of the realities?
  • On the journey with renewed fidelity
  • Taking little risks
  • In the process of change
  • Learning to work in a team and networking
  • Open

  • Workers 
  • Slow in making decisions 
  • Little creativity 
  • Settled

July 26

We started the day celebrating the birthday of Mabel and uniting ourselves with her in gratitude for the gift of her life.

In the morning we were asked to pray and reflect on the letter of Pope Francis to the consecrated persons with these two questions: 

How do I live my being a disciple of Jesus today as a Sierva de San Jose?

To what do I commit myself to make this discipleship possible?

In the afternoon, we shared what we have reflected on in our small  groups and the summary of the group sharing was presented in the assembly.

The conclusions or synthesis made by each group were posted on the wall and from there we prioritized what we considered as more relevant.

It has been an  experience with depth and questions  from our lives.   Knowing that we want to follow Jesus and to commit ourselves to this dream challenges our hopes and achievements and impels us to be more involved in making the following of Jesus  possible today  as Siervas de San Jose.

Finally, we also would like to say, that these days, we have our daily celebration of the Eucharist with a Korean priest  which enables us to have our liturgy closer and adapted to our reality.

July 25

It’s another day for personal reflection . . . . but this time it’s about community-taller and intergeneration. 

The material used to deepen our understanding of the said topic was the article of Fernando Gonzalez Sanz “The Tensions of the Young Religious.” There were 12 tensions mentioned by the author which are somehow being experienced by the elderly and the younger generation in the community. Some proposals posed for reflection and sharing:

  • Be aware of my personal experiences in relation to what the author has mentioned in the article.
  • How do I confront these tensions?

Our personal experiences are being enriched if shared with others which we usually do. We gathered again in small groups to see where each one is and discussed among ourselves better ways on how to confront the tensions we have seen and experienced. Answers which we felt more relevant and helpful were brought to the assembly

In general we felt identified with the different tensions mentioned and it was elaborated even more with the sharing of our personal experiences in the different groups.

We consider the importance of dialogue and transparency, having no judgment and creating possible spaces for encounter and sharing.

The flexibility in structure and schedule when talked about in community and brought into consensus can help improve our day-to-day life, keep us closer to one another and reduce tensions..

We also saw the relevance of contextualized liturgy so as not to fall into the routine way of praying . . . a prayer based from events and lived experiences of the community.

Since it’s the feast of Galicia today, the sisters from that place celebrated a ritual ceremony which they call “Queimada” and the songs and dances added life to the celebration. 

It was a day rich in experiences, reflection and life.

July 24

We started the fourth phase of our encounter – “How to be disciples of Jesus today.”

“Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the good news of the kingdom of God . . . 

(Lk. 8:1-3)

Victor Codina, a Jesuit priest initiated the encounter with a question: Is religious life blocked? And with the 20 points he gave us, we were led to question ourselves and to address where the Spirit leads us. He talked about the challenges of religious life taken from the teachings and example of Pope Francis inviting us to reflect in small groups what resonates today in the realities we find ourselves as Siervas de San Jose.

Significant learnings expressed in the groups:

· Marks a new style of religious life.

· Called to a personal revision of life

· Change of structure and mentality

· An open and committed church

· It’s a challenge that animates us and gives us hope.

· It’s an attitude of openness and in continuous search.

· Called to evangelize

· A religious life with meaning

We ended the day with the celebration of the Eucharist presided by Fr. Victor Codina, SJ

Tomorrow we will start with the topic on Intergeneration in the Community-Taller.

Día 23

We spent the day gathering our experiences through prayer and reflection having in mind  the exposure we had in the different places and centers (both SSJ and non-SSJ) of Cochabamba  and  the talk on Inculturality and the realities of Bolivia.

Themes:  Women, Ecology, Racism and Xenophobia, Religion and Interreligious Dialogue and the Working World.

We  proceeded into our small groups in the afternoon for the sharing:  What remained in us after all these experiences? What calls do we discover which the Lord  gives us through the experiences lived?

