CONGRESS FOR YOUNG CONSECRATED RELIGIOUS – Vatican City - 2015
Jennifer Cortez, DW
In the context of this year dedicated to the celebration of consecrated life, a congress was held in Vatican City from September 15 to 19, 2015. Roughly 5000 participants from 500 congregations, men and women from 150 different countries answered the call.
Our Congregation of Daughters of Wisdom was represented by 13 Sisters coming from 11 entities : Argentina, Canada, Congo, France, GBI, India, Italy, Madagascar, Malawi, Philippines, United States. Sr. Antonella, Italian, was responsible for this group of young women.
The gathering started with a prayer vigil. Monsignor Caballo, ofm, introduced the «Be strong, wake up the world!» Over the next three days, eight speakers spelled out this theme, approaching it through different facets.
Let me propose here a flash for a few of those conferences ...
- The church is inviting us, consecrated men and women, to embrace the spirituality of communion, the culture of encounter. We are offered the possibility of experiencing God in a concrete way ...
- A vocation is not a career. Basically it involves a personal call which requires a free response. We must always be mindful of the fact that each vocation needs the others in order to develop. The Lord constantly invites us to take on the responsibility of building communion, of reinforcing it.
- To be a young consecrated man or woman is to be open to newness, free of all prejudice, ready to give oneself unconditionally, docile to the Holy Spirit, open to our God’s future that knows no horizon. It is an invitation to be courageous, to take risks, to trust in Jesus Christ. This is made possible through personal prayer, frequent dialogues with Him and through the practice of true love toward our neighbor, especially toward the poor and the marginalized.
- Consecrated life must include a social and environmental commitment. This speaks more about what we should be rather than what we do. The missionary is a friendly, loving, prophetic presence ... We are called as consecrated persons to live communion in order to generate communion, to live in harmony with creation to enhance life.
- Allow the Spirit to guide you in ways that are more prophetic, more human, coherent and transparent according to the Gospel. Return to what is essential. You must be ready to reach out to the existential peripheries, where people suffer… Such a consecrated life is contagious.
POPE FRANCIS, having briefly answered a few questions, ended his talk with these three words: Memory, Prophecy, Intimity.
- Memory… Memory is a key word of consecrated life. James and John never forgot their initial meeting with Jesus…In our more somber moments, in times of temptation, in the difficult moments of our consecrated life, we must remember how we were struck with awe when the Lord cast his gaze upon us.
- Prophecy… Prophecy is giving witness of apostolic zeal with hearts on fire. This fire warms the heart of others. To evangelize is not only to be convincing but to
be a witness to the living Jesus… This testimony must be given with one’s whole being… and I’d like to thank the consecrated women for their testimony…You have always wanted to be at the fine edge…because you are mothers. Be the image of the Church’s maternity, icons of her tenderness and love, of maternal love, like Mary.
- Intimacy… it is a culture based on permanence, something that lasts. We live in a narcissistic culture. The Pope concluded by stating that among the worst risks facing a religious is that of narcissism: “looking at your reflection in the mirror, narcissism. Beware of that! We all pray and ask God for favours…But do we truly adore the Lord? Prayer of adoration must be a silent one and not narcissistic: be men and women of adoration.”
One last encounter… Our group of young Daughters of Wisdom held its last meeting at the« Casa» (General House). We shared our week’s experiences. Each one said she had made wonderful encounters. Each one of us wishes to bring back to her entity the rich fruits harvested during the Congress. We are grateful to Sr Louise Madore and her Council for the privilege of having experienced this magnificent Church event. Personally, I intend to slowly mull over and digest the rich and abundant teaching of this Congress.
Please our Sisters, Daughters of Wisdom, pray for us all, your young Sisters from all over the world!