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Consecrated life (letter)

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 Contents - Feb 2001AD2000 February 2001 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: New religion texts for Melbourne schools - Michael Gilchrist
Tasmanian priest to be Lismore's new bishop - AD2000 Report
Bishop Wilson of Wollongong to be the future Archbishop of Adelaide - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
New RE texts launched in Melbourne's Catholic schools - Michael Gilchrist
The finest RE texts produced to date - Anthony Cappello
Liturgy: when will the 'Statement of Conclusions' make an impact? - Michael Gilchrist
Religious persecution continues in Vietnam - AD2000 Report
The "priest shortage": natural or artificial? - Larry A. Carstens
Successful Thomas More Spring School in Wagga - Paul Sheehan
A former heroin addict's personal testimony
Archbishop Pell opens drug rehabilitation centre - Dr Joseph Santamaria
Letters: Feminist book (letter)
Letters: Church in China (letter) - Angela Martello
Letters: Limbo (letter) - John Young
Letters: Waste of resources (letter) - Shane Dore
Letters: Vocations (letter) - Mrs Irena Nagy
Letters: G.K. Chesterton (letter) - Tony Evans
Letters: 'Creating Our Future' (letter) - Mrs Jeanette Joseph
Letters: Consecrated life (letter) - Sr Mary Augustine Lane OP
Letters: New Age spirituality (letter) - Frances Grundy
Letters: Recipe for decline (letter) - K. Logan
Letters: Sermons (letter) - Bernie Lewis
Letters: Anti-Catholicism (letter) - Kevin Tighe
Letters: Christian art (letter) - Kim Portelli
Letters: Science and Christianity (letter) - Mrs Carol V. Phillips
Books: 'The Essence Of Feminism' by Kirsten Birkett - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: 'The Sacred Liturgy', 'Discovering the Mass', by a Benedictine monk - Christopher Quinn (reviewer)
Books: 'Pope Pius XII: Architect For Peace' by Margherita Marchione - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
New patterns of religious vocations in France
Reflection: The essential role of the Catholic priest - Fr John A. Hardon SJ

I write in response to the letter headed "Consecrated Life" (November AD2000).

Here, thank God, is yet another young woman of faith who will be there, one hopes, to put together the scattered shards of true womanhood when the feminists have done their worst.

There is only one feature of her letter which I find disturbing. This is the challenge she casts before her peers, not to shun the idea that Christ may be choosing them to found a new order of sisters. It seems to me that, in times like ours, in which the young are conspicuous for their general lack of decision and commitment, and, in particular, for their apparent hesitancy to give themselves to God through the life and rules of existing religious communities, we should not expect a flood of founding charisms.

I suggest that any young man or woman, having undergone initial formation in a religious community (today upwards of seven years!) and begun to absorb some of complex theological and practical implications of this life of total self-gift, would surely approach with extreme reluctance, even scepticism, the idea of a call to found a new order in the Church. Certainly I, as a "seasoned" religious who has been engaged, for the past twenty years in the (relatively straightforward) process of re-founding the life of a community within a traditional, time-tested and Church-approved charism, would not be looking for such a responsibility.

While not discounting the power of God's grace to work through human weakness, it is not prudent for us to dismiss our own limitations as irrelevant. In fact, the Church makes many strong, objective demands of those who claim to have the necessary unique charism for that delicate and vital matter - the founding of a new religious family. Many virtues, both natural and infused, are required - not the least of which is fortitude for the long haul, which will be uphill all the way, and accompanied, inevitably, by the Cross.

Perhaps the best demonstration of love for the Church and for the religious state, is to emulate Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and give oneself humbly to God in an existent (faithful) religious order, letting Christ call from there if and when He will.

Ganmain, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 14 No 1 (February 2001), p. 14

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