I see an almond tree branch
Together on the Journey
During my first few weeks in Lucerne I was struck by many things. One thing that touched me deeply and on which I have reflected is the Sisters of “House Bernarda”. There are three sisters, Sr Ancilla Pia, Sr Erica Maria and Sr Armanda, who have been in “House Bernarda” for many years, serving only the Generalate. I was touched from the moment when these sisters said goodbye to the members of the previous Congregational Leadership to how they welcomed the new team. Their farewell tears showed me how much affection they felt for the outgoing team. At the same time, I noticed how they immediately opened up to the new members of the CLT. They desired to get to know us and show us that they would take care of us too, although none of us spoke German and none of them spoke English. They are sisters who are over 80 years old, yet they are here only for us...
Looking at their age and the readiness to serve, I thought about the question that the Lord posed to the prophet Jeremiah: "What do you see, Jeremiah?“ and Jeremiah replied: "I see an almond tree branch." (cf. Jer 1:11)
It is a strange answer ... In fact, Jeremiah lives in a very difficult moment for his country: it is a time of profound political and religious crisis. Yet in the time when everything seems to be lost, Jeremiah sees an "almond tree branch" ... He sees the life that still blossoms within the folds of that winter, which envelops the history and faith of the people of Israel.
In the winter of some part or some dimension of our Congregation, we are called to be attentive to:
the life that is being born not ending
and trusting in what God is doing now..
it is a gift and a challenge!
Mother Bernarda taught us this with her life and her choices. She chose to live as a consecrated woman in villages in a time when convents were closed. She chose to educate the poorest because she saw in them not what was missing but the potential that could come to light. She knew how to see the almond branch in the winter of the history of her time and trusted that God would bring about its flowering, thus transforming her society ... And after her, many other sisters... Even today.
And you , dear Sister, what do you see?
Thanks for every time you help the Congregation to look at the almond tree branchpresent in our time ...
Sr Bernadette, Sr Fatima, Sr Matilde and Sr Rose Paul