Then each group shared in the assembly the calls which they have felt emphasizing on what is more significant:

  • ·        Greater openness to the congregation looking at the realities with nearness and creativity.

  • ·        Knowing  the political and social processes of the country (Bolivia) and its capacity for organization and leadership.

  • ·   Allowing ourselves to be questioned by the realities we have seen which motivated us to discover new spaces from the point of our charism.

  • · Appreciating our encounter with the Lay Josephines,  their commitment and  close  collaboration and coordination with the sisters here in Bolivia.

  • ·    We were deeply impressed with the work of our sisters here -  for their generosity and for their being one among many in the building of  the kindom of God.
  • ·     What was specially significant for us was the  community’s apostolic work with women, their process of empowerment and the accompaniment in their  projects like functional literacy, embroidery, feeding program, etc.

At night we finished watching the film "También la lluvia" which recounts the issue of water war in Bolivia.

This concludes the third stage.

July 21-22

We welcomed the day thanking God for the gift of Jenny on the occasion of her birthday.

These two days have been moments for us to work together again as a group making a research on the following social issues:

· Ecology: climate change, global warming, creation care.

· Women in the society and in the church: gender issues, violence against women

· Racism and xenophobiaImmigrants and political refugees.

· Religion
: interreligious dialogue, its conflicts and challenges

· Working World
 unstable work, unemployment

Guidelines for the group work:

a. Make your report more precise and focused having your work as your point of reference.

b. Gather information and make documentation.

c. Make an analysis of the particular topic assigned.

d. Write the illuminations/lights received from these realities.

e. Make your conclusions.

The groups presented their reports to the assembly in a more creative way. We did all what we could to expand and deepen our assigned report being enriched by the sharing of each one and being able to work as a team inspite of differences in pace, language and experience.

These social issues led us to question ourselves, to be enlightened and challenged and to sitúate ourselves in the process we are going through as a congregation confirming that these are integrated in the strategic objectives and in the mid-year evaluation.

Día 20 

We started the day celebrating the Independence Day of Colombia.

And to deepen more our knowledge of the realities of Bolivia, we had an exposure the whole day. We were divided into two groups to visit some institutions. One group went to the Maryknoll International Missionary Center whose objective is to initiate a personal-communitarian formation in theology and missionary practice in Latin America. 

The other group visited Fe y Alegria Center and its purpose is to improve the quality of education which gives importance to matters on gender issues. This objective is realized through: 

  • Offering consultation to educative communities.
  • Working with children who are slow learners 
  • Formation of youth leaders .
  • Protection of women against any type of violence.

In the afternoon, one group visited the “Manfredo Rauh” Foundation house of catechist (CADECA), an institucion of the archdiocese of Cochabamba for the formation of catechists in the rural area.  We were impressed with their work of art – the frames found in the chapel with the “Andino Boliviano” style . . . which expressed more importantly of salvation history, the life of Jesus and the history of the church.

The other group had the chance to encounter the sisters of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (MIC) and their students at the Institute of Rural Education (IER). It is a formation center for poor students coming from the different far places of Bolivia . . . young students who are also willing to learn some technical skills like Sewing and Dressmaking, Computer, Agriculture and Nursing. Once they finish a particular course, they are entitled to receive a diploma/certificate.

Students who come from far places live inside the school campus and are helped by the sisters.

Late in the afternoon we visited the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Urkupiña, a place known for its devotion to the Blessed Virgin here in the city. The first community of the SSJ in Bolivia lived in a house near this sanctuary and from here they transferred to the place where they are now.

July 19

We spent half of the day listening once again to Fernando Garces who discussed about decolonization picking up from the realities of Bolivia. Some changes were made in our schedule and we were left on our own in the afternoon. Others preferred to stay at home and rest while 22 of the participants went to La Cancha, the people’s market, for shopping.

July 18

The morning prayer motivated us to continue immersing ourselves in the realities of the poor in our midst which disposed us to listen to Fernando Garces, a sociologist from the State University of St. Simon of Cochabamba.

