Pope Francis has called religious women and men to ‘make noise’; a disturbing, desperate quiet is not what is needed at this time, writes CRA President Sister Ruth Durick osu.
During this time a number of religious congregations are having, or preparing for, their respective General Chapters. Currently the Sisters of Mercy of ISMAPNG are in Chapter. The Good Samaritan Sisters have their chapter coming soon, the Marist Brothers have their General Chapter in Colombia beginning in late August and the MSC Order begins its General Chapter in Rome in September. Let us remember our sisters and brothers at this time and pray that the spirit of discernment be strong in their midst encouraging them in their commitment to the Gospel.
In recent weeks Massimo Faggioli has been in Australia speaking to various audiences. A few weeks ago, the Sisters of St. Joseph issued an invitation to all religious to join them for an afternoon of input and discussion. In his presentation, Massimo outlined and elaborated on a number of dimensions of Pope Francis’ leadership.
Francis is inclusive and in a very practical way shows that inclusivity in daily life. He reaches out to the marginalised, he goes to where they are, he washes their feet, he provides the homeless of Rome with some means to live a more dignified life. Francis is collegial and is striving for a more synodal church, one which is listening and responsive because everyone has something to learn. Massimo stressed the important witness that this brings. In a world where important decisions are made by small groups in small rooms, the church can stand counter culturally by being inclusive and transparent. Massimo also spoke of Mercy as key to understanding Pope Francis because of the practical level in which the church deals with reality. Mercy, by definition, is inclusive and prophetic ecclesiologically. It can’t be reproduced in a laboratory but happens in real life. “The sacramental matter of mercy is pure life.”
Finally, Massimo spoke of the role of religious at this time and the call that Pope Francis has given to religious to ‘make noise’ – a disturbing, desperate quiet is not what is needed at this time.
On behalf of those religious who were able to attend I’d like to thank the Sisters of St. Joseph for their generous invitation. We can be encouraged at this time to embrace these values of inclusivity, mercy and disruption. Pope Francis as leader is giving this example. He cannot do it alone. We need to give our own support to these values where we are, where we live community, where we are Church, the People of God.