Living Interculturality… Dream or Folly of Wisdom…
Sr. Louise Madore, D.W.
The invitation to live interculturality is the echo of a dream that Wisdom Herself has nestled at the heart of humanity from the beginning of Creation. Responding to this call is simple,surprising and even confusing in the manner of Wisdom…
As I listened to the message of Pope Francis on Christmas day, it occurred to me that Wisdom was offering guidance on how to make further progress on the road to interculturality.
Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God.1
These few words appear so simple…let our heart be moved, that is, let our heart be set in motion! During this Christmas Season, we celebrate our Savior, Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, humbly born in our humanity in order to move us to goodness towards our Sisters and Brothers.
To live interculturality, we must go to meet others by opening up to their culture. May we be moved by what is different! May we welcome the gift of diversity desired and revealed to us, desired by Creative Wisdom in Her goodness. This mutual sharing is only possible in a trusting and respectful dialogue.
More than ever the Chapter urges us to prophetically promote in the midst of our communities and our world, intercultural relations breaking down boundaries between peoples. 2
To promote intercultural relations, we need to become women radiating peace and creating communion. In the simplicity and poverty of the manger everyone was welcomed regardless of cultural background and social class. The Holy Family, in a vulnerable situation, had nothing to protect or defend. It had only welcoming arms to offer.
In our context of cultural and religious mixes, it becomes more urgent than ever that signs of communion be clearly experienced. Humanity will then see that “it is possible”…that people live together in spite of differences creating gaps as deep as those of religion, culture, race and language.3
We might ask if it is really possible…Living interculturality is a challenge but in its relational dimension, it is also a question of justice. It consists of continually adjusting our way of seeing others to the way that Christ Wisdom looks upon each one of us.
It is neither in philosophical theories nor in inter-religious encounters that the differences emerge and disturb us. This intercultural life together proves the most difficult in the reality of our daily life. Unconsciously in our perceptions, sentiments, and behavior, individual and collective, our tendency at times is to classify to the point of defining everything under the relation “dominating/dominated.”
Living interculturality … dream or folly of Wisdom? The answer is up to us! Together, will we dare to widen the space of our tent to go meet other cultures? Dare we take the time to contemplate the child of Bethlehem to start moving toward others to the point of changing our ways with Christ, universal Wisdom, as our unique reference? Will we commit ourselves to building a Congregation without borders, a new humanity in harmony with the Kingdom of God?
We are aware of being at a turning point in history...We can no longer afford to remain enclosed within our boundaries. We proclaim that by this encounter with the other, we are ready to let ourselves be challenged to the point of reconfiguring our ways of being and working together, realizing that we are always evolving on our journey.
Each Sister will have a sense of being a Daughter of Wisdom beyond the boundaries of her entity, at the heart of the world. 3
Let us go onward together to fulfill Wisdom’s dream for the Congregation!
1. Urbi et Orbi Message, Pope Francis Christmas 2013
2. Orientation of the General Chapter 2012
3. Jean-Marie Lovey, La vie religieuse beauté ancienne et toujours nouvelle, p. 136-137
4. Orientation of the General Chapter 2012