He presented to us the reality of Cochabamba with the following topics:

1. Interculturality 
2. "Plurinacionalidad" 
3. Decolonization

At the middle of the day, we visited the house of the community in Kami where we enjoyed a hearty meal and we felt so united with the community as they shared their life and work with the women workers (embroiderers) and with the Lay Josephines who call themselves “Friends of St. Joseph”. We had a great time with them . . . praying and offering  praises and thanksgiving at the beginning of the gathering, sharing what they do as a group and presenting a series of dances from the different departments of Bolivia. 

Tomorrow we will continue our deepening in the reality of Bolivia again with Fernando Garces.

                              July 17

The previous day we were acquainted with the reality of Bolivia through a powerpoint presentation which somehow led us to the third phase of our journey.

Looking at the world in which we are called to live . . . 

“Yahweh said, I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt and I hear their cry when they are cruelly treated by their taskmaster. I know their suffering.” (Ex. 3:7)

During the morning prayer, we were invited to take a look at the reality from the eyes of God and like Jesus to go beyond frontiers and to welcome what is foreign and different (Mk. 7: 23-31 – the faith of the Syrophoenician).

Gregoria Quico gave an orientation of the life, environment and the apostolic work of the community here in Bolivia, particularly in Uspha-Uspa. We spent the whole day knowing its reality . . .

Días 15-16

As we have already mentioned, these past three days had been moments of taking a closer look in our life, remembering the experiences of the past in which we have to continue processing and learning from them.

We were also asked to spend time to reflect on our present life in order to know and share what is more significant in this stage of our life.

Finally, the other topics taken were about affectivity, sexuality, empowerment, self-esteem and communication.

These days had been fruitful and meaningful having shared some  personal experiences  which brought us to know one another better.

July 14

We began the second phase of our itinerary:

Remembering memories in our life . . .

“ But this, when I ponder, is what gives me hope: Yahweh´s love abides unceasingly. (Lamentations 3:21-22)

After the morning prayer, Mariana introduced to us Vania M. Escoba Vargas, a lay psychologist, who is going to accompany us during these three days with the following themes:

1.Taking a glance of the past

2. My present reality

3. Facing the future

These days will be moments of deepening what is important in our life and what possibilities life offers us today.

We will share with you the reflection of these days . . . deepening on what is important at this moment and taking the possibilities of what is offered to us from our own process and life experiences.

July 13

We started the day with a prayer in which we were asked to reflect on our being women believers having Ruth in the Old Testament as our point of reference.

“The biblical book of Ruth is not only the story of a woman, it is an icon of what it means to be a woman of God, to live under the impulse of the Spirit and to be a creative part of the creative power of God. It reminds us of how God leads us step by step into the different stages of life, how He acts in each one of us and calls us in whatever time or place.

Life, its substance and its meaning, is made up of stages that mark our history as women throughout time. The manner in which we face each one of these moments, determines who I am and who we are, who and what we are called to be, who and what we can gradually become, both in the social and spiritual sphere...

. . . Each one of us is a universe of experiences and capacities, of possibilities and hopes, of remembrances and surprises, of gifts and desires. Each stage of life is a grace that teaches us something about ourselves, demands something more serious from us and makes us capable to deepen even more on God. And when each stage develops, we go back to that house which is our heart to find the hidden parts of our being which will come into existence depending on the options that we make today.”  (Excerpts from the book of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Woman’s Life” by Joan Chittister)

After the prayer.  Lillian expressed her gratitude for the support and collaboration  given by the different communities  to make this encounter possible. We were animated to live with enthusiasm and creativity after  having explained to us the significance of  the theme for this encounter.

Fragments of words directed us to the beginning of the meeting Lillian:

"In the name of the General Team, I would like to thank you for having responded to our invitation to participate in this encounter. We are aware of what being here meant for you to leave behind your communities and work, giving additional burden to the sisters and other persons who are assuming your responsibilities while you are here. Besides, for many of you, coming here has meant complications in getting visas and long hours of trip including stopovers.

