A Visit to Auschwitz after the Provincials Assembly

  • This image of Christ on the Cross was scratched on the wall by a prisoner in Auschwitz. (Used with permission from www.auschwitz.org)
What is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable;
the thing that is sown is contemptible, but what is raised is glorious;
the thing that is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful....  
(1 Cor 15, 42ff)

On the 18th of September, a day after the 2014 Provincials Assembly closed, the majority of provincials made a visit to the concentration camps of Auschwitz. The memories, the stories and the faces we saw and felt there focused our eyes, our hearts and our minds once more on the wound to humanity that is still opened:  the wounds of the side, the feet and the hands of Jesus, still open in our world today.

Auschwitz filled us with silent screams, terrified faces, weary, pleading hands, resigned sobs, hunger, fatigue, the acrid ashes of women, children and men. We were made aware once more of the depth of the wound in humanity, of each person, of each people. The wound of suffering and the wound of evil.

How can we stand so much horror? How are we capable of doing so much evil?
Will the pain ever cease, the heartbreaking and destructive evil that always returns?
How is it that we keep on repeating wars, torture, annihilation of others?
The Open Heart of Jesus is still pierced through… will it ever be healed?

After touching these wounds we are once again invited to believe, to believe more than ever that 

“in a field that has been destroyed, ravaged, life reappears, stubborn, invincible… Good always tends to blossom and reseed itself… Every day beauty is reborn into the world… This is the power of the resurrection of the Lord… that has already penetrated the secret darkness of this story…."  Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, “The mysterious action of the Resurrection and the Spirit,” pg 208-210

Lord, You who seek out the poor, You who listen to the cry of those who suffer, You who reach out to the sick…. Look upon the suffering in our world, listen to your children who have no-one to help them, touch the wounds of Creation. Send us out to show your tenderness and compassion.

Sofía Baranda rscj
Provincial of Chile

Here is a video of the Visit to Auschwitz.  Thank you to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (www.auschwitz.org) for permission to include in this video the photos of sites and memorabilia that we took during our visit.  

Provincials Assembly - Visit to Auschwitz