Ariccia, 19 September 2019
ALONG THE PATHS OF THE WORLD
We are writing to you with joy to share the lights we received in this first part of the central phase of our General Chapter, whose specific objective is to help us get to know the situation of the whole Congregation.
Four moments marked the pace of our days from 14-18 September: the report of the Superior General on our Congregation’s journey from the 10th General Chapter up to today, the report of the Bursar General, the reports of all our circumscriptions, and a detailed presentation of the situation of Queen of Apostles Hospital.
Reviewing the stages we lived, we saw how many pearls can be gathered into the treasury of our Chapter life here on the “Gentile Hill” of Ariccia.
After expressing her thanks to all the sisters of the Congregation, Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan, Superior General, urged us to turn a contemplative gaze on our reality and to recognize all the things the Lord did with and for us in the 2013-2019 sessenium: “We are called to look at, remember and call to heart the wealth of events we lived,” she said. “The future of the religious life is rooted in memory because hope is not founded on numbers or works, on our ‘chariots and horses,’ but on the One in whom we have placed our trust and for whom ‘nothing is impossible’ (Lk. 1:37).”
Faced with the challenges of today, of the journey of the Church and the consecrated life, in the light of the evaluations of our circumscriptions and a comparison of ideas with the sisters, the Superior General highlighted different prospects for the future, which can be summed up in the phrase: “to go forth.” To go forth in step with the Word, which is “fire and wind, the Spirit who inflames our hearts and adjusts our horizons….” To go forth, leaving behind our narrow boundaries…. To go forth listening to the cry of the earth and striving for a change of mentality…. To go forth so as to open our communities to new life….
Sr. Gabriella Santon, Bursar General, began her report on the economic situation of the Congregation with the words: “To be a Congregation that goes forth today means to grow in communion, in solidarity, in sharing, and to place our energies and resources, including financial ones, at the service of evangelization, in the style of Pauline poverty.” And further on: “It is important to rethink economy not only from the bookkeeping and administrative perspective, but above all to consider it a prophetic dimension of our life. Living the vow of poverty according to our specific Pauline characteristics (a poverty that renounces, produces, preserves, provides, builds…) could be the inspiring source of a new journey toward living poverty and solidarity as Jesus did, with greater trust in Divine Providence, managing our goods with charity and in a family spirit.”
After two days of intense reflection, we then expanded our horizons to embrace the world. Through the input of our various circumscriptions, we immersed ourselves in the peoples, languages and cultures of every latitude and longitude of the globe, traveling from north to south, east to west.
In our hearts echoed the prayer of Fr. Alberione: “May each one of us be enthusiastic about the beauty of the Christian apostolate. May the charity of Christ urge us on. May the spiritual misery of poor humanity move us. Grant that we may feel in our heart the needs of childhood, of adolescence, of adulthood, of old age. Grant that vast Africa, immense Asia, promising Oceania, troubled Europe, the two Americas may exercise a powerful attraction in our being.” Many dreams were shared, united by a single golden thread: “to become, to an ever-greater extent, apostles of the Gospel along the paths of the world….”
General Director of Queen of Apostles Hospital, Albano, Sr. Anna Maria Gasser, presented the hospital’s situation in a way that we all found particularly relevant and meaningful. Her video-documentary, with its wealth of images and testimonies, introduced us to the hospital’s up-to-date structure–one that uses the most modern technologies to promote health by focusing on the needs of each individual, thus humanizing health care and the relationship with each patient.
We want to end this bulletin with a big THANKS to all of you. We are very grateful for your messages and best wishes, which are flowing in from all over the world, and which encourage us to continue our journey with joy and enthusiasm.
We also want to remind you that you can find daily news, pictures and videos about the Chapter on its page on our website: www.paoline.org.
We’ll be sending you another bulletin in a few days to share with you the surprises of the next stage of the Chapter.
A big hug to all of you!
Sr. Julieta Stoffel and Sr. Francesca Pratillo