Beginning and legal framework

This program, developed in October 2017 by the SMA-NDA Cooperative Commission on Common Heritage, was approved by the two General Councils. This program, which some might qualify ambitiously, spans an eight-year period. In July 2018, the program was recognized by the General Chapter of NDA Sisters; in May 2019, it was ratified by the General Assembly of the SMA Fathers. Since then it has become a road map for both Institutes in the framework of research on the Common Heritage and the living of the charism today.

Why 2016?

The choice of 2026 is not random. Three reasons justify this choice. In 2016, we will celebrate three milestone anniversaries of our history:

- 200 years since the birth of Fr. Augustine Planque,

- 170 years since the founding of the SMA

- 150 years of the founding of the NDA Sisters.

The aim is for the two Institutes to journey together over the next eight years, through different stages of research, sharing on the lived experience of the charism and its transmission, reflection and discernment in order to update and implement our charism in our modern contexts. The process will culminate in mutual celebrations scheduled for 2026.

Getting started with the process

After the approval of the two general councils of the day, the members of the commission had already launched historical research. 'It is at the end of the old rope that we weave the new' says a Beninese proverb. The actualization and articulation of the charism can only be beneficial to the extent that they rely on history and all the treasure it contains. It was therefore necessary to listen to our founders and search from their sources. Thus, well before the approval of the program by the Chapter / Assembly, the commission had agreed to research on specific themes entrusted to resource persons and men and women of good will.

From November 4 to 8, the members of the commission met with the resource persons to share the results of the research. They have identified a number of themes that emerge from their reading of the writings and actions of the founders. These themes will be the subject of further research that will involve several poles or centers in Africa and Europe. They then reflected on the ways and means to be used to involve the maximum of the members of the two Institutes in the realization of the plans elaborated at each phase.

Fran├žois de Paul HOUNGUE,

Vicar General SMA and member of the said Commission