Welcome to RENATE’s 3rd Assembly, in Fatima, Portugal.
The poem ‘La Faba Blessing’ by Ian Smith, as with the best of poetry, takes on deeper and more profound meaning as the words are absorbed little by little. This poem expresses the hope we have as we settle into this beautiful place and the hope we have for each of our victims/ survivors and friends who have suffered under the hands of traffickersIt is the caring touch, the caring word, the caring look and prayer that can bring light out of the darkness and rest after hard, forced labour. It brings hope after despair, peace after anguish and joy coming forth from profound grief. As with the survivors, the members of RENATE are gathering in this beautiful place to be restored, renewed and transformed by this experience of being together for one week. Here in Fatima we are on a dynamic journey of corporate discernment. Enriched by our chosen, profound and insightful speakers, we are encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, awakening each one of us to new hope and ideas for RENATE’s unfolding mission into the future. Each one of us is the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to the Assembled members. Each voice heard will unfold the mission of God urging us on to respond to God’s will in accomplishing the RENATE mission for our time. It is in this place, wherever we are called individually, and in Europe as a Foundation, that God is calling us to respond to the voice of survivors. To hear and be led. Each morning we will see and listen to the voice of survivors in a video at the beginning of our morning prayer. Let us hold dear to our hearts the words they speak and the feelings they awaken. Here is where the Holy Spirit touches us in the deepest part of our lives where truth can be heard. We are all invited to listen and pray that God’s will be done through and in us, as we join hands with survivors to continue to take up this mantel given to us. We are just a tiny part in a global mission to combat human trafficking in our beautiful world. Tiny we may be, but it is in the small, dedicated lives of people who respond in love that become the catalyst for change. In the mystery of it all we rarely understand or see this magnificent transformation. The unfolding creation-story present in God’s dream for the world creates such a kaleidoscope of beauty – in time. This is the hope we live by.
Imelda Poole IBVM