The year 2020 has immersed us in a vital journey of multiple dimensions, to take care of our lives and maintain hope in uncertain contexts. From an educational point of view, this was a radical change, since in our country, Argentina, we only had nine days of face-to-face meetings with our students to suddenly go through a whole school cycle of virtual education. We took up the challenge of urgently training teachers to use the educational platform and to produce pedagogical materials for virtual teaching. We responded to the different needs of families, both economically and in terms of the complexity of accompanying the children, using the pastoral pedagogical proposals of our Colegio La Asunción in Santiago del Estero.
We base our educational pastoral proposal on a programme of evangelisation that makes possible the incarnation of the Gospel from culture and the construction of knowledge. This is why we cultivate interiority and solidarity as concrete means in order to achieve an increasingly human culture. This year we have been able to systematise the work through projects that integrate the development of the capacities of our students. We would like to share the experience made from one of the primary school projects, entitled: “Radiant Colours” based on the question: How can I discover and transmit the joy of God’s presence in my life?
The teaching team proposed to the pupils different learning points which were chosen from the study of the biography and artistic production of Sister Brigitte Loire, Dominican of the Incarnate Word: her life, her pastoral options, the commitment to art in Mexico, the use of colours, the analysis of some of her works including the Visitation, the geometric forms of her stained glass and above all the source from which she expresses her art which is her experience of God. The team discovered that it is possible to be a prophet from a work of art such as “Las mujeres de Juárez”, because through it one can announce God’s message and denounce injustices. From geography and the use of English, it was possible to locate the countries in which she lived and the important places in the Federal District. On October 19, we gathered as students and teachers in a videoconference with our beloved artist to listen to her personally and ask her some questions. This meeting was the culmination of this project, where the teenagers were waiting to meet the artist and the Dominican sister. Dialogue and listening to their experience of the encounter with God reflected in each of her works surprised the students and those most inclined to artistic expression consulted her sources of inspiration. Brigitte shared important moments in her life, such as how she had to study art in the midst of World War II and also how she lives her commitment to Justice and Peace in Mexico from the perspective of an artistic preaching. The project concluded with a moment of spirituality and artistic production by the students, based on the inspiration coming from Brigitte’s work and the presence of God in their lives, in the complex context of the pandemic.
This process, allowing the meeting of artists from the Dominican family in Latin America and the Caribbean, is one of the fruits of the Preaching, because we met Brigitte and our friendship made possible an educational pastoral encounter in a complex context, in order to sustain hope. In conclusion, this pandemic has made us discover possibilities that we had not thought of before, it has shortened distances and, despite the isolation we have experienced, it has connected us far beyond our physical borders. We hope that preaching in our Order will continue to meet the challenges that each context poses to our creativity, to make possible the encounters, dreams and shared life that give meaning to our daily journey.
Contributor: Sr. Valeria Nougués, O.P.
(Dominican of the Holy Name of Jesus)