Europe is diverse – in its cultures, in its reality of life, in its religion, in its political and economic situation and also in its values. And so is CLC in Europe: there are huge communities like France with over 6,000 members, while other national communities are made up of just a few groups (see here). Some have many young members, students and young adults. In others, people in their fifties are considered as part of the “youth”. Some have an almost professional service of public relations and their own publications.
In others, the website is run by a member on a voluntary basis. Several CLC initiatives took place amongst countries. For example, “European meetings”, “European vacations” or pan-European webinars are organized. At these significant moments, we can hear more than fifteen different languages. And even though we often can only communicate in very basic English or French – or even with our hands and feet – we feel a deeper common language: the common search for a relationship with Jesus Christ in Ignatian spirituality. A language deeper than any linguistic or cultural barrier.
Each national community also has very particular strengths in its mission. For example, France, is very active in the field of ecology, particularly at the CLC Saint Hugues spiritual center. CLC Germany is committed to abuse prevention, while CLC Austria works with migrants and people marginalized by society. CLC Spain has developed the “Reloj de la familia“, spiritual impulses that enable families to reflect on and deepen life in common and relationships within the family. Many of these initiatives have spread or reached out to those of many other national communities around the world.
So, although one might have the impression there is a European homogeneity, CLC in Europe is diverse. And this diversity is not a threat, but rather a sign of its richness, and above all a path towards God, for – as Father Sosa (Superior of the Society of Jesus and CLC World Ecclesiastical Assistant) put it in the interview he gave to CLC on the occasion of his visit to Amiens: “Cultural diversity shows us the face of God, which is a multicultural and intercultural face”.
Apostolic initiativ : El Reloj de la familia (Spain)
El Reloj de la familia was born because a small local community in Barcelona felt challenged to concretize how Ignatian spirituality helped their daily family life. There was a national meeting of people interested in the topic and a team was created to articulate the shared experiences. Their work concluded with the development of a method for families.
El Reloj consists of eight practical workshops to strengthen families. They are carried out in small groups (10-15 people), guided by “watchmakers” and are held in the places where they are needed. This experience consolidates the Mission Family line in the national community, which is now being implemented in many local communities. El Reloj is present in many cities in Spain, Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal…..
In this same dynamic, starting from the reality of families and especially reinforced and called by the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on love in the family, we have developed two more tools: Four Seasons, a guide to accompany people who have had a breakup of a couple and The Clock of Life-Spirituality for the elderly, are workshops that address issues that concern and give meaning to people in the twilight of life.
For more information : https://cvx-e.es/hacemos/familia/
How does this project contribute to making CLC a lay, Ignatian, apostolic community?
All the methods have been created by CLC lay people, who are also the ones in charge of imparting them in different places. Different local CLC communities focus their mission on imparting the tools where they are most needed: parishes, schools, civic entities …. and this mission is articulated at the national level.
Ignatian spirituality, especially the journey of the EEEE is implicitly present in the itinerary of the Clock of the family: the couple is invited to reformulate what their family is from gratitude, active listening, freedom, discernment in family, learning has emerged after our failures and we conclude with a final celebration putting in value our family. The Clock of Life focuses on living the last stage of our life from gratitude for so much good received. Four Seasons helps to rebuild our life from forgiveness after a breakup.
The tools have helped families of all kinds and individuals, giving greater meaning to their vocation and life choices.
What call was discerned that led to the development of this project?
The first step was to see how we could help families to develop their daily life, becoming aware of their family project. We wanted to bring Ignatian spirituality into the intimacy of our homes, integrating it fully into the simple things of everyday life. No family could be excluded from this process. A flexible and adaptable method was offered to different family realities: for all those who might need it.
Discernment included how to carry it out: the people who teach the methods constitute a team that works and supports each other, both those who are CLC members and those who collaborate in our mission. Another central element in our discernment is that it should be a contribution to our church, going beyond our community and spirituality. They should be tools that can be adapted.
The experience has led us to make discernment permanent, that as a team and community we listen to the reality of the families and where our spirituality and experience have an opportune gesture of relief and inclusion. In this way we continue to care for and open spaces for all families in all their diversity.