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Friends of Nano International Gathering - A Great Success

23 July 2011


The first-ever gathering of Friends of Nano from across the world took place at the Nano Nagle Centre in Ballygriffin, on the site where Nano was born.  Each province of the Congregation nominated two lay persons to participate in this unique event.  Participants shared their vision of how the spirit of Nano lives on today in their own countries and their hopes for the development of a movement that can support Friends of Nano all around the world.

Over the first day the variety of symbols from the provinces gave us great insight into how the charism of Nano finds expression today all across the globe.  It was a very humbling experience to learn at first hand the richness of activities undertaken in each country – every one a compassionate response to local need.

Over the first four days we explored the charism and mission of the Congregation, we reflected on our changing consciousness of the story of creation and the implications of that new story for our understanding of our relationship with the Divine and we walked in Nano’s footsteps along the streets of Cork.  Over the last two days we sought to discover the essential characteristics of an effective, spirited, movement and we asked ourselves, if Nano’s charism is ‘her spirit beating on in our hearts today’, where was this leading us now?

Following much reflection and teasing out of the precise intentions behind particular words and phrases, it was agreed that at the heart of how we wished to be as Friends of Nano - our core values - were a passion for the poorest, a partnership with the Divine and a covenant with creation.  Because of time constraints we agreed not to adopt a particular form of wording just yet but there was unanimous agreement that these three perspectives or core values lay at the heart of our movement.

Time did not allow us to reflect on an agreed name for the movement, so we will hold that title Friends of Nano for the time being.  Our movement will endeavour to give practical expression to our core values in light of the charism of Nano: through compassion, commitment, courage, confidence in God’s providence, creativity and communion - all underpinned by the practice of contemplation.  We saw contemplation as our daily experience of God in the silence of our hearts coupled with our experience of God in those we encounter every day.

The planning group meets again at the end of this month and will draw together the wishes of the gathering for the development of the Friends of Nano movement.  Three participants were nominated by the gathering to work with the planning group in doing so.  A report will be made to the Congregational Leadership Team shortly, which will respond in due course.  It is expected that some practical steps will be taken to support the development of the movement over the coming years.

[Submitted by Noel Keating]