(Rome, Italy) “Consecration” and “Consecrated Life”: two concepts with multiple meanings that were the basis of the International Congress on Consecrated Life held in Rome from 3rd to 6th of May 2018. Among the participants Lourdes Perramon, Superior General of the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer, and Angela Corduente, of the Province of Europe were present. The three days of sessions helped the participants to deepen the understanding on these concepts. There was also an audience with Pope Francis. This meeting was attended by religious institutes and societies of apostolic life, secular institutes, the order of virgins etc. And for the first time, even associations and ecclesial movements were invited, of which without being consecrated some of its members belong to the Consecrated Life.
The conferences have been elaborated on the support of these concepts, from different aspects: from the biblical point of view with Nuria Calduch; on the theological side and the charism with José Rey Garcia de Paredes; and on the legal side with Sebastiano Paciolla. Following to these a series of contributions extracted from a seminar before the Congress was also added.
Pope Francis: It is the Holy Spirit who creates diversity
In these days there was a special time for the meeting with the Holy Father. Pope Francis addressed some brief but very significant words to those present, in keeping with the arguments discussed at the Congress. Showing his sense of humor, the Pontiff said that “the Holy Spirit is a calamity because he never tires of being creative”. And this creativity manifests itself above all in these new forms of consecrated life, with different charisms … “It is interesting because He is the author of diversity but at the same time the Creator of unity”.
On the other hand, the Pope spoke of the three main bases of consecrated life: Prayer, Poverty, and Patience. The first one understood as “the return to the first call, the time when He looked at you in the eye and told you, come, leave everything and come.” Poverty, understood by the constitutions of each congregation, is a non-negotiable factor: “Without poverty, we cannot discern what is happening in the world”. Finally, patience should be like that of Jesus in the Garden of Olives or that of “carrying on the back” of St. Paul. “It is not only a matter of patience in community life but also of the suffering of the world, of problems and also of patience in the face of the common problems of consecrated life, such as the scarcity of vocations”. A patience like that of Abraham waiting for a child: fruitful. “If you pray, and you are patient and poor, you are sure that you will be fruitful. And this is what I wish for religious life: to be fruitful.”
You can read the Pope’s message here.