X Meeting of the Claretian Family in Rome
From December 3rd to 8th, the Claretian Family gathered in Rome at the Pasionists’ Retreat House in Celio for its 10th Meeting. Surrounded by the sound of looms and convened around “The Chance of Love” a story written by a Claretian Layperson about the Claretian Family, we had the opportunity to celebrate and give thanks together for the journey we have traveled and the people who have been part of it for almost 40 years. Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, we were fortunate to coincide, live together, and celebrate representatives (5 Superiors or General Directors and 9 delegates) from the 8 branches that are part of this Family.
This meeting has given more relevance to the experience of family, to living it. We had the collaboration of Father Aitor Jiménez CMF, who, together with the testimony of Donatella Acerbi, a member of the Union of Catholic Apostolate-Palottine Family, shed light on the implications of being a Charismatic Family and the current call to embark on that path as the Claretian Family. We also had the presence of Fr. Adrián de Prado CMF, who, under the title “Mending to Unfold” and in continuity with the theme of the virtual meeting in November, allowed us to delve into the traits of familiarity, mission, prayer, and conversion that can be seen in Claret through some of his letters to family members and using artworks related to fabrics and textiles to enlighten us.
Like any respectable family gathering, in addition to working together, praying, and celebrating, we were fortunate to visit, guided by Fr. Vicente Sanz CMF, the places where Fr. Claret passed during his different visits to Rome. It was especially significant to visit together the rooms where St. Ignatius of Loyola died and to enter the Noble Chapel in the Jesuit House, where Fr. Xifré was ordained a priest. This chapel made us, as lay branches, feel particularly proud since the Jesuit Father who showed it to us explained that thanks to the lay communities responsible for its care, it remained intact when the Jesuits had to abandon it for political reasons. Laypeople are a reservoir of charism. The final touch of this special day was the visit to the Claretians’ General Curia and the chapel-museum of Fr. Claret. Each of us had the opportunity to hold in our hands the original Autobiography of Fr. Claret and the books containing his letters.
We also had the opportunity to share the different projects that have been developed in the Family during these years, celebrate their fruits, and ask the Lord to continue sustaining and blessing them. The projects we shared include the Youth Pastoral Project, the 4th Congress of Educators, the SOS Claret Initiative, the Claretian Family website, JPIC, the Madagascar Project, and the Claretian Family website.
The moments of celebration and sharing with members of the Claretian Family in Rome have also been special because we love what we know. These moments included a shared dinner at the general curia of the Claretian Missionaries, the vigil of the Immaculate Conception celebrated at the retreat house with members of the family branches in Rome (Missionary Sisters of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Claretian Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and Claretian Missionary Sons of the Heart of Mary), and finally, the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the general curia of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, which put the finishing touch to the meeting.
During the meeting, María Gracia García Baquero (Mimi) MIC, the Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Claretian Institution, was elected as the president of the Claretian Family for the next four years, replacing the Daughters of the Heart of Mary (HICM) in the position. Many challenges lie ahead in these next four years, such as giving continuity to the projects that have emerged, starting the process of constituting ourselves as a Charismatic Family in response to Claret’s dream and the Church’s call to synodality, and seeking new ways to improve communication within the family so that this experience can be shared and transmitted to all members. To accomplish this, Mimi will have the support of a coordinating team, appointed by her from the different branches of the family.
Claretian Family Delegate of the Claretian Lay Movement