Rome (Italy). On 26 November 2023, in Rome at the Aula Magna of the Pontifical Faculty of the Science of Education «Auxilium», the Superior General Emeritus of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Yvonne Reungoat, shared with women and men religious “Perspectives for Consecrated Life starting from the Synod of Bishops”.

Madre Yvonne was among the Experts and Facilitators who took part in the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”, held in the Vatican, in Paul VI Hall, from 4 to 29 October 2023.

The meeting was opened by the Superior of the Preprovince Mary Mother of the Church (RMC), Sister Jessica Salvaña, who greeted the religious of different Congregations present, including the Superior of Mary See of Wisdom Preprovince of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Fr. Josè Anibal Milhais Mendonça Pinto, SDB. She said,

“Our being together today is already a visible sign, that is, an experience of synodality within consecrated life. (…) Meeting here from various Congregations means above all witnessing to the communion between the different charisms and the beauty of the different forms of consecrated life. (…) Today, more than ever, synergy, inclusion, and integration are required, with particular attention to ensure that synodality is not just a “fashionable” word. The style of our working together can make us walk together even more quickly, on the path of a true and fruitful synodality.”

Sister Grazia Loparco FMA, Professor of Church History of the Auxilium Faculty, then introduced the theme asking some specific questions of Mother Yvonne about the experience of the Synod and consecrated life for the edification of the whole Church, to the presence of women, the convictions concerning consecrated life that emerged in the proposals, and the questions still open.

With joy and enthusiasm, Mother Yvonne Reungoat shared the “still recent” experience, situating the first session in relation to the previous stages of this “journey of conversion”. The reflection of this session, which precedes the one that will take place in October 2024, is not finished, but is a reflection still “in progress”, she specified. “Only at the end of the 2nd session will the fruits of reflection be consigned to Pope Francis.”

Mother Yvonne also expressed her trepidation and fears before the start of the work soon vanished, as she immediately understood “that it was a great grace, because it was a huge experience of the universal Church, ‘the world in a hall’, in the Paul VI Hall equipped with round tables, with participants from all cultures and languages. Being in this environment to share the same research, listening to and with availability to the Holy Spirit, listening to each other is an experience that you cannot translate into words. All participants, however, really experienced synodality and I think that no one left the same as they had arrived. This is a hope.”

Another element highlighted was the atmosphere of great fraternity and cordiality, openness and sensitivity to the different realities in which the sharing took place, keeping in mind that the Synod took place at a time when conflict broke out in the Holy Land and with the war in Ukraine and in other Countries from which some participants came, with whom great solidarity was lived.

“The complementarity and a certain reciprocity among all participants were a great enrichment. Listening to and respecting diversity marked the Synod’s discernment. Freedom of expression was total in the groups and in the general assembly. The acceptance of cultural, social, and ecclesial diversity often opened new horizons and helped to broaden our gaze,” Mother Yvonne also stressed.

She then spoke of the contribution of consecrated life: “I think that consecrated life is particularly committed to the missionary life of the Church because it is our vocation. And the Church is synodal because she is missionary. I believe that the presence of consecrated life has made a specific and strong contribution in this regard, starting from its vocation and life experience. Consecrated life is present in the most marginalized places, those most at risk in the world, where others do not arrive, to be a concrete sign of the Lord’s Love. (…) I think that consecrated life had an influence in the Synod by stressing the importance of making the poor protagonists in the life of the Church.”

And of the presence of women: “The importance of women in the Church has also been recognized, also because they constitute the majority and because they are the first missionaries in the family. Some convergences have been reached on the need to promote a Church in which men and women dialogue in order to better understand the depth of God’s plan, in which they appear together as protagonists, without insubordination, exclusions or competitions.” Taking up the Final Report, she reminded that “there is still a long journey to make to change mentalities.”

Mother Yvonne vividly recounted what she felt and grasped “from within” and encouraged reading the final Synthesis Report in its entirety, focusing on the points of convergence, divergence, open questions, and proposals made.

After some questions, Sister Piera Ruffinatto, Dean of the Faculty, thanked Mother Yvonne Reungoat for the afternoon which she saw as a fruitful step in the sharing of charisms, gifts, and mutual collaboration.

After some questions, Sister Piera Ruffinatto, Dean of the Faculty, thanked Mother Yvonne Reungoat for the afternoon which she saw as a fruitful step in the sharing of charisms, gifts, and mutual collaboration.



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