Sisters participate in World day of Consecrated Life 2024

July 5, 2024

On Saturday February 3, 2024, Sr Laure and Sr Mary Thomas had the privilege of participating in the “Path of Peace” pilgrimage in Rome organized by the Salesians, as part of a 3 day symposium on Consecrated Life. These three days were an initiative by the Dicastery for Consecrated Life to prepare for the 2025 Jubilee Year.

We were asked by the Salesians to be translators and guides of one of the “English speaking” groups for this one-day walking pilgrimage to various Basilicas and religious sites in Rome.

There were about 20 religious in our group from practically 20 different English-speaking countries, including Fiji Islands, Malta, Kumbo, Cameroun, Uganda, Australia, Hong Kong and the US! The Sister from Kumbo, Cameroun knew our Sisters there, and the priest from Uganda had often gone on retreat to our Sisters’ convent in Dordrecht, Netherlands when he was studying there. So it was moving to see up close the universality of the Church yet the close connections that unite us.

At each stage of the pilgrimage, the organizers had provided interesting artistic and historical information, and for many of the religious, this was their first time discovering the spiritual and historical richness of the Church in Rome. At each stage, one of the religious would also share a reflection on their missionary experiences or the discovery of their vocation.

The day began with Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart with Cardinal Braz de Avis, Prefect of the Dicastery of Consecrated Life.

One of the stops on our pilgrimage was a little church near the San Sebastian Catacombs known as Quo Vadis, which is built on the spot where Peter met Christ as he attempted to flee from Rome. Peter asked Jesus, “Where are you going?” and Christ answered him, “To Rome, to be crucified again.” Peter then had the courage and light to turn around and head back to Rome where he knew he would face his own martyrdom.

Young people discerning their vocation come on pilgrimage to this church, to ask for the grace of knowing the Lord’s will and having the courage to carry it out. The church is on the corner of the intersection of three roads, which is symbolic of the important moment in a young person’s life when they must make a choice. This choice implies choosing one path, while renouncing another. But this choice to renounce one path in order to follow another is driven by love, by love of a person, by love of Christ. A vocation means choosing to follow Christ who has loved us first and has shown us this love in a personal way.

In the words of St John Paul II:

“Ask yourselves, young people, about the love of Christ. Acknowledge His voice resounding in the temple of your heart. Return His bright and penetrating glance which opens the paths of your life to the horizons of the Church’s mission. It is a taxing mission, today more than ever, to teach men the truth about themselves, about their end, their destiny, and to show faithful souls the unspeakable riches of the love of Christ. Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much of you, it is because He knows you can give much.”

― Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła), The Meaning of Vocation

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