“We aspire, according to the words of Saint Paul, to agree with one another (2 Cor 13:11) in the Lord (Phil 4:2). This unanimity or concordance we seek means unity in the judgment of reason about what must be done and unity in the will so that all may want the same thing. This concordance is born of the same faith by which we know what must be done, and from charity by which we all love the same goods and share the same burdens like good soldiers of Jesus Christ.”
Directory of Spirituality, 248

Dear Religious Family,
We would like to share with you all, the enormous grace that we had the realization of the first Provincial Chapter in the newly erected Province “Our Lady of Buenos Aires”, which is comprised of the countries of Argentina and Paraguay, including seven apostolic houses, one house of formation, and thirty sisters who work among the different communities.
In January we gathered in La Caldera, a very picturesque town in Salta, surrounded by hills and rivers. There, on January 15th, we had a day of retreat before beginning the Chapter sessions.

In this Chapter, we had the great grace that almost all of the sisters of the province were able to participate, as well as the presence of Mother María de la Consolata, General Counselor of the Servants of the Lord, and Fr. Gabriel Zapata, IVE, whose conferences and advice were very enlightening.
One of the objectives and one of the great fruits of this Chapter was to be able to inform all of the sisters about the decisions, guidelines and criteria on various issues that were seen in the 6th General Chapter, and thus be able to further strengthen the unity of spirit in our communities. All this was reflected at different moments by the great atmosphere of family and joy.

During the Holy Masses, Fr. Zapata preached on different aspects for our fidelity, such as the consecration to God, and the charism of our Religious Family.
On the 19th, closing the Chapter, Mother María de Harissa, Provincial Superior, exposed the Conclusions of the Chapter. We ended with the Solemn Mass, followed by a festive lunch with a traditional Argentine barbeque.

Contemplating the whole Chapter in general, we can say that from the spiritual retreat that we had in preparation until the last day, it was the Holy Spirit who assisted us, since “the Holy Spirit is the source of the unity of the Church: by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13), a unity which is based on charity, also a fruit of the Spirit’s action…” [1] And this fruit, fraternal charity, continued to be tangible throughout the days following the Chapter, during which we had the annual convivencia [days of community recreation].
Convivencia begins!

After some days of intensive work, we began the Convivencia, time for sharing and recreation. As we said above, La Caldera is a place whose landscapes are pleasing to the sight and allow rest for the body and soul.

Activities
Convivencia lasted one week; we could say that it was short, but for this reason we took advantage of every day to accomplish a variety of activities. We shall list below the different outings that took place:

• Waterfall at Yala (Jujuy): In Yala we hiked for several hours along the bank of a river until we arrived at a natural waterfall which is found there. This outing took all day and was very intense since what began as an easy stroll turned into rugged crossing of the terrain-deviating a bit from the road, was later the occasion of different stories and laughter.

• Cuesta del Obispo (Salta): One of the wonders of Salta’s landscapes, along its path you can see the mountains with their beautiful landscapes. The trip was to one of the highest points of the Cuesta, where there is a small chapel dedicated to St. Raphael.

• Cafayate (Salta): On the way to this city, rock formations can be seen which the most artistic eyes have already named and formed. There is the “Devil’s throat” and the “Ampitheatre”. The latter possesses marvelous acoustics, and Fr. Agustín Spezza (who accompanied us) began to play Argentine folk music on his violin while the sisters sang. This of this became part of the tourist attraction as well.

• Seclantas (Salta): this village is situated after several kilometers along a gravel road in the high mountain region. It is an old village, picturesque and full of history as great patriots have passed through here.

• Jujuy: In the capital of this province, we visited the Cathedral and the flag room, where a guide explained the history of the Argentine flag which is found there, how General Belgrano passed through Jujuy, and the Jujuy Exodus of 1817, as a strategy for escaping the Royal Army.

• Humahuaca-Tilcara-Purmamarca (north of Jujuy): we spent the night in Humahuaca and on the following day climbed Mount Hornocal, 4350 meters high, so as to enjoy the impressive view of the “14 colored peaks” and to sing and play the violin as well. Later we visited Purmamarca, and could appreciate the seven-colored peak.

• The Cabra Corral Dam (Salta): On the bank of the dam, over two days, we enjoyed the beautiful landscape, made some sports activities, navigated a little sailboat, and enjoyed the pool.

• Excursions: During these days we were also able to spend the afternoon at the Campo Alegre Dam, visit Cristo Paciente and some sisters took advantage of the opportunity to have an intense day of bicycling from place to place.

• Salta Capital: We had the grace of having Mass at the Cathedral of Salta, where the miraculous images of Christ and Our Lady of the Miracle are found. Later we passed by the historic center, listening to a short literary review of the Cathedral, the Cabildo, the Church of St. Francis and the Carmel.

The days were of much advantage, especially to catch up on some of the practical issues of community life. We also had a convivium where some sisters sang songs and recited their own works of poetry, explained icons, etc. It is always enriching to have these activities where one’s gifts are brought to light.

We also had the grace of sharing two Sundays with the members of the Third Order in Salta, where family members of our sisters who are missionaries in other countries also attended, and we had the visit of Fr. Domingo (missionary in Lithuania) together with his family.

We give thanks to God for this great gift He has given us, that of being called to be His spouses in the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word.
In Christ and His Holy Mother,

Sisters of the Province Our Lady of Buenos Aires.

[1] Directory of Spirituality, 234.

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