Friday, October 27, 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.


We are daily confronted with topics like war, force, terror and fear, problems of refugees, child soldiers, epidemics, climate change, natural catastrophes like floods and earthquakes, to mention just a few.  What can the individual, what can a small Congregation do in the face of such a depressing situation?  Nevertheless, the General Chapter of 2013 met the situation courageously.  "To what is God calling us today with our possibilities and limitations?  What is our task in a changing and globalized world?"  These questions were present in all the areas to be discussed.  By our life in the modern world and society, we are asked and challenged to consider our own principles anew.  The tenets of religious life, spirituality, community, mission, are inseparably bound up with each other and mutually nourish each other.  

Responsibility for creation and the world is part of the spirituality which is concretely lived within community.  According to the spirit of Mother Pauline we strive to confront the negative culture of death and the power of force with the love and peace of Christ.  We have been called to become involved in the total society and commit ourselves to the global network for justice, peace and the care of creation.  By our personal lifestyle and, wherever possible, we also strive to contribute, by word and deed, to the development of awareness and a definite value system in the sense of the network.  This includes, e.g., solidarity, which expresses itself in concrete action for the marginalized.  Here a broad sphere of activity and development opens up.  Again and again it deals with the question of how we can be peacemakers and bearers of reconciliation in today's world.  The "freedom poles" which have been erected in America and in Germany are a silent prayer for peace, an important symbol and "a constant reminder of our mission to radically and creatively live evangelical nonviolence in our world so obsessed by force and terror."  The goal of the 2008 conference for coordinators for justice and peace in Rome was to discuss common concerns as well as specific concerns of the countries/continents.  Later Sister Adalberta, Superior General, reported to the Sisters, "We are being strengthened in our efforts, congregationwide and together with other Congregations as well as the laity, especially especially our Associates, to respond to the signs of the times according to our possibilities and personnel."  The effort toward justice and peace corresponds "in a special way today to our charism of love."  "Where life can develop, where life is supported, justice takes place, healing takes place.  It is our mission to care for the fullness of life."  A high expectation, which one can only approach again and again.

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