Rome, Wednesday July 20, 2016
In the morning of July 18th, Monday, we began our day with Eucharistic Adoration, followed by Morning Prayer, and after breakfast, we had the last session in which we finalized the work of the General Chapter.
First, M. María de Fátima Gaioli spoke, who had been invited to Rome for these days in order to collaborate in a commission that is to lay the foundation for a project approved by this Chapter: the redaction of a book that recounts the history of our Institute from its beginnings. M. Fatima was invited to present the Mothers with a brief explanation of what has been done in these days and of the direction that the work will taken.
Next, M. María Corredentora, Superiora General, presented the plan of the government of the Institute for this next period, 2016- 2022.
In her presentation, M. Corredentora summarized the most important topics focused on throughout this Chapter, arranging them according to the “non-negotiable elements relating to the Charism”. To this effect, she mentioned, for example, what had been addressed concerning religious life, the observance of the religious vows, community life and the Liturgy, in reference to a “serious Spirituality” as one of the non-negotiable elements that we desire to live.
She also mentioned issues relating to formation, from the beginning to the permanent one after perpetual vows, vocations and those responsible for formation, incorporating them under the “Docility to the living Magisterium of all times” and “the search for truth in St. Thomas Aquinas and his recent commentators”.
Other topics included the exercise of Institute’s government on all levels: local, provincial, and general; the task of both composing and preserving writings that form the Patrimony of the Institute, matters relating to the Monastic Branch, Eastern Rites and the continual search for unity, within a “providential outlook of one’s entire life”.
She also spoke on subjects relating to the missions “ad Gentes” and the “emblematic missions”; as well as catechesis, volunteer work, the importance of humanist education; the Third Order Secular and work together in the “Cornelio Fabro” Cultural Project, within the category of the “Apostolic and missionary Creativity” in the pastoral realm.
Lastly, she spoke of the different stages of growth that our Institute has experienced, articulating the criteria of expansion that this new period must adopt, according to those already outlined in our Constitutions relating to the “Selection of ministries” (Cfr. Const. n. 183-186), so as to reinforce the missions already undertaken, without, however, ever forgetting that we are called to be missionaries where God calls us to open new communities.
She concluded by giving thanks first to the Lord Our God, for the many blessings received, doubtlessly assisted by the fervent prayer offered during these days by so many members of our Religious Family (priests, religious and lay people.)
She likewise thanked Rev. Fr. Alberto Barattero for his valuable assistance as Spiritual Father up until the present moment, and also Rev. Fr. Diego Pombo for his readiness in assuming the office in the new period of government that is beginning.
In a special way, she thanked M. Maria de Anima Christi, for her generous self-donation during the past 18 years of intense government, for her many solicitudes and sacrifices in accompanying each one of her daughters in the different missions that God has granted us.
Finally, she also thanked the Chapter Mothers for the work accomplished in the General Chapter, for the love of the Institute and for the heroic example of those who are in difficult places of mission and in the circumstances of war.
In the afternoon, we had the closing Mass in the Basilica of St. Paul’s outside the Walls. Rev. Fr. Diego Pombo, new Spiritual Father of the SSVM, presided, while many others concelebrated, namely, the IVE Chapter Fathers, as well as priests who are close to the Institute, such as Mgsr. Karel Kasteel.
R. P. Alberto Barattero, IVE preached the homily.
After the celebration of Mass, we enjoyed a festive dinner, accompanied by Fr. Alberto Barattero and Fr. Diego Pombo, the sisters “Daughters of Christ the King” and several sisters from our Communities in the Province of Italy.
We had a fogon with a summary of anecdotes from the daily life of these past days. M. Maria Corredentora presented gifts to the priests, to Mother María de Anima Christi, to the members of the previous General Council, to the new Provincial Mothers, to the Chapter Mothers, and to the Assistants who have been helping in all the offices with great generosity and joy over the past weeks.
We give thanks to the Lord Our God for the many blessings received during this IV° Ordinary General Chapter, and we ask for the grace to act in fidelity to the Holy Spirit, in order to discern how to transmit its fruits to the rest of the members of our Institute. In a spirituality profoundly marked by all the aspects of the mystery of the Incarnation, renewing this commitment with all our strength, in order to prolong the Incarnation in every man, in the whole man, and in all the manifestations of man.
In order to achieve this disposition of complete and unrestricted docility to the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ, we have need of the Most Holy Virgin as the model, guide, and form of all our acts, and to this end, we cry, with all the strength of our soul and heart, today and always, “Totus tuus Maria!” (Cfr. Const. nn. 5 y 19).
M. María de Bethlehem Pinciroli