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Meeting with the Miami Associates

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday was a typical South Florida summer-fall day with temperatures in the 80s and periods of bright sunlight interspaced with showers and light sprinkles. Veronica and Conce arrived at Dora's apartment around 9:30 am. Maria Rios had arrived Saturday afternoon, had slept on Dora's hide-a-bed and was feeling at home.

As we arrived three associates were busy setting up folding chairs they had brought. Maria and Dora had pushed the living room furniture, couch, love-seat, and chair against the walls to make more room. So many people arrived in quick succession, twenty-five in all, that it was impossible to keep track. Most of them were carrying trays of fruit, sandwiches, fresh veggies, two different kinds of pasta salad, ambrosia salad, Cuban croquettes, a cold Cuban meatloaf, pastelitos de guayaba, Cuban cake, crackers, wine, sodas, coffee, and who knows what else. There was hope of survival!

articlesAfter many warm greetings we all began to settle down. Dora's lovely living room with its view of a pond, trees, birds and assorted ducks was a great setting for a day that was to be spent exploring the connection between ecology and our charism of reparation with Mary.


A large portrait of Emilie was on the coffee table next to a dozen gorgeous white roses which gradually opened throughout the day. The roses were the grateful gift of one of the associates who attributes her recovery from cancer to the intercession of "our Mother" or "la Beata" ("the Blessed") as they call Emilie.  She expresses her deep gratitude in the same beautiful way each time the Associates meet.

We began the day by going around the circle introducing ourselves. This took almost an hour; no shy or silent people in this group! Many mentioned Bertha, her program on the Archdiocesan Radio Station and the early days at St Brendan's Parish. But their love doesn't end there. Those who have visited Riverview remember all the sisters with affection. Everyone considers Dora a friend, and her apartment an anchor for the group. Caridad was remembered too, her love of animals, baseball, and her interest in politics and the news.

We had planned a very full schedule and were concerned about how our content on Eco theology and spirituality might be received.  We need not have worried!  Throughout the day various Associates affirmed what they were hearing, asked questions and made applications to their faith and daily lives.  We were able to keep moving along while providing time for comments and some translation. We closed the day with a prayer during which we, associates and sisters, renewed our commitment to the charism of reparation with Mary.

There were many touching moments during this day. Caridad's sister, who some of us met when she went to Riverview for Caridad's funeral Mass and burial, came in the afternoon. I overheard Dora telling Silvia that she had called saying she was on her way walking from the bus stop;

we calculate that the stop is at least a mile away. Consider that walk in the blazing sun and the humidity! When she came in we interrupted the presentation to hug her, she was sobbing as she said: Las quiero mucho (I love you very much). A couple hours later when she had to leave in order to go to work, one of the men got up quietly and left to give her a ride.

On arrival each person deposited $5 on a jar. This money, collected at every meeting, goes to buy the layette they present, in Emilie's name, to a needy family every Christmas. After lunch a few women prepared care packages which were discreetly offered to some as they were leaving. Many times throughout the day we noticed the sincere appreciation they have for each other. As they shared, they pointed out the gifts and service that one or another brings to the group. They had beautiful, affirming words to say about the congregation as a whole and the sisters of this Region in particular.  They are thirsty for more SMR contact and content. Their love has deep roots.

Nineteen women, six men, and four vowed sisters originating from six different nationalities (Cuban, Dominican, Guatemalan, Argentinean, USA American, and Lebanese) truly experienced union in the charism and in God who gives life to this awesome universe.

Concepción González Cánovas