Good morning sisters and welcome to the celebration of this congregational and ecclesial event. We are here, summoned by the Spirit, representing all the sisters; all of us, as the governing body, are bearers of the life and mission of the congregation, of its dreams, hopes and concerns. In you, we welcome each and all of the sisters with whom, throughout this time we will be in harmony and communion. We also welcome the realities that accompany you because they are part of your life experience: the country you represent, cultures, diverse missions that will undoubtedly give color and richness to this gathering. On behalf of the General Council and the community of Leon, welcome to this encounter.

To reach this city of Leon, most of you have had to make a long journey, leaving behind familiar places, realities and experiences, to open ourselves to the always-surprising novelty of the Spirit. He is the first architect of this meeting; We are here because of Him, He is the one who summons us in the unity of the same faith, of the same vocation, of a common mission and in the diversity of origins, ages, cultures…; under his impulse we will be able to experience the gift of fraternity and make this encounter a time of grace, truly an event of the Spirit, an experience of communion.

«Walking together towards a culture of care and synodality», the motto we have formulated for this meeting, is actually what the Church is asking of us at this time. It is a call to review our structures and our relationships to realize what we are going to strengthen and what we need to change, so that our fraternal life would be truly a sign of the Kingdom in this world. At the same time, making the active participation of each sister a reality is really a desire for us, aware that we are a family, and each one has something to contribute for the growth of all.

In order to allow the mysterious action of the Spirit be alive in this encounter, let us maintain a permanent attitude of openness and freedom for this would enable us to discover and welcome what He may suggest and inspire us.

Undoubtedly, the first thing that is required from us is to get out of ourselves, our own interests, fears, desires, ambitions; we need to strip ourselves of everything that hinders us from listening attentively and affectionately to all reality, broaden our partial vision which is only focused to the places where we come from, communities, missions, Delegations, Provinces, and open ourselves to the congregational us. In this way, we will open paths for the future of our mission, broaden our view and “widen our tents”.

As a body of governments that walk together trying to discern the signs of the Spirit that invite us to leave the well-trodden paths, to renew the profound meaning of our faith, it is time to go to the root of our spirituality. It is also time to rethink what type of relationships we need to build with our God and with our sisters and brothers, because what we used to do may not work anymore.

Let us live these days profoundly as a single family everything that is going to be expounded here, in unity of hearts as sisters as our Rule tells us. Let us banish, from now on, all negative thoughts, all defensive attitudes or closed-minded postures and let us open ourselves to the action of God who wants to continue counting on us to carry on the task of announcing His Word to the peoples. How important it is to dream together! Alone, we run the risk of delusions, in which we see what is not there; dreams are built together, as sisters of the same congregation.

Let us ask God to dispose our hearts to fulfill his will exclusively and that these days of encounter may help us feel more as family among ourselves and with the humanity with whom we commit ourselves.

May Mary be our companion on this path; I pray that she may help us bring to life the words she pronounced in Cana: «Do whatever He tells you.»