Mission, Charism and Catholic Identity

As we look forward to transitions in our institutional ministries, we often turn to conversations about the importance of Mission, Catholic Identity and Charism in the history and service of our institutional presence in the community. But what are the core elements of this Catholic Identity, and where might we find guidance for it? For generations, our religious institutes have served generously, and the charism, identity and mission flowed through our veins and inhabited every aspect of our service in our ministries of healthcare, education, social and pastoral service. As our personal presence as sisters and brothers becomes more limited in these ministries, we seek to ensure that our legacy continues. 

Our ministries are rooted in the Gospel and in Jesus own life of service, teaching, healing, governing and sanctifying. Jesus sends all Christians into the Church and the world to lead lives of service, patterned after his own ministry. As religious institutes, we have been privileged to do this in an institutional way. In the US, religious institutes were the catalysts in the establishment of expansive networks of Catholic healthcare, education, and social services and spirituality centers. This was done through the hard work and dedication of religious, along with lay colleagues. 

We seek to ensure the ongoing viability of Mission and Catholic Identity we seek

  • A critical mass of individuals deeply committed to Jesus Christ and to Gospel values, who form vital communities of faith, prayer, and service.
  • A commitment to imbue every phase of the ministry with the leaven of the Gospel.
  • A commitment to serve as Jesus did, teaching, healing, guiding and sanctifying.
  • A commitment to maintain the bonds of communion within the Church and to reach out in respect to the broader community.

These elements strengthen the vitality of Mission, Charism and Catholic Identity when they are present in the ministry's core documents, in its governance, in its programs and physical plant, and most especially in the lived experience of all those who server and are served at the ministry. 

For more information on this topic, consider registering for August's webcast exploring these issues in further detail. Register here.

New Book

See I Am Making Something New A Pastoral-Canonical Guidebook to New Religious Institutes, Diocesan Hermits and Consecrated Virgins and New Forms of Consecrated Life

See I Am Making Something New... explores the various ways in which the Life of the Spirit is stirring anew in the Church today in new religious institutes and societies, in diocesan hermits and consecrated virgins, in the new forms of consecrated life, and in the ecclesial movements that bring life and vitality to the Church today, and in fact, may also give rise to new institutes. The book is a guide for those discerning their vocation and their spiritual directors and a pastoral manual for diocesan personnel.
$20.00 USD Order online

Cor Orans - Webcast

"Cor Orans" (“Praying Heart”) is the title of a new document that provides instructions on how to apply Pope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Constitution – “Vultum Dei Quaerere” (“Seek the Face of God”) addressed to Catholic women religious in contemplative communities. In September, I will team up with Sister Nancy Bauer OSB to offer a webcast discussing this new instruction.  Register here.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance to your community.

Amy Hereford

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