General Leader, Sr. Ana Maria Alcalde, addresses Holy Family Sisters

“We are light”.  We have come from the source of all light and we shine forth in different ways.  We are called to give the light that we are to all around us.

This visit of animation is part of a long journey in which we are becoming more aware of the new way of looking at the world.  We are gradually deepening this “new way”, this different way of looking at the world and our place in it. This new way affects our option for life and our common mission. (C.C 2014 and the Decree on Vowed for Mission)

“Open to the great story of the Universe where God reveals God’s self, and filled with passion for the mission of Jesus, in our world of increasingly rapid change, we welcome and offer the gift of communion with the urgency that this time requires”.(Vowed for Mission)

In the decree “Vowed for Mission” it states: “Being sent on mission as Holy Family religious women commits us to live our consecration in an integrated way, as an expression of our passion for God’s project in the world”

During the last General Chapter, we felt the need to express more broadly the depth of the content of the document on the Vows in order to make it more practical and more connected to daily life. We have repeatedly heard the call to reflection and to a constant deepening of our understanding of our living of the vows for mission.  We think this is vital if we are to make the changes we desire and need in order to live our option for the consecrated life in a more integrated and prophetic way.

Therefore, this visit of animation will emphasize the importance of a reflective search together, which will lead us to a deeper commitment to our option for life – understood in the light of the emerging world view. This commitment is a response to local and global realities that present new possibilities and new challenges which require new creative responses.

We think that it is important to underline two fundamental aspects that will help us to enter into this process:

  1. An attitude of discernment, a response of faith to the story of the evolving universe because everything is an expression of the Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1); “in whom all things were created” (Col.1:15); “revealing to us the mystery of God’s will…which would be carried out in Christ in the fullness of time” (Eph.1: 9-10).
  2. A recognition of the fact that our Holy Family Story, even our faith story is contained within the story of the universe – not the other way round.

The reflections that you used to prepare for this visit had the objective of situating you into this perspective which we are going to reflect on again together.

This growth of a new awareness is taking place all around us in humanity and we are conscious of the fact that ever since the 2008 chapter, we too have been growing in this awareness, as individuals, within the Institute and within the Family.  It is an awakening to the presence of a God who is loving Presence, Word, Spirit….a God who is present and visible in the reality of today, through scientific discoveries and discoveries in space and theology.  These discoveries leave us amazed and they are also an urgent call to put an end to the destruction of Earth and the consequences of the destruction of our planet – discrimination, separation, violation of human rights….These have become more and more evident in the last 200 years.

We are invited to remain open to the process of evolution, realizing that it is a process that has barely just begun and that each of us is at a different stage on the journey of understanding and acceptance.  This requires us to move forward slowly and patiently and respecting the rhythm of each one.

Of course we cannot expect to do much during these few days of the visit.  We have come to encourage you and help you to move forward.  Since the last chapters you are already living and deepening the new vision and we wish to support you in your search and in the responses that you are already giving to the new needs.

And so this morning, we invite you to look back on all that you have lived up until now and that you dedicate time to appreciate the steps you have already taken as individuals, as communities and as a Unit since the last chapter.

During the process that we will live during the next three days, we invite each one of you to remain open to the movements of the Spirit, within yourself and among you so as to have the boldness to seek responses together and to take the risk to let go of anything that prevents the growth of new life among us.

That is why we need to create an atmosphere of silence and contemplation in order to be able to listen at a deep level.  We are living in times of great possibilities and of rapid communication.  These means of communication could be a temptation or a distraction for us.  We are asking that you seriously take this time and dedicate it to personal reflection and to group sharing so that we can profit as much as possible from the gift of this time that has been given to us.  It is an invitation to be more connected with one another.

The main objective of the visit is:

  • To give attention to our passionate and authentic participation in the Mission of Christ
  • Enlightened by faith, to read with discernment the emerging world view and the evolution of a new consciousness.

And during these three days, we will pay attention to three specific aims:

  1. Identify and appreciate the new light that the emerging world view and evolution of consciousness is giving, and can give to our Holy Family life.
  2. Identify specific paths that we need to take in order to express our consecrated life for mission
  3. Find ways of supporting one another as we welcome the “new life” that the Risen Jesus gives us.