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Once again in this issue of the UISG Bulletin, we would like to contribute to our understanding of Canon Law, but without ignoring the reality that surrounds us and challenges our life as consecrated women. “Religious are to have as the supreme rule of life the following of Christ proposed in the gospel and expressed in the constitutions of their own institute” (c. 662).
Starting from this quote from Canon Law, Sr. Mary Wright, IBVM offers some very useful practical notes on the fundamental norms which the constitutions of an Institute must contain in order to faithfully protect the vocation and identity of the Institute itself. Constitutions are not simply norms; the charismatic passion of the Founder is enshrined in them and they have provided entire generations of men and women religious with an
evangelical path towards sanctity. It is very interesting to see how the spiritual elements of Constitutions can and must be properly harmonized with the
Sr. Simona Paolini, FMBG presents us with a profound and detailed reflection on the nature and modes of expressing the service of authority in the phase of the econfiguration and restructuring of Institutes of Religious Life. In a time of significant change in the field of religious life, authority also needs a renewed adaptation which is not separated from its fundamental dimensions.
Today it is no longer possible to think of an arbitrary authority, nor an individual authority; therefore, the desire is to promote a more synodal authority, one open to co-responsibility, that is, able to dialogue with the current issues, developing a response elaborated together, in communion. It is the time for an authority that rediscovers the responsibility of being prophetic, announcing a new way of being authority, in the shared search for a path, that requires listening, putting oneself aside, being in the midst of others, engaged in discussion, open to mutual acceptance, attentive to the sharing of goods.
Sr. Laura Leming, FMI leads us to reflect on our ministry’s movement towards the margins, as women religious. The Gospel of Mark takes place along the road where many encounters happen. At the end of the Gospel, Jesus’s final exhortation is, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mc. 16:15). Pope Francis invited members of the Church, especially the consecrated
people, to cultivate a “renewed apostolic zeal” which could reach “all who live in the most diverse existential peripheries.” These appeals call for our attention and invite us to be present in the margins of the Church and of society, to leave our central, familiar and comfortable positions, and to see what others see. But what are the competencies that we need to cultivate in order to develop a praxis of presence in the religious peripheries in order to be able to face these global challenges with openness and confidence?
An important appointment awaits the Church in the month of October 2018: the Synod of the Youth. It will be a moment of serious and demanding reflection in which the Church will be called to suggest thoughts and strategies to re-propose to young people the truth of the Gospel in a simple, effective and attractive way. Consecrated Life is directly involved in this challenge. As a help
in the journey towards the Synod we want to offer an attentive and painstaking reflection by Fr. Antonio Pernia, SVD on who and what are the young people today and on a vision of religious life that could say something to them. How could a Religious Life be made attractive to young people? As it has always been: mystical and prophetic. A mysticism and prophecy that leads to the people,
to mission and to the poor. The solidarity with the poor shows us the “other face” of God. It is not the face of the God known or seen from the “overside” of history, that is, from the point of view of the winners and the powerful, but the face of the unknown God, seen from the “underside” of history, that is, from the standpoint of the victims and marginalized. Consecrated people have an
indispensable role in the Church today. They contribute to the movement of the Church from the “conservation mode” to the “missionary mode.” (cf. EG 15), thus revealing the “other side” of the Church, that is, not the bureaucratic institutional Church, but the Church as “field hospital after the battle, where the wounds of humanity may be bandaged, cured and healed.”
(Pope Francis, Homily at Santa Marta, October 30, 2015)