Interview with Paola del Prete  after the mid-term meeting of the Board of Directors of AMASC

The AMASC Board had its mid-term zoom meeting on March 12 and 13, just over two years after being elected in Joigny in October 2018. How did it go?

 These mid-term meetings are usually the only opportunity for our directors from very different places to get to know each other better and to work together.  So I regretted that it could only take place virtually.

 Everything went well, however.  We had prepared files in 3 languages ​​for each one, and Jacqueline’s daughter had generously agreed to ensure the translation of our oral questions… We all listened to each other, without there being any separation, which happens when we  are physically present.

What was it all about?

 We started with the files to be legally presented: moral report, financial report and accounts, which the Board approved unanimously.  Then each manager explained what they have done in their region or industry.

 Sr Dolores Aleixandre, our spiritual advisor, invited us to reflect on what it means to be an elder of the Sacred Heart (1).  It was a highlight of our meeting, because we do not forget the important place that religious formation has had in our education.

 Finally, we discussed the next GA, the world congress and some future projects. 

Schematically what assessment do you draw from these first two years of mandate?

They were very special.  We left Joigny with a lot of enthusiasm, but were quickly confronted with two major problems that could have been avoided if we had had time to work with the outgoing team: the takeover of the website and the opening of  a bank account in Europe.And then the Covid pandemic arrived.  

With Jacqueline, we planned to visit national associations to see what they are experiencing concretely and give them new impetus.  We just had time to go to Ireland.  Hence the importance I place today on the Newsletter and the website to maintain the link between us and reach distant alumni.

Locally, all the associations have given up their traditional activities.  On the other hand, they experimented with new forms of meeting (webinars on current topics, for retreats, with rscjs, etc.).  Our office itself now meets more regularly thanks to these videoconferences and this allowed us to have a new interview with Sr Barbara Dawson and her advisor Sr Isabelle Lagneau (2) and to follow a meeting of the International Commission of Education.  to which the rscj had invited us.

Can we know a little more about the next world congress?

This question was eagerly awaited by the participants, as it is by all alumnae and alumni, because these congresses are very important moments of celebration and exchange in the life of our association, and we will do everything to have one.

We had started to explore possibilities in Rome and even in Naples… Unfortunately, for the moment, all hotels are closed in Italy.  So I cannot say where or when this Congress will take place.  We will make our decision at the end of the year.

 Only one thing is certain.  There will be a General Assembly at the end of our mandate in October 2022 to elect the next team.

Finally, given the circumstances we are living, can you still have projects?

 We have to be realistic.  Our plans for sightseeing or a World Mater Day are on hold.  In Bougoudang, the small school project has progressed well, as can be seen on our site, and we are still awaiting the contribution of numerous associations.

We are trying to move forward in another way.  As you know, the younger generations find it difficult to join our associations, and this is a problem for AMASC.  As Dede Brunetti had to relinquish responsibility for Young AMASC for professional reasons related to Covid, Hayley Harmouch, a former Egyptian, agreed to replace her.  We asked her to make a video to make AMASC and the Sacred Heart family better known in schools or associations.  She will get in touch with the North American association to see if it would be possible to create a draft global directory allowing professional contacts, exchanges, internships, etc.  All of this will take time.

 In the shorter term, finally, we would like to organize a new zoom meeting of our board before the end of the year, because everyone enjoyed our last meeting, and because we did not have enough time to go into certain topics in depth.  Representatives from the Asian continent could also be invited, because it does not currently have an official representative on the Board, while there are many old ones in Japan, India, Korea,  Taiwan …

 Ultimately, with this unfortunate epidemic, we have all been forced to be inventive and push our limits.  I realized that there was a real “family” spirit between us which enables us to overcome such difficult times.  And it’s a joy for me.

(1) See the spirituality box on our website (2) The CR of this meeting will soon be published on this site

Paola del Prete