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Wednesday, 15 June 2022 09:27

Embracing Vulnerability to Journey in Synodality

The 22nd UISG Plenary Assembly was held in Rome May 2-6, 2022.  After the pandemic-related delay, the intercultural and inter-congregational experience of the assembly was attended by 700 general superiors in person and another 120 on-line.  It was a great opportunity for deep listening and sharing to grow as a global reality and strengthen the networking UISG is fostering among the various Congregations.  The 22nd UISG Plenary Assembly was held in Rome May 2-6, 2022.  After the pandemic-related delay, the intercultural and inter-congregational experience of the assembly was attended by 700 general superiors in person and another 120 on-line.  It was a great opportunity for deep listening and sharing to grow as a global reality and strengthen the networking UISG is fostering among the various Congregations.  The days were blessed with the experience of a strong sense of communion among us, a very intense and meaningful time to grow together and continue to look confidently and hopefully toward the future.  The very interesting and meaningful theme, Embracing vulnerability to journey in synodality, allowed us to share on current topics that touch our lives, the lives of the Congregations and that of the world.  In this unprecedented time in history where there is no shortage of challenges and problems for us General Superiors, it was very important to have a place for sharing our vulnerabilities and the limitations we are facing, but also to continue to develop a common vision for being a prophetic presence in the Church and in the world.We are not yet out of the pandemic and we find ourselves threatened by a war that is having a world-wide impact.  In these uncertain and dark times, the Plenary Assembly brought new light to help us read the global events making our fragility even more evident as an opportunity and transformation.  Religious life today is vulnerable.  We are going through an epochal change, a collective and worldwide transformation process, and there is need to embrace our fragility as a “a reality to which God is calling us.”  In a synodal approach, when we embrace our fragility we are strengthened to support each other and walk together.  During our work sessions we delved into the three key words of the theme:- EMBRACING: as a commitment and call to a tender acceptance of our vulnerability and that of others.  Approaching the wounds and making them our own with respect and deep listening. Embracing is synonymous with taking care of, being involved, taking on the responsibility in a spirit of the universal sisterhood we want to live, in the power of the Gospel, to be a prophetic presence in the world.  Embracing thus becomes synonymous with listening to what our congregations and many people affected by this pandemic feel in order to be totally reborn sisters and brothers. - “VULNERABILITY”: is understood as a common aspect for all of us, religious women and humanity.  Recognizing our vulnerability and being reconciled with it, accepting our personal and institutional limitations allows us to grow as consecrated women open to sharing and willing to walk with others.  We are fragile and vulnerable creatures who need each other and are aware that the paradox of fragility is that when we embrace it, we strengthen ourselves by supporting each other.  Vulnerability makes us humble, capable of making room for others and ready to offer generative hospitality.  - SYNODAL JOURNEY: synodality is the Church’s way and horizon.  It is a vision, a pedagogy, that makes us an ecclesial community to serve the proclamation of the Gospel, which includes everyone, especially the excluded, the unheard, the voiceless.  Being open to synodal journeying means cultivating a communion in which Christ is center, way, truth and life.
Synodality indicates to us a way of living and acting that defines us as a community in its desire to journey with others.  It is the nature of the Church and of consecrated life!  We are called to rekindle our passion for consecrated life and grow in a sense of belonging in order to be able to share the richness of the charism with everyone.  Synodality indicates to us a way of living and acting that defines us as a community in its desire to journey with others.  It is the nature of the Church and of consecrated life!  We are called to rekindle our passion for consecrated life and grow in a sense of belonging in order to be able to share the richness of the charism with everyone.  An audience with Pope Francis powerfully completed our reflection.  He encouraged us in our weakness by reminding us of God’s trust in us.   The Church learns from her Teacher that in order to be able to give her life in serving others, she is invited to recognize and embrace her own fragility and from this, to bow down before the fragility of others.  In this approach, the recommendation is to live authority as service.The Pope did not hesitate to consider the aspects of fragility connected to consecrated life and religious vocations – a reduced relevance of numbers, works and social impact, of dropouts – but he assumes and invites us to have a positive outlook and momentum.He also encouraged us to look for ways to participate fully in the synodal process and invite others to do it in their local parishes and in their communities and organizations.  Each challenge for us consecrated women is a call to walk together on a synodal journey, sharing and our faith, our way of living, our hopes and our dreams and listening deeply.  With all religious, we want to continue to proclaim the joy of the Gospel through sharing our common mission in the Church.  May we joyfully and hopefully continue our journey, certain of the presence of the Spirit who acts and transforms.

Sr. Nadia Coppa, ASC
General Superior
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