UISG Bulletin: Consecrated Life: faithfulness and creative innovation

Consecrated Life: faithfulness and creative innovation

Presentation Bulletin 164

We are living in a time of significant change for consecrated life. It would appear that the process of secularization has caused a “crisis” which can be mainly identified through two important signs: declining membership and the seeming loss of significance. How can we “pass through” this crisis in a constructive way?

This issue of the UISG Bulletin, wants to offer some reflections that may help to develop such an approach. Starting from the assumption that over time everything changes and is transformed, we must first embrace change as an opportunity to start afresh with new energy. Secondly, we address the topic of declining membership and reconfiguration, and finally we reflect on new possibilities offered today especially in terms of intercultural and inter-congregational developments. All of these topics are explored without losing our essence as consecrated women rooted in God, rediscovering every day the joy of being consecrated.

Sr. Tiziana Merletti, SFP (click here)
Reconfiguration: A parable of decline or an opportunity for female Religious Institutes?
A common practice in the western world is to deal with the reconfiguration of Religious Life Institutes when the situation becomes critical. It is no secret that one of the most tangible and evident consequences of the Institutes declining number of members, combined to the growing multiculturality of governments and of communities, is that the newly elected governments at General Chapters, are mandated to conceive new ways and forms of restructuring the Institute. This study intends to provide guidelines contributing to transform such a delicate task into a response to an appeal for transformation and evolution, rather than resulting in grim report on diminishing resources and ability to act.

Sr. Elisabetta Flick, SA
Welcoming changes in the light of Scripture
In order to prepare ourselves to welcome change, it can be helpful to acknowledge what we want to bring with us when we leave the country that we know in order to go into the land that the Lord will indicate to us. When travelling from one country to another, it is necessary to stop regularly in order to recover our strength and courage before setting off again. These stages are oases in which we share with other travellers the joys and the exhaustion of the journey. I invite you to imagine living through one of these pauses which might help us to perceive this time of reflection on reconfiguration as a privileged time, a blessed oasis.

Prof. Dr. Myriam Wijlens
Diminishing Human Resources for Leadership in Religious Institutes: An Assistance for Taking Stock and Shaping the Future
In 2002 the secretariat of the Conference of Major Superiors in The Netherlands (KNR) developed a questionnaire intending to assist institutes in taking stock and opening up new paths in preparation for the future. The questionnaire was not intended as a survey, but as a means of making all members of a province/house aware of their situation and therefore come to appreciate in what areas decision must be made.

Fr. David Glenday MCCJ
God’s fellow workers: the joys, challenges and opportunities of the relationships between Institutes of Consecrated Life
We are all well aware of the challenges our Institutes face at this time, and the considerable effort and energy poured into initiatives of ongoing formation aimed at renewal. Happily, there are projects of cooperation in this area, but they need to be multiplied, born of the conviction that any real renewal will be renewal together, that we really do need each other for this task.

Fr. Carlos del Valle, SVD
Rediscovering the joy of being consecrated
Much has been written about the Consecrated Life, and much more has been lived. The Consecrated Life is something that we breathe, rather than something that we think about. The question is not ‘what is the consecrated life?’, but rather ‘how can I be a religious woman/man today?’ Let us try to understand the world of the Consecrated Life in which we move, and to understand ourselves. Without being nostalgic about ‘what is not being lived’, let us rather look forward and cherish hope as a nostalgia for the future.This reflection wants to transmit a creative passion for the possible. If, in the Consecrated Life we do not feel the need for change, we become self-satisfied. We need to innovate, and not to be obsessed with growth or diminishment.

Read Sr. Tiziana Merletti’s article on Reconfiguration

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