"For everyone there is a turning point in life and this, if well lived, is often the beginning of happiness." (Saint Pedro Poveda)
In order to enliven our encounter with others, exchange meaningful experiences and reflect on the mission with university students today, we met with members of eight residences of America, five of which are managed by the Teresian Association, with the theme "More than just residing."
Representatives of University Residences in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Uruguay were present; and people from Mexico joined "on line." In order to enrich our work, representatives of other local university residences with whom the Teresian Association maintains good relationships were invited: Salesians, Conventual Friars, and Sisters of Mary Immaculate.
Beyond the cultural or charismatic diversity, we assessed how these residences offer a sustainable living and formative experience. We easily found a common meaning in our educational and humanizing task, so promoted by the pedagogy of Pedro Poveda: "The secret is that the students feel at home," he said in 1933.
The privileged stage in the life of those with whom we work, a time to mature fundamental choices, allows us to offer significant experiences including personal accompaniment, pastoral work, and volunteer or intercultural experiences, even within the same country. Listening to each other about these endeavors and finding potential and diverse ways of action was very enlightening.
The second day of the meeting was devoted to the challenge of new subjectivities, new psychological, social and cultural challenges. Also on the possible approaches today to our evangelizing task.
The last day was devoted to prayer. It was good to share the mystique that encourages us and the spirituality that leads us to dream of old and new ways.
Touching the present moment full of fragility and opportunity, touching with conviction the meaning of our task in the life of many former residents, with whom we also shared an evening of songs and stories, encouraged us to learn more from each other. At the close of the meeting we had some questions and statements about some common lines of action.
- Management - Participation - Accompaniment
- Articulation: past - present - future. Increase the participation and contribution of former residents.
- Increased communication and resource sharing.
- Training of collaborators
- Maintain contact and exchange with some residents until further meeting in four years (2020)
- Advance more defined proposals.
- Close relationships and intercultural challenge.
- Join other teams of local residences.
Since we value this mission field, so meaningful to the charism of the Teresian Association from the beginning, we feel invited to ask ourselves hard questions and open possible paths to these projects.
Maite Uribe, President of the Teresian Association, made herself present through a letter in which she said: "A glimpse of the future will make you delve into the present and trace the identity claimed by the world of the university – always changing and always in need of being updated. In our residences collaboration may be an integrating element, of support and reflection which all residents –present and past- may contribute.
We thank the Lord for all the good we have shared in the task he has given us. We are priviledged witnesses to the growth of people and we are glad.
Participants at the Meeting of University Residences in Latin America