Friday, October 20, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Lay Associates

With the decrease in the number of Sisters, more importance was given in the Provinces to good cooperation with qualified laity. . . . The concern was not simply cooperation or the continuance of activities, but there was a desire to hand on Mother Pauline's charism and to carry it into the future.  The first such group of laity was begun in the Western Province in 1988, when 14 young women promised to live in accord with Mother Pauline's spirituality.  They were able to help in specific apostolic activities and participate in prayer and community events.  The covenant signed during the celebration of admission was to be renewed annually.  The number of Companions of Pauline grew very quickly and there was no longer a limit as to age or gender.  In 1998 a new group, Prayer Companions, was begun, which enabled those who wanted to live in Mother Pauline's spirit, but who have no time for additional activities or who because of age and health reasons can no longer participate.  

The concept of Lay Associates quickly spread throughout the Congregation.  In the Eastern Province the first 47 members were accepted in 1995.  In 1997 the report mentions 70 members who renewed their covenant and several new members.  The very active Lay Associates (Kaisa) in the Philippines have already been mentioned.  Without "the cooperation of the laity the carrying out of the apostolate there would hardly be possible."  Besides, they form an "extended family" for the small community so far away.  In Chile it was above all our former students who wanted to live their lives as lay women in the spirit of Mother Pauline. . . . Since 1998 the community is open to all, including male members.  It is a very large active group, from which many responsibly participate in apostolic activities.  Today a number of administrative positions in our schools are held by members of the [Lay Associates]. . . . The first members of the Laicos Asociados in Uruguay who made their covenant came from the so-called Damas Paulinas.  In the meantime there were different groups who worked for the poor and needy there, as well as in Argentina.

At the time of the formation of the first official Lay Association, the Paulinenbund in Germany was celebrating its 40th anniversary and had about 5,000 members.  The original purpose of the Paulinenbund had been fulfilled by the Beatification in 1985.  The League remained in existence with a new goal, to orient oneself according to the example of Mother Pauline's life and to try to make the love of Christ visible. . . . In the course of time, very different groups began in the German Province (Germany and Rome), who meet regularly and want to live their lives in the spirit of Pauline von Mallinckrodt, but without a covenant.

The names, the type of belonging and commitment, their outreach in the social or church sphere are different.  However, all groups are united by common objectives, such as regular meetings, which serve a deepening of spirituality, common exchange and a mutual strengthening, even if the nature and the organizational structure reflect local circumstances.  In 2010, at a general meeting of representatives from all Provinces and the Sister-Coordinators, it was "especially in the variety of forms . . . that the unifying and common elements were felt; the characteristic through Mother Pauline's charism, the willingness and desire to allow the light of the love of God and of neighbor into one's own life, to creatively and empathetically help where help is needed and in all life's situations to trust in God's guidance."  

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