Building Community in an Intercultural World

Presentation Bulletin 165

From 5 to 11 November 2017, the meeting of the Council of Delegates of the International Union of Superiors General was held in Manila (Philippines) on the theme: Building Community in an Intercultural World.

In this issue of the Bulletin, we want to offer, in the wake of the meeting in Manila, reflections that help us to accept the challenge of interculturality as a gift and an opportunity for witnessing to the Gospel of mercy and inclusion in an increasingly fragmented world. Yet, there is also another challenge, that of “learning” interculturality within our communities and congregations, through formation, communication, the inculturation of one’s own charism, and the construction of intercultural communities.

As the President of UISG, Sr. Carmen Sammut, MSOLA, said in her opening speech in Manila: “Building communities, especially intercultural communities requires constant hard work. We cannot take it for granted, just because we have been put together. We need time to get to know each other, to listen, speak and respond to the other, to allow for the differences to become gifts and not obstacles to our unity. All this takes a heart, a mind and a will that are deeply rooted in the mystery of a compassionate God.”

Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Xavier Sister
The 2018 Synod on “Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment”:
A Strong Call for Our Religious Congregations!
One of the great challenges today is to “vocationalize” the entire Church in a just and broad approach to vocation, truly rooted in the ecclesiology of Vatican II.
We are, therefore, invited to serve life as a vocation in this plural Church, by contributing to a synergy and a symphony of vocations in a dynamic of communion. The question of young people and vocations put forward for the 2018 Synod seems to me to be a strong appeal for our religious congregations, a call to “feel with the Church” and to widen our gaze in order to “go out” continually and walk with others, in communion with the whole people of God—lay people, consecrated persons and pastors. All of us, missionary disciples in the service of the same mission of proclaiming the joy of the Gospel, whatever our vocations may be, are called to constantly find more ways of partnership collaboration in interaction and fruitful reciprocity. It is by striving together to promote all vocations that we can promote every vocation.

Fr. Mark Weber, SVD
Vocational Discernment in an Intercultural World
Clearly, we live in a multicultural world due to migration and globalization, and our young people have been shaped by it; but are they able to discern God’s will in that world? How? Are they prepared and able to both live in that world and engage in that world?
How do we discern if a candidate has the capacity to live and work interculturally, and how do we help them to grow in intercultural competence? Let us look at the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed in all areas or “pillars” of what we often call “integral formation.”

Patrizia Morgante
Communicating to Build a Global Community
There is a thirst for beauty and truth in the digital world. Who better than a Sister can respond to this thirst, letting herself be reached and then answering? We may just have to learn to do that differently. The network does not correspond to the vertical and hierarchical logic typical of the religious world. We must learn to be one among many, but without ever renouncing our evangelical word; without being intrusive, moralistic, and judging. The network cuts us off if we want to impose ourselves; it simply does not follow us. Credibility is not obvious; we must earn it. If we want to stay inside, we must accept and stimulate authentic confrontation.

Sr. Simona Brambilla, MC
Charismatic Inculturation – Ongoing Paths
A charism that does not know how to inculturate itself is dead or dying, suffering from cardio-circulatory arrest, and asphyxiated like a turtle prevented from looking out of its shell. A charism that is not exposed to the provocations of different cultures and that does not know how to “learn the language” of other worlds goes mad, just like a turtle forced to stop walking as it naturally does. This is so because a charism, being ecclesial, is by nature missionary and wants to move, to be a pilgrim, to meet other expressions of the Spirit that dances in the world. The charism comes home from these meetings regenerated, strengthened, enlarged, multiplied, fruitful, colorful, and increasingly itself, vigorous, refined, purified, able to bring new life and new perspectives to the congregation.

Sr. Christine Burke, IBVM
Inter-cultural community- the reality!
In supportive communities, understanding can grow. In a world most in need of open arms and wide horizons, perhaps this is one of the most prophetic stands religious can take in our world. No longer is it the Institutions we run. It is who we are as we allow God to work through our struggles helping to make us women of freedom, justice and integrity, reaching out with a mind and heart open to learn, daring to believe the Gospel works through and challenges every culture.




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