Production of 2000 Hand-Made Twine Rosaries for the Granting of Scholarships for the Formation of 12 Vocations of The Marian Community of Reconciliation in Lima, Peru
Project location: PERU, Lima
Project start date: September 2009 - Project end date: March 2011
Project number: 2009-40
Beneficiary: Marian Community of Reconciliation
The Marian Community of Reconciliation is a young religious community with new vocations every year. Vital importance is given to the formation period of the Fraternas, since the formation they receive during the initial years will greatly influence in their preparation and spiritual maturity as well as their apostolic zeal in order to face the challenges of the present times. This initial period is called the Aspirant phase characterized as a specific time in which they fully dedicate themselves to consolidating their vocation and to preparing for the universal scope of their mission.
During this period they start to develop an intense spiritual life, study the faith of the Church, learn the Sodalit spirituality and receive basic theological and philosophical instruction. It is a very important time for them to internalize the values of the Gospel, and mature in their commitment to Christ and the evangelizing mission of the Church.
During 2009, the community welcomed 12 vocations from Lima, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, England and Colombia. These young women began their first year of formation with a Mass celebrated in the chapel located in the Formation House; they were filled with enthusiasm and joy as they responded to their vocation.
During this year, many activities were implemented in order to achieve the goals proposed at the beginning or the year in the formation of the new vocations. The strategies planned were focused in three main areas: spiritual life, intellectual and physical area.
Through their spiritual lives, the Fraternas seek to obtain:
1. A constant and perseverant life of prayer and meditation on the Gospel
2. The experience of a deep encounter with the Lord Jesus in their prayer and study
3. The firm certainty of God's call to this vocation
The goals achieved in this area are the result of daily prayer (personal and communitarian). Personal prayer consists of meditations with spiritual readings, Bible readings, Marian readings, Lectio, praying the rosary and 30-minute visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Besides, the whole community prays together The Liturgy of the Hours (Morning and Night prayers).
Another important activity was the vigils every Thursday. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed overnight and the Fraternas took one-hour shifts during the night to visit Him. It was a very special moment to accompany the Lord Jesus in prayer.
There were also weekly spiritual retreats in silence. During these retreats, the Fraternas in formation meditated on the Sodalit spirituality. They had also a special three-day retreat during Holy Week as well as the 5-day-long Spiritual Exercises in October.
. In addition to this regular schedule, two longer retreats were held during the year 2010-2011 at the Formation Centre:
• Holy Week Retreat - March/April 2010: A three-day silent retreat for all the sisters in formation, led by the formation team. The retreat consists of talks, meditations, prayers and the liturgies of the Church that help the Fraternas grow in the significance of the Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection and participate more intensely in this most important time in the Church's year.
• 10-day Spiritual Exercises: The Fraternas in formation went on Spiritual exercises during October. During 10 days of silent encounter with the Lord Jesus they were able to renew their spiritual combat.
During these first two years of formation, the Fraternas have achieved the following goals in the intellectual area:
1. In-depth study of the Sodalit spirituality, catechism and the Bible
2. In-depth study of Church History
3. Studies in moral teaching and philosophy
The Fraternas received different classes, most of them taught by older Fraternas with qualifications in theology, philosophy and other subjects. They had the following classes:
Sodalit spirituality I (Aspirants Core Class) 12 months
Catechism 12 months
Logic 4 months
Philosophy I (Introduction) 12 months
Learning methods 4 months
Spiritual life workshop I 4 months
Mass and liturgy workshop I 3 months
Music, English and painting workshops 3 months
Sodalit Spirituality II
Moral Theology (intensive)
Church History (intensive)
During the last months, the formation program was reformulated in order to give priority to courses such as Catechism, Anthropology, Philosophy and basic Theology.
The Fraternas assigned at least 10 hours weekly to study these subjects, not considering the hours they need to attend the classes. The personal research as well as studying groups helped the development of different kinds of interests such as literature, art, history, science, etc. The resources used to these activities were internet, encyclopedias and books. Teachers were also hired for the classes described before.
On the other hand, every week they had a specific time, called "the cultural night" to discuss about a book, an especial event occurred during the last days in the world or an interesting article about a specific topic such us economy, theology, psychology, etc. This kind of activities enriches their knowledge about different issues and contribute to build a critical opinion about the world and its current and history events based on Christian principles.
