The Leader of the FCJ Sisters Attends International Gathering in Rome May 2010
Sr Katherine Mary O’Flynn, General Superior of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, attended the recent meeting of International Superiors General (UISG) in Rome from 7-11 May 2010.
Katherine Mary O'Flynn fcJ
The theme of the Rome conference was: I know the fountain well which flows and runs ... though it is night, - Mysticism and Prophecy in Religious Life. The inspiration for the theme was a poem written by St John of the Cross, which can be read here.
Around 800 women religious from around the world, each a congregational leader, explored the links between mysticism and prophecy with the aim of energizing the lives of their communities.
Sister Maureen Cusick, a Sister of Notre Dame de Sion and president of the UISG, opened the conference and in introducing the theme pointed out that these are dark times, ... we hear it said that darkness is covering the earth. Earthquakes destroy thousands of lives and homes, volcanic ash darkens the skies, oil contaminates the seas.
Sister Maureen affirmed that women religious do not want to fail in their prophetic role in history, to proclaim a vision of the world based on the Gospel, in a message of mercy and compassion. 'We take seriously our prophetic role in the Church as consecrated women, ... to take the Word of God to those who are on the margins of society and also on the margins of the Church.'
As various speakers shared their insights into the call to religious to deepen the mystical aspect of life in order to renew the prophetic dimension at the core of religious life, there was a lively sense of hope and trust that God was at work.
To read the conference papers click here - select your language and then 'plenary 2010 conferences'.
The religious leaders came from different experiences. - Sisters from the USA spoke of their growing solidarity as women religious in the midst of the pain and confusion experienced as a result of the recent apostolic visitation. Courageous sisters from the Middle East came bringing the frustration and hurt of many years of conflict. Sisters from Africa expressed their joy in welcoming new members and told of their struggle to share scarce resources in order to form their members. Asian members told of their experiences of interfaith dialogue despite political unrest.
Many sisters expressed their congregation’s great apostolic desires alongside a reality of fewer members available for mission. Yet, regardless of these difficulties there was a profound conviction that the fountain of grace continues to flow abundantly even in the darkness. God is at work in these times - our challenge is to believe, open our hearts to conversion and recognise the message written in the darkness.
To read an account in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) click here
Photos of Sr Katherine Mary fcJ taken in 2009 during her visitation of the Province of Asia-Australia