Although they may not be here, I would like to thank the sisters of your communities and the collaborators in the different projects in which you are involved, for their generosity to fill the space that you have left behind in the community and for supporting you so that you can be here now.

...We consider it important not just for you but also for the Congregation. You are, to a great extent, the future of the Congregation.

Reflecting on the suggestions you have sent us and gathering the more important points, we have chosen for the theme of this encounter,: 


We remember the pastIt is important to look behind in order to understand better the present and know how live it in plenitude, and in order to move on ahead into the future.  

We empower the presentAs a group, you need to learn skills to live the Charism today with creativity and fidelity, live another kind of personal and community lifestyle illumined by the gospel in order to face the new exigencies of consecrated life..

By being empowered, each one of you, is the best way to empower the Congregation’s present.

We dream the future:  In this encounter, you will have the opportunity to do it and to offer your dreams to the Congregation as your contribution to this delicate and important task of creating our future. 

I would like to thank the sisters of the Community of Kami and the Province of Peru for their warm welcome and service so that this encounter may be a rich and unforgettable experience for each one of us. With love and excitement, the sisters have worked much and have collaborated with us in the preparation and organization of this encounter. 

We are holding this encounter during this Year of Consecrated Life. I hope that this congregational event will serve to fan into flame your first love, strengthen your being disciples of Jesus in Nazareth and renew your living out of our identity as Siervas de San Jose.

The objectives of the meeting are as follows:

To provide an adequate space and experience for the sisters in the midlife stage coming from the different countries where the congregation is, the objectives of this encounter are as follows:

1. To be able to know and to relate to one another , allowing oneself to be enriched by the different cultures, sharing one´s experiences and dreams, searching together a better future for keeping the congregational projects and mission alive and as a group, mutually support one another in its implementation.

2. To renew in depth the following of Jesus in Nazareth as SSJ, growing in one´s sense of belonging to the congregation and feeling co-responsible for the present and future of the congregation. 

3. To be capable and prepared to be the leaders of the congregation in the near future.

Finally, the chronogram for this encounter was presented to us in different stages.

Today is the beginning of the first stage of our encounter . . . The journey has begun.

“While they were talking and wondering, Jesus came up and walked with them.” (Lk. 24: 15)

In the afternoon . . . 

We were asked to reflect on the following questions:

1. Look at the objectives of this encounter and confront them hand in hand with your expectations.

2. What aspects do you believe must be considered to make this experience more meaningful and fruitful?

3. Make a personal commitment for this encounter.

The fruit of the personal reflection was shared in small groups and the group came up with their own commitment which was presented in the assembly.


Greetings to all and to those who are following us up closely through this blog to accompany us and to know what´s going on in our encounter.

We have arrived . . .

In the morning of July 9, the sisters from Congo, Spain and the Philippines arrived. They were fetched by Gregoria and Justina who had been waiting at the airport. They brought the sisters to the place where they will stay for the encounter.

That very night, M. Elena also arrived from Chile. On the 10th, the sisters from Cuba and Colombia came and in the evening, the sisters from Argentina. On the 11th were the sisters from Peru and Bolivia.

The journey has begun . . . 

A group dynamics of "Getting to know you" where each one introduced her name, community, cluster and province kicked off the encounter.

July 12

We gathered at the third floor of the house of spirituality which serves as our conference hall these days . . . each group carrying the symbol of the fruit of their prayer-reflection about the journey they had walked through the years as Siervas de San Jose.

Lillian and Mariana presented to the group the work of the day with the following points for reflection:

  • What springs forth within me when I contemplate the road that I have travelled until now?

  • What have I left behind to come to this encounter?

  • How do I feel at the present moment?

  • What are my expectations regarding this encounter?

  • What are my fears?

  • With what attitudes do I dispose myself to this encounter?

We spent the whole morning for personal prayer and reflection and in the afternoon each one proceeded to the assigned group for sharing.