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International Assembly of the Superior General
What touched me the most in this Assembl in Rome, May 6-10, 2019? :
. The Assembly itself: 850 Superior generals, in all sorts of habits, coming from the whole world. All together in the same huge room, by tables of 10, and by languages. Everything was translated into 11 languages, among which were : arab, chinese, korean, japanese etc. Breaks and lunches allowed us to talk with other Superiors from other languages. Everay day, we prayed in different languages and styles. A strong and beautiful experience of Pentecost!
. The theme of the Assembly: Sowers of prophetic hope. After hearing 5 very interesting talks (1), a few sometimes very moving testimonies, and after exchanging among ourselves, together, we committed to continue to work in our Congregations for: the defense of women, the safeguarding of our planet (according to Laudato Si); the denunciation of all kinds of abuse (sexual, power, of conscience); the intercultural relationships; and the interfaith dialogue.
.The audience with Pope Francis. An hour of simple happiness. He put aside the writen talk he had prepared and prefered to dialogue with us. Right away, seeing the variety of habits in our group, he said that it is fine like that and that "it is up to each Congregation to discern which habit (civil or religious) is the most appropriate, THE criterion is the mission. But no dress is better than another, in itself". Regarding the sexual abuse and evoking the present problems in the Church, he expressed his shame and disapproval of these problems as well as his great compassion for the victims. Then he firmly asked us never to accept to be the domestics or the servants of the priests or bishops. He insisted on the place women have to take in the Church. "The theology of woman has still to progress. The Church is woman and mother", he said again and again.
. The warm and fraternal Cardinal Braz de Aviz, in charge of the Dicastery for Consecrated Life, came and met us also. He answered questions we asked him.
. As well, the very new Ambassador of France to the Holy See asked to come and meet a group of French Superior generals. We were 8 to have lunch with her. We have been touched by her simplicity. She is a non practising catholic and she seems not to know religious life very well. She was surprised by the way we live democracy in our Congregations and also by the power of such a worlwide Assembly as ours (like UNO, she said).
. After the Assembly, one day of formation in Canon Law was offered, animated by 3 religious women, on "Power, authority and the good of the Institute".
. This time again, I went to greet the new Superior General of the Daugthers of the Holy Spirit of Mexico -picture 1-. And I had also the joy to spend time with our Sr Janet Audu, from Nigeria, who is about to finish in June her training in Rome -picture 2-.
May the Holy Spirit allow growth in all that has been sown during this Assembly!
Sr Anne-Marie Foucher, Superior General - Posted on May 18, 2019
(1) The text of these talks can be found on the Internet