A very important event during the last year was the "Cultural Week in the Maria Inmaculada Formation Center". Conferences, expositions, discussions were performed by the Fraternas in formation. For this activity, they spent time researching their topics, chosen according to their special interests. During this preparation time they also visited the Museum of Anthropology in order to learn more history of Peru, country of foundation for the Marian Community of Reconciliation.
As part of the intellectual formation plan the Fraternas also attended conferences, talks and congresses organized by the archdiocese and other institutions such as Encounter (Cultural Association) or the Christian Life Movement (CLM).
In 2010 the community opened a new Auditorium-Library in the International Formation Centre. This facility was made possible thanks to the generous donations received from donors. This place is dedicated exclusively to research, study, video forums, lectures, classes, foreign language learning, etc.
Knowing the importance of caring for our bodies, the MCR seeks to take care of the main areas of the Fraternas' health.
Sports like running, swimming and physical exercises were practiced in order to be healthy and to be disciplined. The regular schedule includes time for sports once or twice a day. Usually Fraternas go running, but for health reasons, some of them need to swim or do special exercises. That is the reason for the maintenance and renovation of sports equipment such us mats and weights, and also the maintenance of the swimming-pool becomes an important issue to attend.
The Apostolic Mission
All the efforts invested in formation are expected to give+ abundant fruits in the apostolic mission. The MCR works in four specific areas in our apostolate, which are the evangelization of culture, youth and young Adult Ministry, promotion of the family and life, and solidarity with the poor and most needy.
After the three years of formation, the apostolate of the Fraternas also includes the development of their careers in diverse fields, such as education, theology, philosophy, social communications, psychology, architecture, law, medicine, engineering, design, social work, music and others.
Some of the projects the Fraternas work in after formation, are:
- White Cross: Association which offers summer and winter camps for 900 orphans and street kids from the shanty towns in Lima and Callao-Peru every year.
- Give the gift of Hope: This is a social project that began in Medellin, Colombia in 2001 with the help of 50 Catholic youth from various schools and colleges. It offers poor children classes on how to read and write, tutoring, catechesis and recreation. The project has also been started in Ecuador, Chile and the Dominican Republic.
- Seeds of Hope: A choir network comprised of children between 5 and 12 years old, who live in shanty towns and are in social risk because of the environment and conditions they live in.
- Encounter: Cultural association that seeks to respond to the challenge of contributing to the creation of an authentic Christian culture through events, publications and the spreading of Christian thought in the different spheres of communication.
- The Catholic Association of Psychology (Asociación Católica de Psicología - ACAP): It seeks to encourage the evangelization of culture through spreading a psychological proposal based on an anthropology that is in accordance with the principles of the Catholic Church. Services offered include: investigations, publications, continuous formation of therapists, and specialized consultancy for different institutions and people in the areas of clinical, social and educational psychology.
During their formation time, Fraternas spend three months in one of our apostolic communities, gaining hands-on experience before receiving their apostolic missions.
In the year 2010-2011 sisters were sent to the communities of Sydney (Australia), Medellin (Colombia), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Lima (Peru), Arequipa (Peru), Connecticut (USA) and San Antonio (USA). These experiences gave them the opportunity to train for apostolic life by giving talks, retreats, leading mission trips, helping in our projects and leading groups of young people.
One of the new initiatives is the new project "Cruz Blanca - Huaraz". This Project, run by Fraternas in Huaraz, aims to respond to the worrying educational levels among school-aged children in the Peruvian Highland city of Huaraz and its surrounding villages by running literacy and maths workshops as well as giving catechesis and teaching cooking, art and music. Cruz Blanca - Huaraz provides a welcoming home away from home for these children where they can develop their cognitive, artistic and motor skills, as well as learn habits and attitudes that help them to recognize their worth as human beings. During the past year sisters have run several pilot projects that have helped to further develop the project at a more practical level, and that have enabled to know the children and their parents better and respond to their needs more effectively. Through these pilot projects the community has reached over 250 children, and received the support of almost 50 volunteers from Huaraz and other parts of Peru and the world.