"Members of an international Congregation, the Daughters of Wisdom are attentive to the massive consciousness of the global dimension. Inhabitants of an Earth that is threatened in its existence and where human rights are scorned, we announce the Spirit who is always at work and denounce the false wisdoms that destroy life." (Way of Life, #2)
Over the years Sisters from the United States have fulfilled this mandate by serving as missionaries in Columbia, Peru, Haiti, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Papua New Guinea. Many Sisters have served in Congregational leadership in Rome. Sisters have and continue to conduct retreats and workshops on Wisdom Spirituality, the Montfortian charism, prayer and vowed life in Madagascar, the Philippines, France, Rome, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, India and Indonesia. The global realities of our times call us in mission to be "present in a world that hungers for meaning, justice and compassion."
Well On Our Way –
Toward a Congregation Without Borders
By Sr. Diane Capozzi, D.W.
This past October (2015) I had the privilege of spending two weeks in Malawi as one of the presenters in our three-month International Program for English Speaking Members Preparing for Perpetual Commitment.
Seven participants are in the program this year, hailing from 3 different countries.
Malawi: Sr. Devota Ng’oma
Indonesia: Srs. Avilia Inur and Maria Suryati
India: Srs. Velankanni Alice, Arokianathan Tharsis Jaya Mary,
Francis Saghaya Suja and Thobias Terese Pratheeba
Shortly before my arrival, a tragic fire had destroyed the upper level of the Provincial House in Lunzu where the program was underway. Needless to say, another locale, large enough to house all those in the program needed to be found. Those in residence in the Formation House in Zomba graciously relocated, freeing the residence for the remaining duration of the program.
How God works in mysterious ways! This misfortune played an essential role in group-formation. The shared experience of trauma served in bonding at a deeper level, somehow creating a sense of perspective on what is most important in life. And a smaller, more intimate space contributed to cohesion. An added bonus -an inspiring view of the majestic Zomba Mountain and a climate a bit cooler than Lunzu!
During my stay in Malawi, I presented two workshops: Human Development and Women in Scripture, Society and Church. In the first week, we focused on our own development, physically, emotionally and psychologically, along with its influence on our relationships. This provided a foundation for what followed in week two as we were then able to clearly see that the women whom we considered share our same humanity, struggles, hopes, and fears. They are our role models and their call is our call. With a sense of great pride, each sister presented women from her own society and culture who have made a difference in Church, politics, the status of women and justice for the oppressed. These inspiring presentations led all to a deepened conviction and commitment to make a difference in our world, wherever we may be.
One of the on-going goals of the Daughters of Wisdom at this moment in history where the global village must take precedence over nation dominating nation is to become a “Congregation without Borders,” a congregation where we are not defined by and limited to our country of origin, but are rather available for mission wherever the need may be. International and intercultural formation programs such as the one spoken of here are bearing much fruit. Being with these sisters has deeply inspired me. They know what they are committing themselves to and freely express their desire and their willingness to leave their own countries and go where the gospel leads.
Here are but a few of the comments from the participants at the closing of our time together:
“I am grateful for being a woman. To be a woman is a blessing from God, to stand for truth and justice.”
“The women’s stories motivated me to make a difference in my and others lives. I felt one among them.”
“Knowing oneself is the core of my journey. So this workshop was very significant. I can understand and accept others when I can know or understand and accept myself first.”
“I am searching and found myself at this time as the person who I am. I have started to move from a false self to a true self. It has helped me to realise what is going on inside me making me able to overcome the challenges in my life. I see that Wisdom is truly present in the experience.”
“I am grateful for all the sharing we have done and listening to the others makes their experience mine.”
I would like to close on a personal note. Having returned to Malawi, to the country where I had spent many years of my life, has been a most rewarding experience. Seeing the development that has taken place not only in the country, but most especially in this Province of the Daughters of Wisdom, fills me with such pride and joy. PRIDE– in that we as a Congregation have seen to and continue to see to the on-going spiritual and professional development of our sisters there. And JOY – because it has borne much fruit. Our sisters are leaders, not only in the Province and the Congregation, but also in the Church and society of Malawi.
Photos above: Top Left, Sr. Diane Capozzi, DW; A view of the Zomba Mountain; Top Right group: (left to right, top row): Srs. Diane, Preteeba, Regina (assistant) and Suja, (left to rightbottom row): Srs. Avila, Maria, Alice, Devotta and Jaya; Group shots: Sisters Maria, Preteeba and Jaya participate in small group work (left), as do Srs. Avila, Alice, Suja and Devotta (right). The group visits with local children (bottom left).