Sr. Marie Jöelle Bec, Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, has just published Circular #25 dated for December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Circular is based on a well known Marianist theme,
“As Fr. Chaminade invited others to know, love and serve Mary, I would add that we are invited to know, love and serve the Congregation.”
To KNOW the Congregation, Sr. Marie Jöelle encourages the Sisters to immerse themselves in Marianist history, documents, and traditions. Thanks to the generosity of translators, many are now available in local languages. It is also important to know the history of the local Congregation. And, of course, the Sisters must know each other- locally and globally. International exchanges of Sisters for study and mission work offer opportunities for deeper understanding of cultures and languages.
There is an organic progression to the next step, to LOVE the Congregation,
“The more we interest ourselves in what the Congregation is living, the more we will love it and see to it that it be as alive as possible, and that it will accomplish its mission which the Church has recognized in the best way possible.”
The Sisters are encouraged to “contemplate Mary and learn from her to love. Better yet, let us receive from her love for Christ and for humanity.”
Ernest Kasongo, MLC, Christiane Barbeaux, AM, Marie Joelle Bec, FMI, André Fétis, SM
To SERVE the Congregation is putting knowing and loving into action. We all have the human tendencies to sometimes under-value our own work, while envying the work of others. We are sometimes critical of others, thinking we could do better if we had the opportunity. Sr. Marie Jöelle describes two aspects to serving,
“On the one hand, we belong to the Congregation, and on the other hand, we own the Congregation…I also have the duty to contribute all that I am to the growth of the Congregation.”
The Circular concludes with a reflection from the FMI Chapter of 2007,
“The Chapter recommends to the Provinces, Region, Unit and communities that we develop solidarity and favor means that will help us feel this sense of unity: gatherings, exchanges of Sisters and experiences of service, news, events, publications, the learning of languages, the internet.” (#25) We have opened a path in this direction, so let us not stop in the middle of the path. In an ever more globalized world, let us remember that “our belonging to an international Congregation calls us to witness that it is possible to be a single family reaching across countries and cultures.” (2007 Chapter Document, #26)
It is easy to take the paradigm of “know, love and serve” and ponder how it relates to our reality as lay Marianists. This is good to do . Yet, it’s important to read this Circular (and all Circulars and documents from the Society of Mary and Alliance Mariale) with the desire to better know our Sisters and Brothers within the Marianist Family. As Sr. Marie Jöelle so wisely says, it is by knowing that we grow in love. And the love will impel us forward to serve together as a Family, acknowledging the uniqueness of each branch and using the gifts of all.
As we celebrate the Feast of her Immaculate Conception, may Mary continue to guide us all in her mission.