Experience of God, Charism, Reality…

9th October 2014, Rome


As we continued to journey together Teresa de Jesús Plaza RJM presented the four core values of Formation to us: Experience of God and Charism, Growth of the Human Person, Reality of the World and Ignatian Spirituality, as a process of personal integration which leads to a commitment to Jesus and His mission in the world.

On the evening of the 5th of October, the evening of the 196th Anniversary of our Foundation, we prayed in a special way with Claudine, entering into her feelings and her dark night, and becoming aware of God at work in the midst of poverty, fragility and weakness.  The gift of the call and Claudine’s response invite us to respond, as one body, to the needs of our time with creative fidelity and with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, the light of the world.  Our Indian sisters, through the symbol of the light, drew us to a sense of simple gratitude for all of this.


Rosemary Mangan RJMAre we aware of God’s love for us?  With this question our sister Rosemary Mangan RJM, invited us to remove our sandals and enter our own holy ground to discover the active goodness of God at work there.  This is an experience that takes flesh in the realities of our world that invite us to give generously of ourselves and to acknowledge our own weakness, thus abandoning ourselves into God’s loving arms.

She introduced us to various tools available to us that draw us towards this experience of God: accompaniment built on honesty and transparency, guidelines for the Ignatian Examen, silence and monotony, apostolic experiences and reflection on them, reading, meditation, prayer and contemplating the Word of God.

ClaudinaThe charism, as a gift of the Spirit, is brought to life in each of the Religious of Jesus and Mary and in those who, in one way or another, share our apostolic mission.  We see the face of Claudine reflected in the different faces of the Congregation all across the globe.  It is a charism that, from its very roots, calls us to live out forgiveness and God’s love in the midst of the realities of the world so that we too, like Claudine, can say: “How good God is!”

The discussion around a number of case studies enabled us to understand this even more and to continue sharing experiences and difficulties.

ConstitucionesWhile we worked on this core value we also got the opportunity to visit the Archive.  There, Maria Luisa de Anda RJM, brought us back to the very origins of the Congregation as she showed us Books of Minutes, handwritten letters and old photographs.  We were all touched to feel a part of Jesus and Mary and sensed too the importance of knowing our history by accessing these primary sources.


Audiencia con el PapaOn Wednesday 8th October we were present at the General Audience with Pope Francis.  We were lucky to get good seats and to be able to see him so close.  His invitation on that day was profound and clear: “Divisions among Christians, while they wound the Church, wound Christ; and divided, we cause a wound to Christ: the Church is indeed the body of which Christ is the Head. We know well how much Jesus had at heart that his disciples should remain united in his love…”.  Such words remind us once again of the importance of being one apostolic body.


Another of the four core values presented in the Book of Formation is the Reality of the World.  It aims to awaken in us the desire and capacity to be in touch with the reality of today’s world; to see this reality clearly, attentively, and critically; to feel compassion for those who do not know Him, and for those who are suffering, and to respond with generosity, forgiving love, and commitment to foster justice in whichever social milieu one lives and carries out her mission.  (RJM Book of Formation, 2013).

collage formadorasEach one of us find ourselves in a reality that challenges us and calls us to build the Kingdom.  Therefore we began with a prayerful, contemplative look at our world with all its pain and joy, all its wonder and woundedness.  Important questions emerged from our prayer as well as the great challenge of forming women capable of responding with creative fidelity to the miseries of our time.

Our reflection was further enriched by two documents: Pope Francis’ “Evangelii Gaudium” (in particular articles 52-75) and the Global Apostolic Plan Commission’s “An approach to a contemplation of today’s world”.  We also took into consideration the guidelines given in the Book of Formation for this core value in each of the stages of formation.  In our sharing together we voiced our uncertainties, our concerns, our desires and our searching, which are all fuelled by a longing to “carry out redemption” with the Trinity.

May we, like Claudine and her first companions, respond with faith and courage to the realities of our time.

PP Maria English