Echoes of an extraordinary year
Introduction to Bulletin 161
The year 2016 has been marked by many intertwined relevant events for both religious life and the UISG: the closure of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Holy Year of Mercy, the Jubilee for the 50th Anniversary of UISG, the celebration of the XXth Plenary Assembly (Rome May 9-13, 2016) on the topic “Weaving a Global Solidarity for Life – For them to have life and to have it in abundance”.
In this issue of the Bulletin, the last for 2016, we wanted to gather some echoes of such events to allow the gift of grace we received to be consolidated in our lives and accompany us along the path of faith which will be pursued in the coming years.
We open the Bulletin with the testimony that six young sisters presented at the UISG Plenary Assembly. The religious, coming from different countries, cultures and congregations, answered to the following question: What gives me enthusiasm in my current religious life and thinking at the future? It is interesting to extract from their answers, the motivations, expectations and hopes of young consecrated women for the present and future of consecrated life.
A unique moment in the Plenary was the Audience with Pope Francis in the Hall Paul VI, at the Vatican. A joyful and constructive dialogue. The text is herein published and our hearts are still filled with gratitude for the presence of the Holy Father among us.
It is once more Pope Francis, the central theme of the article by Father Bruno Secondin who masterly describes and refers to “the Francis effect”; the style, language, ecclesial project of this Pope “whose heart is with peripheries” is a constant source of surprise and opens up new horizons and frontiers to orient our mission as consecrated women.
At our Plenary Assembly we, as consecrated women, have jointly committed ourselves to weave a Global Solidarity for Life. Global solidarity implies also inter-congregational solidarity. It is what Brother Paulo Dullius describes in his enlightened article. Inter-congregational in concrete terms, is the alliance between different congregations (which started since a few years), but also between congregations and lay people. The common mission is at the core of such alliance. The inter-congregational dimension is primarily solidarity flowing into the mission.
Our life is a life given to follow Christ, to allow God’s Kingdom to become our daily reality. But God’s Kingdom is a hidden treasure, a seed that sprouts in the darkness of the earth….which can be seen with the eyes of the heart. In order to see God’s Kingdom we need to educate our heart to prayer and silence. This is the theme of the article by Father Carlos del Valle who, wisely guides us into the depths of silence and of prayer, which together, create an inhabited silence in us, the deep interiority that allow us to enjoy a stronger communication with other human beings and with God.