First, what affects me greatly even today, is the experience of communion in diversity, wonder at the faces, reflecting the world, with a heart, the mystery of the gift of God: the same call, the same desire to become who we are called to be and deeply connected to one another, beyond our limitations and our sin. There is a desire to live in communion with God and with those who are poor. This joy of communion brought me to a profound sense of life in the local community where what unites us is more than what divides us.
Father Patrick Griffin, who accompanied us throughout the session, and most of the speakers gave us ways to reflect on our community life and to see how we can deepen our spirituality of communion.
“Were not our hearts burning…”as we heard of the foundations of our Christian life and our being as Daughters of Charity from the different presenters? Sometimes my heart felt a little worried when being called to face the demands of our vocation… But, not to panic, for, “at the heart of being radical is love,” reminded our Superioress General. We are invited to watch over the treasure of our vocation like the pearl of great price, using all the means offered by the Company and by the Church and to discern, with the aid of the Spirit which helps us grow in fidelity (by daring to compare our life with the Gospel, our Constitutions and Statutes.)
Our life is necessarily influenced by society and St. Vincent previously warned us against the danger of superficiality. Sr. Evelyne posed the question, “Are you happy, proud to be Daughters of Charity? (…) It would be good for each one of you to examine the way she lives her vocation, and also how the persons around you see you live it. Do they see a Daughter of Charity or a nurse, a teacher, an educator, a social worker?”
We have also been lead to reflect on our manner of living obedience and availability for the mission. Personally, the presence and courage of our sister missionaries prompted me to look at my own involvement in the Company.
We were asked to look again at our manner of being with those who are poor. “We may be close but that is not sufficient. We must love, but not with just any love; it is the love that we ourselves have received from God: a true love, long-lasting, free (…) Communion with those who are poor is the fruit of our communion with Christ.” (Sr Françoise Petit)
We all probably heard again a call to work at interiority, to live conversion and sacrifice in order to live our commitment with radicalism and consistency, joy and missionary enthusiasm. This is how we are credible witnesses who are not afraid to enter into dialogue with unbelief, indifference, and eventually to accepting the cross.
Along the road, following our founders and our sisters throughout the centuries, Mary has taught us, “to let the divine life be born into our daily life, in the concrete reality of our days,” (Sr. Anne Prévost), to welcome, above all, the grace of God to, “discover the grandeur and the dignity of those who are poor” and to “recognize the work of God in their hearts and in their lives.”
Sister Danielle Roux, Daughter of Charity