Before officially beginning the Third Probation, our group, composed of 13 Sisters from nine different countries, plus our directress, Ines Ruiz, had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to the native land of St. Raphaela Mary and Mother Pilar.  We spent days going deeper into the roots of our history as Handmaids, as followers of Christ, according to the particular way of the foundresses.  Remembering expands our hearts…being in their own home and the places where they had their first dreams, where they began to understand that their life was for something greater, where the dream and the call were fulfilled in concrete actions of risk, with their trust placed in the Lord.

We followed the footsteps of the first sisters toward Madrid, where the city reminded us as well of the current reality of the Institute, how we are searching amid a world of great movement, amid the reality that continues to call us.  An expanded heart must give of itself…and give of itself in the present moment.  It desires to follow Christ, wherever he leads us now…without advancing too quickly, without forcing progress.

Finally, on the 10th of May, Rosario – the General Superior – along with the Assistants, convoked us for the official opening of the Third Probation with the theme “Contemplate his Heart from which the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were born and from which we continue to be born.”  There, she inspired us with her words: what is the Third Probation, the gift of belonging to the Institute, a gift that we must pray for especially now, and what it means to be such a universal group, sharing and being formed together to be God’s Handmaids in today’s Church and world.  Following the meeting with the General Team, we celebrated the Eucharist, a celebration of much joy, with songs, dances and gestures representative of the cultures from which we come.

During the following six months, we ask you to pray for us, that the Lord’s grace would soak deeply into us, preparing us for the “yes, at all costs.”