A LETTER TO THE SISTERS OF THE CONGREGATION
Rome 12th July 2019
As we draw our 12th General Chapter to a close we wish to share with you the fruits of our discussions and discernment as well as offer decisions and guidelines for the six year journey ahead.
As you are aware, the priorities of a General Chapter are to elect a Superior General, a Vicaress General and a Bursar General; to review our life together over the past six years; to offer new and fresh paths and proposals for our fidelity to our Rosminian Charism.
In the spirit of Blessed Antonio Rosmini, our priority is to be consecrated women who live at the heart of the Church. It was in this spirit that most members of the Chapter were able to participate in the Angelus with Pope Francis on Sunday, 7th July.
The General Chapter voted and accepted unanimously the form of Government that we have lived ad experimentum for the past six years. In reaching this unanimous vote, the reports which we had received from all the District gatherings gave us the courage to move forward. These amendments to our Constitutions will soon be submitted to the Holy See for ratification.
The Chapter members stressed the essential feature of Government at every level as being “synodal”. This concept comes directly from the Synod of Bishops which calls the Church to a renewed ‘relational style of leadership which focuses on listening, dialogue and common discernment’. Thus, we strongly commend a truly collaborative style of government.
The General Chapter then moved to the election of the Superior General. Sr. Mary Antonietta Toomey was re-elected. The Chapter also elected Sr. Felistas Joseph Lukindo as Vicaress General and Sr. Carla Cattoretti as Bursar General. The new legislation is attached as an appendix, Mother General will shortly begin the process of consultation in each District so that a Councillor may be appointed who will also be Coordinator of the District.
During the Chapter we received input and feedback regarding the areas of our Fraternal Life in Community, Mission, Formation, Economy and on various other areas of our vocation. After reflection on the Reports of Mother General and the Bursar General, a deep and serious sharing produced an amazing and an unexpectedly clear indication of a revitalized way forward for the Congregation.
The words “communication” and “listening” were repeatedly reported back from the working groups. Soon it became clear to us that the way forward for the Congregation focuses on “Communication at every level”. The core of communication at every level both human and spiritual is a profound and active listening.
This unfolds as:
-Listening to God
-Listening to the words of our Founder and to our Charism
-Listening and communicating with one another in community in a more profound way
-Listening to the needs of God’s people, and especially women, children and those who are marginalized
-Listening to the needs of our planet
-Listening and communicating using digital media and other modern means of communication
Accordingly, in terms of our Fraternal Life we are challenged to a new and innovative creativity. We examined and prioritized the non-negotiable areas of our community life which include the Eucharistic aspect, praying together, sharing the Word of God, living in a spirit of obedience to the Gospels, our Constitutions and sharing a life of genuine charity which is manifest also in welcome and hospitality.
The image of being “pilgrims together” is proposed so that our communities are dynamic and not in any way static, despite our age profile in some areas. New ways of seeking out what unites us, such as seeing the goodness and beauty in each other, and sharing at community gatherings which favour a greater self-knowledge are highly recommended.
We are aware that in an international and intercultural Congregation such as ours, it would be unwise for the Chapter to attempt to describe a lifestyle for individual communities in various parts of the world. We commend the Coordinators to empower communities to develop Plans for Community Life which will incorporate the above and to be open and generous enough to embrace all Sisters of other cultures and views. For those of us present at the Chapter, the key to a successful implementation of this ideal is a new quality of listening and a renewed communication with openness to fresh and new ideas for community living.
If we are able to do this, then undoubtedly our whole approach to Mission will be re-invigorated. We will see Mission not simply as doing something, but of being someone – a Rosminian missionary Sister – who witnesses to the love of God in Jesus at every stage of her life, whether she is in formal employment, volunteering or living the Gospel in old age or frailty.
The Chapter suggests that rather than seeing our mission simply ad gentes, in reality the call of the Church today is to be inter gentes… among the people. Indeed, words emerged such as “tenderness”, “closeness” and “charity”, all of which, reminiscent of our Founder and of Pope Francis, are essential attitudes in our community living.
Working with families, both directly and indirectly, is highlighted as a great challenge in today’s age, given the complexity of the nuclear family and the active promotion of issues around LIFE. The Chapter suggests that where necessary, the Sisters initiate networking with other Religious and other groups within the Church to promote the teaching of Gospel values and to uphold the message of the magisterium. So, we are all invited to renew our consecration in the joy of the Gospel and to make this a priority in our Rosminian mission.
In terms of Formation, we received profound contributions on both initial and ongoing formation. We were reminded that the principal protagonist of formation at every level of our lives is the individual Sister. At certain stages in their lives Sisters may need professional support for their well-being.
We affirm the necessity of intercultural formation at every stage of our lives where possible and where appropriate. The General Government will issue further guidelines to direct our ongoing formation.
In the context of both initial and ongoing formation, it is vital that we recognise and address issues of inner healing and human growth.
The Chapter welcomed input on the absolute importance of Safeguarding. A Safeguarding Policy for the entire Congregation and for each District, compliant with local legislation, is necessary for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. This policy will also ensure the protection of our Sisters and co-workers.
The Report on the Economy was a stark challenge to safeguard and to protect the patrimony of the Congregation including its human resources. The first resource is the human person in her wholeness. It is necessary to journey with trustworthy lay professionals, whose expertise can guide us in implementing a renewed style of financial vigilance under the guidance of the Bursar General and the General Government.
As requested by the Church we must establish “a Charistmatic Plan in terms of our economy” considered as an instrument in the service of the Mission The General Government will “make operative decisions about the assets and the works of the Congregation in a framework of a shared reflection”. This must be respected by every member of the Congregation. (“Economia at the Service of the Charism and Mission”). We are truly grateful for the assistance we have received from all our cooperators, our Rosminian brothers, our Ascribed members and above all, for the prayerful and wonderful witness of so many dedicated Sisters in the various Districts of the Congregation.
We thank the Sisters of the community in the Via Aurelia, our facilitator Fr. Ronnie McAinsh, our translators Br. Massimiliano and Sr. Marie Thérèse for journeying with us and helping to make this Chapter a true celebration of our fraternal life; we are especially grateful to the Provost General Fr. Vito Nardin I.C. for his presence among us.
We conclude by reaffirming the theme of the Chapter which will be the theme for the coming six years:
“We Rosminian Sisters, working together, commit ourselves to a more profound manner of Listening and Communication at every level of our lives so that we are weavers of hope.”
May Our Mother of Sorrows and Blessed Antonio Rosmini accompany us in our pilgrimage together during the next six years.
cheriathura Onam sr. Teresa, sr. Anna Luisa, sr. M.Celine, Sr. Ave
armonia in giardino suore juniores in Tanzania
gruppo san pietro