On the afternoon of July 10 in our General Assembly we welcomed some members of the Community of St. Egidio. It was a time of sharing about the collaboration between our Congregation and this Community of lay people that has intensified in recent years.
The Sant'Egidio Community was born in 1968, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, on the initiative of Andrea Riccardi, in a high school in the center of Rome. Over the years it has become a network of communities in more than 70 countries around the world (mainly in Africa and Latin America). Prayer, Poor, Peace are the foundation of the lives of women and men, lay people, united by a bond of fraternity and committed to voluntary and gratuitous service to the least.
Since 1989, the Community has been recognized by the Holy See as a Public Lay Association of the Church.
At the basis of the two charisms, that of ASC and that of St. Egidio, we can grasp the common desire to change the world. The inspiration of the Spirit that prompted St. Maria De Mattias to desire the reform of the world starts from her falling in love with Jesus and the Gospel and takes her to the poor and disadvantaged of her time. In the same way, the first small group of enthusiastic young people, who dreamed of a more humane and beautiful world for all peoples, began reading and praying on the Word of God and allowed themselves to be led toward the peripheries of society in a concrete commitment to the most disadvantaged of our realities.
The key words for all two Communities are life grounded in the Gospel and looking to the world to catch the signs of the times and try to offer the concrete answers.
Our friends from Sant'Egidio have testified to us their gratitude to ASCs, religious women who approach others, especially the poor, with the heart and eyes of women embedded in the global world. They are grateful, above all, for the collaboration that is developing between us. This collaboration has become very significant in recent years through the initiatives we are doing together in Rome in the Generalate.
When the Community was able to operationalize the Humanitarian Corridors initiative in 2015 to combat the trafficking of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, our congregation opened the house for reception. In recent years in the Generalate House, the rooms next to the gatehouse are always inhabited by people arriving through the Humanitarian Corridors, currently a Syrian family with four young children resides there.
Every Sunday in our Precious Blood Church there is a Eucharistic celebration animated by members of the lay community. Every year we participate with them in a special celebration to remember the abandoned people who die on the road; together we pray for peace... With them we try to be close to the elderly and lonely people in our neighborhood, and in this sense the Mass and lunch with the poor on Christmas Day is very nice. Every week the community in the General House prepares 50 bags with sandwiches and juice that members of the Sant'Egidio community distribute to people sleeping on the street.With the wish that our collaboration will continue and expand to other countries where our two Communities are present, we concluded the sharing by praying together.
Sr Ana Marija Antolović, ASC