Ouagadougou – Friday, 14 October 2016
The morning of the fifth day of this meeting was dedicated to certain Camillian centres in Ouagadougou: the St. Camillus Hospital, the ‘Pietro Annigoni’ Centre for Biomolecular Research, and the ‘Candaf’ Health-Care Centre. These are centres that bear witness to the role the Camillians have performed from the outset: the offer of health to the poorest people (more simple treatment of a diagnostic character, prevention and vaccinations, training in how to feed new born babies, care for motherhood – on average fifteen births a day, the growth in services for new born babies, complex surgical operations, the taking in of the homeless, care for lepers and abandoned elderly people…) who otherwise would not have the minimal resources that are needed to address their health-care problems. The offer of health – quality health and in many cases free of charge – is made to everyone. A positive impression is gained when one observes the large number of women ‘with veils’ who are expectant and/or with new born babies, belonging to the Muslim tradition, who come to our centres. This is an unequivocal testimony to the universality of charity: good propagates itself on its own when it is thought of with honesty, planned with passion, and implemented with competence.
During the afternoon the deliberations of the assembly came to an end. Fr. Leocir Pessini proposed the initiative of a course of formation for new major Superiors (2017) and for re-elected major Superiors. The rough date of the end of June 2017 was proposed, with at least about ten days suggested for such a course. It was envisaged that the qualified cooperation of the Union of Superior Generals of Rome could already be drawn upon. This meeting for formation would also coincide with the annual meeting of the major Superiors for the year 2017. The Superiors who were present were asked to offer suggestions on the organisation of the subjects to be addressed, the timetables involved, and the ways by which this offer of formation could be made as effective as possible. The limitation of the proposal lay in the fact that many of the major Superiors present at this annual meeting had provided this service of authority for many years – some for ten years! Given this, they themselves observed that in all likelihood they would not be reconfirmed for a new three-year period starting in the year 2017. This offer of formation would concern their successors. Useful suggestions were made on the proposal: the dedication of a least one day of the course to assessing the implementation of the Camillian Project in the Superiors’ own Provinces or Delegations; the use of the mass media for the purposes of communication; the acquisition of a basic knowledge of a juridical character (The Code of Canon Law and the law of the Order; the management of archives); the dynamics of relationships and interaction above all in multi-cultural contexts; skills and expertise in cooperation and team-work above all in Provincial Councils (the valuing of collegiality and the implementation of confidentiality amongst their members), with a respectful helping of the role of local Superiors and/or local co-workers (as a balance as regards the presence of the major Superiors in the lives of their Provinces), and in relationships with elderly religious; sensitivity in primary and ongoing formation; and skills and expertise in the management and accompanying of religious who are in a state of crisis.
It was observed that in some ecclesiastical areas the associations of Superiors and major Superiors already organise courses of this nature; the added value of these courses lies in the fact that one can also meet and dialogue with Superiors of other religious Congregations (the exchange of experiences).
Communications of the Superior General:
- Visit to the Camillian community in Tbilisi in Georgia on the occasion of the recent visit of Pope Francis. At the time of this visit, the work of the Camillians received important attention in the mass media. The religious of the Province of Poland and of the former Province of Piedmont were thanked for the support that they have offered to this mission.
- Inter-Congregational initiatives between the Camillians, the Daughters of St. Camillus and the women Ministers of the Sick: these are a positive sign of dialogue and of fruitful cooperation for the future.
- Fraternal-pastoral-canonical visits: the Superior General had almost finished his first international round (there were still the visits to Germany, Haiti and Lourdes). The second round of meetings and dialogue would begin in January 2017.
- The next Provincial Chapters: the preparation of Chapters through preparatory commissions with the drawing up of a suitable instrumentum laboris which would impede all forms of improvisation, with very clear proposals, was recommended. The Camillian Project should form the basis for the preparations for these Chapters, together with the indications offered by the Messages that the Superior General had hitherto sent at the end of his individual fraternal-pastoral visits.
- Some information on the progress of the translation of the Constitution – which had been approved recently – into the various languages of the Order: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Four religious will be entrusted with this task. When the translations are ready they will be printed, with the Italian text on the facing page (the Italian version is the ‘master’ translation according to the Holy See).
The Superior General expressed thanks for the moving experience of being able to take part in the move in Burkina Faso to being a Province and for the opportunity of being able to learn about the splendid figure of Fr. Celestino Di Giovanbattista (the people and the religious of Burkina Faso were grateful to this religious and his work).
He also expressed thanks for the choice of Burkina Faso for this meeting despite the difficulties of various kinds: the Superior General and the General Consulta had wanted to hold this event in this land. It had been a valuable and inestimable gesture of encouragement and esteem for this young and dynamic Camillian Province of Burkina Faso. One should not be afraid of investing in this land which is so promising at the level of the Camillian charism and ministry. It had been an injection of optimism and hope for all the members of the meeting: the future is ‘global’.
The Superior General ended the meeting with salutations and thanks and reminded those present of certain global appointments in the near future in the diary of the Order.