Calls to Action: International Formation Team

Calls to Action: International Formation Team

Calls to Action: International Formation Team

Calls to Action: International Formation Team

Calls to Action: International Formation Team

Calls to Action: International Formation Team

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By Srs Yolanda Sanchez and Josita Corera, IFT Congregational Councilors

It is indeed fortunate that the Communications Office has dedicated the theme of this month’s newsletter to the Call to Action on an International Formation Team. Pope Francis in the prayer intention for the month of May: prays for men and women in formation. He recalls that “every vocation is a ‘diamond in the rough’ that needs to be polished, worked, shaped on every side”. He says this needs to be done “in direct contact with the lives of other people. This is essential”.

Isn’t this what the Congregation too is calling forth – formation that is experiential, where we are being transformed by those made poor.

The Call to Action to envision formation of sisters for religious life, both initial and continuous, and formation for Mission Partners, both sisters and lay, for Mission effectiveness, is a deep cry that we have been hearing in every Chapter – the call is for formation for all involved in mission, formation that is transformative.

In New Wine in New Wineskins Pope Francis challenged congregations that, “despite all of the effort and hard work put into formation, it does not seem to reach and truly transform the heart of people.”

Again, he says: “The modern evolution of society and cultures, which are undergoing rapid and extensive unexpected and chaotic changes, has also exposed consecrated life to the continual challenges of adjusting.”

Reflecting on these experiences as well as our Calls to Action we are called to wonder: what our world is asking of us now? How are we responding? Are we answering the present questions with responses of the past?

In light of the dramatic changes that are taking place all around us as a global community and at this time for us as a Congregation there is a pressing call to re-envision the Congregation’s approach to formation, making it a truly transformative process. During the 31st Congregational Chapter, we committed to ‘Radical Transformation’, transformation that will enable us to co-create a universal culture of justice, where everyone is included, and we live from a space of equity, sharing of resources, co-responsibility, and greater collaboration and networking for the sake of the mission.

Belonging to a global Congregation we see the importance of having a standardized approach to formation for mission effectiveness that prepares us to respond to our global mission, while honoring the particular local reality and culture.

As a Congregation we are rich in resources – there is abundance among us, and it would be important that we tap into these resources and move forward together.

The work of the International Formation Team as it promotes formation around the Congregation is to invite everyone to a personal and collective commitment to transformation. To provide space and opportunities to ignite the flame of mission that is already burning within us.

Formation is the enabler for mission – because it constantly calls us on a journey of inner and outer transformation that enables us to risk for mission, to be in solidarity with those living at the margins. It is like a thread that runs through all the other Calls to Action – Partners-in-Mission, New Governance Structure, Universal Culture of Justice, Congregational Strategic Plan, and Finance Resources.

Our hope is that through the work of the International Formation Team, we could initiate processes that enable systemic change in the Congregation, as we allow ourselves to be ‘Drawn by love, passionate for justice’.

This calls for a shift in consciousness. Personal and communal commitment to formation enables this shift to take place – to live from an attitude of abundance that creates within and among us a universal culture of justice.

May we allow our collective wisdom to discern what is best to make formation effective and relevant for today as we give the best of ourselves.

What do we need to let go of and what do we need to allow to emerge in order to make formation a transformative experience for each one of us – personally, communally, and for mission?

Could we consider formation as a catalyst within the Congregation, driving forward all the processes of the Calls to Action in an integrated way?

Let us, together, search for responses to the challenges and questions that are surfacing, moving toward the future with courage and hope!

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