On 16 March, the Congregation celebrated the 111th anniversary of the final approval of its Constitutions. For this reason, this date was chosen to begin the process of the Constitutions and Directory revision, a very meaningful task for the entire Congregation in this sexennium.
Extracts from Sr Anabela Carneiro, General Superior
“We are seeking not only to make some changes to adapt them to the present-day reality but also to revisit our “Book of Life”, to revitalise our vocational identity as women who have consecrated their life to Jesus, witnesses of his compassion and mercy for the sick and all those who suffer.
Revision process of the constitutions and directory
The need that has been felt in recent years to completely revise our legislation was captured in the Chapter Document in the following way, “Embarking throughout the Congregation on a spiritual process which will drive us forward to revitalize our vocational identity by revising the Constitutions”.
In this proposal, we find the main characteristics of the journey that lies ahead, a journey which, in a spirit of creative fidelity, impels us to “revisit” our Book of Life, the synthesis of an itinerary following Jesus according to the charism of Hospitality, and “a reliable criterion in their search for the appropriate forms of a witness which is capable of responding to the needs of the times without departing from an Institute’s inspiration”.
A single goal: revising our legislation
The main and sole objective of this process is to revise our Constitutions and Directory. For practical reasons, we have organized this process into two stages: the first, from 16 March 2019 to October 2021, which will focus on the Constitutions, and the second, from October 2021 to May 2024, which will consider the Directory.
We must tackle this goal properly and pursue it with all of our heart. We must find a shared meaning which will answer the question: What does this process mean to us and what is its scope?
The Constitutions are a book of life, “a norm which springs forth from life itself, a law that is written not in a fixed or immutable way on stone tablets, but in the flesh of the heart; they are at the service of life and for this very reason, they will have to be open to evolution and progress”.
In the proposal presented at the XXI General Chapter, the need for revision is justified precisely by the many and profound changes that have occurred in recent decades, at the social, cultural and ecclesial level and in the way of conceiving consecrated life and its mission in the world. In the Congregation, too, there have been significant changes in terms of multiculturalism, the deepening of our spiritual heritage, our way of conceiving the mission, our way of missioning and the new challenges emerging in the world of suffering and poverty.
A style: spiritual and synodal
Above and beyond the text, this path must touch and transform our existence. In order for this to happen, we want to approach it with a spiritual and synodal style that will help us to rediscover our Constitutions as a source of life, of vocational identification, fraternal communion and hospitaller mission in collaboration with others.
A horizon: revitalization
The ultimate goal of this whole exercise is the revitalization of our identity and mission in the Church and in the world, fostering dynamic processes that will generate a conversion, renewal and transformation so that the book and life will increasingly resemble one another.”
Commemoration of the Constitutions
Community of Addlestone
‘The Constitutions’ has been the “Book of our Lives” to follow Christ the Good Samaritan, Icon of our spirituality. We prepared the celebration according to the guidelines sent by our General Superior Sr. Anabela Carneiro. The whole day was profoundly felt like a day of “thanksgiving” and Joy.
The Morning Prayer was well prepared by the sister leading the Liturgy, combining the Lenten Season with our Spirituality –it was very touching. As it was Friday, the Rosary was a contemplation of Mary at the foot of the Cross reflecting on the pain and sufferings of the people we are looking after.
The main celebration took place during the evening prayer in the Sister’s Chapel. It was gracefully prepared with symbols: a lighted candle representing the light of Christ; our first Constitutions, written by St. Benito Menni in 1882; and an earthen jar of water to quench our spiritual thirst and to give it to others. At one point, each sister brought a card with a Charismatic sentence and a lighted candle and deposited it before the Altar. It was very intimate and charismatically enriching.