Fragua 16. Open letter to the Congregation

Dec 5, 2007 | Congregation, The Forge

Los Negrales, December 1, 2007

On September 8, 2007 the twelve participants in the Fragua 16 met for the first time in the community of Los Negrales, in the outskirts of Madrid. We were: José Ma. Hernández (Bética), Enrique Fernández (Euskal Herria), Camilo Eberhardt (Argentine-Uruguay), Julio Cesar Melo Miranda (Brasil Meridional), Carlos Antonio Pereira (Brasil Central), Eleuterio Dionisio Pineda Mosquera (Perú), Roberto León García (Venezuela), Daniel Gallego Arias (Colombia Occidental), Miguel Duarte Camargo (Colombia Oriental-Ecuador), Javier de Jesús Hernández Quirós (Centroamérica), Denis Jutras (Canadá), and Salvador Salgado (Antillas). We were received by the two Claretians who have guided and accompanied us in this experience: Juan Carlos Martos (General Secretary of Vocational Ministry) and José Ramón Sanz (Formator in the Theologate of the Province of Santiago, in Colmenar Viejo).

Each one of us came to the Fragua with different expectations. Some felt the need to take a break on the road and get away from the usual work in order to rethink their missionary life. Some came with tiredness and some wounds that needed healing. For others it was just a matter of meeting again with the origins and fundaments of the Claretian charisma, with places and persons who were going to help us live out the experience more fully. And there were also some who expected a series of more or less academic conferences and short courses. For all, the Fragua was seen as a strong opportunity of spiritual growth.

The experience of these months has fully exceeded all expectations, especially at the existential level, although there have also been doctrinal contents. We have embarked on a process that has progressively helped us to enter within ourselves, to face our own reality and to reorient it from the standpoint of a realistic and well centred personal project. Throughout all this time, especially during the two weeks of retreat undertaken in the monastery of Buenafuente del Sistal, we have penetrated into the experience of the spring of love of the Father, which nourishes our capacity to love and to give our life in the service of the brothers. We have lived among ourselves a very intensive and joyful experience of fraternity, although we are aware that the conditions have been exceptional. We have also experienced the fraternal welcome of the Claretian communities we have visited, and in particular that of the community of Los Negrales, an excellent hostess to our encounter. We have had the opportunity to visit the places that keep the traces of Claret and of our martyrs, and their contact has helped us re-live and reinforce our vocation. At the same time we have participated in the opening acts of the Bicentenary, which have gathered a large representation of our Congregation and of the whole Claretian Family in Vic and Sallent. The experience of service and living together with the sick and marginalized that form the therapeutic community of Basida has also been especially challenging and enriching.

At the end of this intensive experience, we return to our more serene, centred and animated Organisms, with a deep sense of gratitude to those who have made it possible, both to those who have replaced us during these months of absence and to Juan Carlos and José Ramón who, together with many other collaborators, have dedicated to us their time and their best qualities. We think that all the efforts exerted have been worth it and, from our experience of these months, we feel it is necessary, in the midst of so many activities, that we learn to find quiet times to examine our life and redirect our energies toward what really matters, that is what the Spirit is asking from us in each concrete situation.Doubtless, the Fragua is an excellent means to do this and we encourage all those who can, to take part in it.

With these feelings, please receive a heartfelt embrace from your brothers in Corde Matris.

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