We began the day with a Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated by Fr Elias Royon, SJ., who said that we should not feel at all apprehensive at this important moment, because the person we were about to elect had already been elected by God¨.
At 10:00am we began the session invoking the Holy Spirit, followed by an hour´s prayerful silence, while in the church of our house here in Martinez Campos, Sisters from all the communities in Madrid, teachers and youth leaders of the Spanish ACI Groups and the whole Institute accompanied us with their prayers.
At about 11:30 Sr Inmaculada Fukasawa, declared in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and on behalf of the Institute of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that Sr Rosario Fernandez-Villaran had been elected Superior of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Rosario addressed us for the first time, expressing her gratitude to all the Sisters in the Institute for their dedication and enthusiasm. She encouraged us to keep on being united because when we are united we can achieve anything and everything for the good of all.
We then went in procession singing the Magnificat to the church, where everyone was waiting. As soon as they heard us coming they began to join in the singing. It was a very moving moment and even more so when the new Superior General, who brought up the rear of the procession, entered the church last, and everyone broke out into prolonged applause and spontaneous expressions of delight and joy. We recited the Te Deum all together and sang a hymn of thanksgiving. Then all those present embraced Rosario.
All the Sisters from the communities in Madrid stayed on afterwards for lunch.
In the afternoon, the new Superior General presidedat the session in which we decided to continue the discernment process leading to the election of the Assistants General.
At the end of the day we made an Adoration in the church, the first church of the Institute, in which St Raphaela made her final profession. The contemplation of the painting in the dome and the stained glass windows, images full of symbolism, helped us to express our gratitude for St Raphaela’s dedication to God and the Institute and inspired us to renew our vows as Handmaids.
In the church there is a life sized statue of St Raphaela, dressed in the old habit, in which the brass heart can be opened. Sr Inmaculada placed the name of the new Superior General inside the heart, commending the Institute to her care.
That is how we finished a day packed with hope and joy.