cTc N. 63

June 2024

13 June 2024

This issue of Communion and Communication gathers, according to the plan drawn up to celebrate the 800 years of the “words with melody” that Francis addressed to the Poor Ladies of San Damiano, testimonies and reflections inspired by verses 2 of the exhortation: Live always in truth / that you may die in obedience (cf. cTc 60, p. 68).

Br. Fábio Gomes, OFM, our General Delegate, introduces us to welcome Francis’ proposal by putting into dialogue living ‘in truth’ and living ‘in obedience’ as methods that must “pass through and shine through in everything the Poor Sisters (Poverelle) live and they do (p. 8).” And this, not in a hypothetical reality, but in this today which is characterized for us sisters by the VIII centenary of the Stigmata of our Father St. Francis and by the process of revising the General Constitutions, which has reached its third phase and which the Cardinal Prefect of the Dicastery invites us to continue “in order to discern the Lord’s will and be able to implement it in a spirit of collaboration.”

We are then led on a journey across the four continents, stopping by sisters who, in culturally different contexts, but spiritually not so distant, justify the observation by Br. Carlo Paolazzi: “An adverb is enough for Francis, «live always in truth», to remind the ‘poor ladies’ gathered in San Damiano that the gift of their life of poverty, charity, and obedience in the Spirit must be welcomed and lived in the dimension of daily life and perseverance, so that sister bodily death may find the «daughters and handmaids of the most high King, the heavenly Father» industrious and vigilant in carrying out their Lord’s most holy will (cTc 61, p. 37).”

With the sisters of Nantes we reflect on the challenge that living in truth, unity, poverty, and praise constitutes in the current context, which is strongly marked by lies, individualism, consumerism, hyper-speed.

The implantatio of the Clarian life form in Bomadi, Nigeria, and the end of its presence in Arizkun, Spain, are very different situations certainly; however, they respond to the same need to 'live in the truth': not a subjective truth, but the truth of the Gospel, our only ‘rule.’

The sisters in Cincinnati, USA, and in Cantalapiedra, Spain, tell us how this is possible: only through a constant attitude of discernment, of listening to the Spirit of the Lord in order to perceive where and how He is already operating, and where and how he calls us to assent to his work.

“Listening” is the keyword that opens Francis' exhortation and remains the keyword for us: listening to every voice - and the sisters in Aitape, Papua New Guinea, tell us from experience; listening to history and what ferments in it like a grain of wheat in the earth - the sisters in Brno, Czech Republic, know this well, as protagonist witnesses to a great transition of era in Europe.

In a few words, almost with brush strokes, Sr. Mary Andrew of Mbarara, Uganda captures the profound meaning of all of this.

To Live in the truth, adhering to the Word of the Lord until the end, until the definitive Easter: let us remember Br. Enrique Gonzales Arango, OFM, General Delegate during the first years of the millennium, who recently preceded us to the Father’s House, and Sr. Bernardette Cotter, OSC, President of the Federation of our sisters in Ireland and Scotland, who was visited by Sister Bodily Death during the time of her maternal service.

Our gratitude goes to each sister and brother who contributed to the creation of this issue.

To all of you who are reading this, I invite you to compose the next issue together around the next verse of Audite Poverelle: «Do not look at the life outside / for that of the Spirit is better. / I beg you through great love / to use with discretion / the alms which the Lord gives you» (vv. 3-4).

Happy reading!

The editorial team

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