A Report: XVI AMASC WORLD CONGRESS (Merida, MEXICO)
XVI AMASC WORLD CONGRESS was held in Merida, Mexico from February22 to 26, 2018．Altogether 32 JASH members , 27 including family and friends from Japan, 4 from various cities in the U.S. and one all the way from London attended, and were able to make new acquaintances, renew old friendships, enjoying the camaraderie for which AMASC is well known.
For the first time in AMASC history, it was suggested that the member associations invite the RSCJs from their country. JASH asked Sr. Reiko Tanaka, JASH Board Member, who, to JASH’s delight graciously accepted.
Wednesday, February 21st
15:25 Departure from Narita Airport (Aero Mexico)
17:27 Arrival in Merida via Mexico City
At Hotel Fiesta Americana Merida, the welcoming Mexican staff greeted us with big smiles.
AMASC President Marisa welcomed all the arrivals at the Hotel Entrance, and JASH members immediately went through the registration process.
Thursday, February 22
16:00 The General Assembly
JASH President Yoko Nakayama reports on the activities of Asian associations.
27 National presidents (including Proxy) voted in favor of the temporary derogation of the AMASC Statutes, enabling the European candidates who have already served two terms on the Board to serve a third term.
It is decided that an Extraordinary General Assembly will be convened during 2018 for the election of the Presidential Team and the Board of AMASC 2018-2022.
In the evening, a Welcome Cocktail is served on the Terrace at the Hotel.
Friday, February 23
9:30 Official Opening of the XVI AMASC World Congress
Approximately 300 members registered.
Keynote Lecture in English by Sr. Carolyn Osiek rscj ( Archivist US-Canada Province) – “Following Philippine Duchesne to New Frontiers”
The lecture on one of the four themes on which the General Chapter based the Calls in 2016. Sr. Osiek spoke of the Challenge that Philippine faced when she went to America 200 years ago, and to follow in her footsteps, interior transformation was necessary for us to overcome inertia.
During Coffee-Break, AMASC Market was in full swing! The alumnae goods which JASH brought from Japan were popular and sold well.
After Coffee-Break, returning to the round tables, we discussed the questions given us by Sr. Osiek, and then shared our conclusions with other tables.
Two young alumnae from Melbourne made a presentation on their immersion experience “Reaching New Frontiers at Sophie’s Farm” in the Philippines.
To San Idelfonso Cathedral by bus for the Opening Mass.
A Flag Parade led by President Marisa with the National Presidents following.
After Mass, there was a Show on the history of Maya civilization and Yucatan with projection mapping on the walls of the Cathedral.
Saturday, February 24
9:15 Opening Prayer
Lecture in Spanish by Fr, Alex Zatirka s.j.
“Cultivating Silence. Caring for the Atmosphere of Our Communion with God”
Based on the Spiritual Exercises of Loyola, the spiritual experience of communicating with God in silence, following Mater the Mother of Jesus, in search for self in deep meditation, to become one with God through empathy of love – a deeply religious lecture which was not easy for many of us.
After the lecture, once again we had group discussions followed by a sharing of conclusions. The lecture was in Spanish, but French and English could be heard from the headphones, and a lively exchange of opinion continued.
After hard work for both the head as well as the heart, Coffee-Break was more than welcome.
A PP presentation by two young JASH members Hinako Sasaki and Kotomi Masuda, was received with acclaim. The theme “Our 16 years of life in the Sacred Heart” is a testimony to the efforts made by the missionary and homegrown RSCJs for over a century, for the spirit of the Foundress to take root in a non-Catholic country. This message made an impact on the gathered AMASC members, especially the members from Africa who are also living in non- Christian countries.
The news of their presentation was reported in the local newspaper the following morning.
During Mass after the presentation, the two were asked to make the offerings.
An outing to visit Chichen Itza at night was planned by President Marisa for the attendees who have no time to go on sightseeing Tours,
A Box Dinner was provided for the bus-ride, and at Chichen Itza, on the Pyramid of Kukulkan, projection mapping was used to explain to us about Maya History
Sunday, February 25
9:15 Opening Prayers
Lecture in French by Sr. Marie France Carreel rscj. (France Province)
“A shared vision: To make known and love the Heart of Christ across borders”
Learning about the shared spiritual experience between Madeleine Sophie and Philippine Duchesne, and learning from Philippine’s strong desire to bring the Gospel to the indigenous people of the Americas, Sister Carreel proposed that we should go forward to live more humanely, and to be and to act as one body. After the Group Discussion, a sharing of ideas and conclusions followed.
At the last AMASC Market during Coffee-Break, our Alumnae Goods were sold out, and the earnings were donated to AMASC.
The photo album consisting of pictures of past AMASC Congresses prepared by JASH Archives Committee, drew quite a crowd. To those who had attended the 1986 Tokyo Congress, we made a present of the pictures.
12:00 The last discussion topic. Our sense of values regarding alumnae associations, our hopes for the future, how to try to integrate the younger generation into our associations.
AMASC President’s Activity Report mentioned her visit to Japan for JASH Day in the spring of 2017
A Video Message from Sr. Barbara Dawson Superior General （excerpt）
―Referring to the four call from the 2016 General Chapter―
・・・I invite you today to take these calls of the General Chapter as calls in your own lives. The vitality of the Sacred Heart mission depends on the energy and commitment of each one of us, lay and religious・・・
・・・The gift of our education comes with responsibility, so I send you with blessings on each one of you as you live out your responsibility as Sacred Heart alumnae. I wish you a safe journey as you venture back to your homes with new energy and love and a new commitment to be part of a transformative education that will heal the wounds of a heart that has been pierced.
The 23 RSCJs who attended the Congress and all the National Presidents came to the stage, and with a standing ovation for President Marisa, the Congress came to an end.
18:00 The closing Mass was said in French by the Archbishop of Yucatan.
The Sisters came to the fore again, and this time all the young members came too.
The Gala Dinner was held at la Casa Montes Molina, now a museum open to the public. The present Head of the Montes Molina Family is an alumna of the Sacred Heart School in Mexico City, and as a member of the AMASC family, opened the Museum for AMASC.
20:00 Amidst the lively Mexican Folk Music and Dance, AMASC members dressed in national costumes, together with JASH members in kimono added color to the evening,
At the end of the evening 32 JASH members including family and friends, gathered and posed for a photograph to commemorate the XVI AMASC Merida Congress.
Monday, February 26
Making use of the few hours before our departure, we went on a City Tour of Merida, where we learned its history, enjoyed its delicacies, and shopped for souvenirs to take back to friends awaiting our return.
18:02 Two hours flight to Mexico City, and after a long flight of 15 hours and a half, we were safely back in Narita.
Program for the Companions.
At this Congress, there was a second type of registration for those who came as a friend or a member of the family and would not be participating in AMASC meetings, conferences and lectures. During the day, interesting tours were arranged for them.
A visit to a Farm which plants and treats henequen as it was done 100 years ago. Long before chemical fiber appeared on the scene, from henequen the strongest, most durable rope was made. And it was the source of tremendous wealth for Yucatan.
The northern part of the Yucatan peninsula is a lowland with no rivers. Cenote is a natural pit, filled with underground water, forming a natural underground reservoir. Close to 7000 cenotes are said to exist, and limestone caves, which are usually not formed under water have been found in this area. On the coastline, flamingos flock, and natural mangrove trees flourish.
Izamal is one of 35 magical towns in Mexico. Every building from the huge convent, colonial buildings to the market place is colored yellow,
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SPEAKERS AT THE AMASC CONGRESS