Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday in Mexico

I will write more information about the actual meeting here in Mexico over the next few weeks on the website.  However for today, I want to share some of my reactions to being here.  As one might expect, meetings held in Latin America are very different from a typical gathering of US Sisters.  The process is not exactly clear and there is definitely not a road map.  Part of this is my difficulty in understanding the language, although Sr. Donna Cicolese from Philadelphia is serving as the English
Srs Ruth (Peru- Carondelet, Elizabeth (Mexico),
Ireny (Brazil- Rochester), Josefa (Brazil-Chambery)
and Raquel (Argentina)
translator and helping me quite a bit.  However, the leaders of the process really have a flexibility with what they are doing that allows them to be quite responsive to the group.  Also, others don't seem to have the need to know where everything is going, what the sequence, process or outcome will be.  It is a cultual adjustment for me- I think it is very valuable to have this experience of doing things differently.

We have a schedule but never seem to start on-time.  Today for the first time I realized that everyone gathers according to the schedule and we stand around relating with each other for 5 or 10 minutes.  No one is anxious to "get the show on the road."  It is obvious that being together is just as important as the content of the meeting.

I am literally freaked out by the openess of the sharing in group process.  The questions that we are asked to reflect on and then share in a group of almost total strangers- even though they are sisters, is incredible.  Beleive me when I say, only my closest friends know some of the things that I have shared here.  Donna is sworn to silence.  What happens is that the connections among members is deepening every day... and I think today, I really feel that there are no strangers in the room.  There are people that I cannot communicate with very well but they are not strangers.

Srs. Loudes and Loudide (Haiti) and Sr. Jeanne d'Arc
St Vallier (Canada)
I do understand a lot more than I can speak and there are enough sisters who do speak English that they help so  that I can participate in most conversations at meals and during breaks.

I was so prepared for Spanish (by that I mean that I am speaking at about a 3 year old level)  that now I can not think of a thing other than Bonjour and Merci to say to the Sisters from France and Haiti.  I can understand some of a French conversation but am paralyzed to say anything in French.  I will have to work on getting that back since I go to France in early May.  I am amazed at how much we are all able to communicate considering that we are sharing in four major languages, Spanish, French, Portuguese and English.

Tonight we are having an exchange of cultures and the US group will be leading the gang in Take Me Out to the Ballgame- wearing baseball hats, shirts and literally making fools of ourselves.

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