The Joy of Living Together
“I hope for a growth in communion between the members of different Institutes. Might this Year be an occasion for us to step out more courageously from the confines of our respective Institutes and to work together, at the local and global levels, on projects involving formation, evangelization, and social action? This would make for a more effective prophetic witness. Communion and the encounter between different charisms and vocations can open up a path of hope. No one contributes to the future in isolation, by his or her efforts alone, but by seeing himself or herself as part of a true communion which is constantly open to encounter, dialogue, attentive listening and mutual assistance. Such a communion inoculates us from the disease of self-absorption".
Pope Francis at the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life - 2014
At the Generalate in Rome we are three international Congregations sharing life together – Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and Missionary Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception.
Coming together to celebrate the Eucharist, for meals, liturgical services during Lent and Advent and on special occasions, , including Christmas and Easter celebrations -just to name a few- have always been joyful moments and have heightened the bonds of communion, of “inter-congregationality”.
During our recent Christmas celebration we truly felt as one community testifying courageously to a growing communion. The Christmas gift from the RGS community to the Congregations was a single photo of all our Founder/Foundresses which was beautifully prepared by Monique Tarabeh. There was a unanimous feeling of oneness as a community… although in reality we are three Congregations we live and share life as one community with appreciation for the diversity and the opportunity to learn from one another. And so it came to be – to call our community SHALOM- a name which for us connotes an ever-growing mutual experience of “openness to encounter, dialogue, …listening, … and assistance…”.