CONGRESS ON CONSECRATED LIFE AND VOCATIONAL MINISTRY
Sr. Elizabeth Siches, DW, General Councilor
At the heart of the Congress on Consecrated Life and Vocational Ministry the presence of the Holy Spirit fanned the fire! It was in Rome, December 1 to 3, 2017. More than 800 religious from all five continents lived a new Pentecost! Through their active participation, they heard Jesus still calling today. However, in this new world, it is normal that new forms of proclamation of the Good News emerge, giving confidence and trust to today’s youth.
As delegates, God preceded us and opened paths for us, thanks to a letter of Pope Francis: “How to support a vocation”. This letter was read by His Excellency Mgr. José Rodriguez Carballo. Here is an excerpt:
“To speak of vocation ministry, is to declare that all the ministries of the Church are oriented towards vocational discernment. The service of vocation must be seen as the soul of all evangelization and must be in close relationship with family ministry. Vocation ministry is build on youth ministry and evolves with it. Prayer is the first and irreplaceable service we can bring to the cause of vocations.”
Convictions and reflections
The convictions and reflections heard during the Congress were manifestations of the Wisdom of God calling us to conversion and transformation. Here is a conviction that was firmly expressed “The care of vocations ministry begins with the care for our own vocation: we cannot propose what we do not live. Only through our life witness can we sincerely say, “Come and See” (John 1, 39). Another conviction: “Do not be afraid to present the demands of the Gospel as radical proposals; let us avoid “light” proposals. We heard that it is necessary to give the floor to the young, to listen to them, “to speak with them instead of speaking of them.” Let us create a culture of encounter with Christ, let us network together in collaboration with bishops, religious and laity.
A few calls ….
This congress called us to be close to the world of young people, to give them the floor and to answer their existential questions. That implies an accompaniment made of proximity and depth, in a creative and dynamic movement of reaching out to them. Another call: Do not fear to give to your vocation ministry, the colour of your charismatic family and its spiritual wealth.” Refresh your message for a new generation!
The “Come and See” call requires a life that is coherent in order to give witness to the beauty of consecrated life. Our communities must be available to welcome women who want to experience our way of life. These younger women want to read the Gospel in our life, the gospel of the love of God that has no boundaries: “Taste and see how good is the Lord!” (Psalm 33)
Moving Forward ...
The Youth Synod is a time of grace. It will encourage us and certainly motivate us to develop a vocation culture, to find ways for all of us to be involved: young, adults and elders all witnessing the beauty and richness of Consecrated Life.
Our intuitions and convictions were confirmed and enriched by hearing young religious speak to us of their hopes and views. One proposal says a lot: “That vocation ministry begin in our own communities. May we discover together our first love, by living Consecrated Life. Upon seeing love being lived between us, young people will understand our choice of life. Life in community should be a community of life, taking into account interculturality. We must go deeper in our knowledge of the contemporary reality of the world of youth. May our vision of vocation ministry be integrated and linked with other ministries such as social and education ministries.
Where are we as a Congregation?
As Daughters of Wisdom, we have certainly taken steps in the direction evoked at this Congress. During the past six years, in many ways we promoted a vocation culture and also interculturality. We elaborated comprehensive formation plans and programs. We still seek to use the media to approach young people. We should certainly take more frequently advantage of our Congregational site. For example, concerning the “Wisdom Vocation” section, we need to be regular and dynamic in our commitment to feed it: prayer suggestions, life stories and events…etc. in connection with Vocation.
So much wealth in Wisdom spirituality!
As Daughters of Wisdom, how grateful we should be for the richness of our Wisdom spirituality! New generations need to see us live this spirituality and hear us proclaim it as an incomparable treasure. Young people need to hear Christ Wisdom cry out at the crossroads of the world: “Listen to me! Come to me! I want to make you happy!” (LEW 66)
The Daughters of Wisdom along with our readers are invited to find and read the basic texts of this Congress, for example in the "Sequela Christi", a paper of the Dicastery for the Institutes of Consecrated Life. The panel and the sharing of experiences in the "YouTube Congregazione Vita Consacrata" also provide extra interesting information.
OUR BEST WISHED FOR THE 2018 SYNOD where the results of this Congress will be sent in the form of concrete proposals rich in reflection and foresights!