Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity participated in the National Formation Conference Congress held recently in Milwaukee, WI. Sister Theresa Feldkamp, Sister Mariadele Jacobs, Sister Mariella Erdmann and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan heard speakers address the theme: Grace in the Now, The Gospel of Encounter.
Sister Teresa Maya, CCVI deliverd Encuentro: A Call for Our Time. This keynote explored Encuentro as the call which holds the promise for the future of our life form in the Church and our world. To answer this call, religious communities need to address the issues that emerge when we encounter the “other”, the unnamed “isms” which distance us from the places of Encuentro. Holding the tension of Encuentro will open the possibility for Pope Francis’ hope of a reconciled diversity that will “Wake up the World”.
Building on Pope Francis’s understanding of religious life as prophetic and on his hallmark phrase, “culture of encounter,” Stephen B. Bevans, SVD reflected on the various ways that today’s religious need to be formed-initially and continually-to be “prophets of encounter.”
Becoming a “prophet of encounter” begins with encountering ourselves in wonder, humility, and possibility. It grows as we encounter both the world’s beauty and cruelty. It is rooted in the realization that, before we encounter God, God encounters us. It matures as we encounter others “as Jesus did, not just seeing but looking, not just hearing but listening, not just passing by, but stopping with them” (Francis, Sept 23, 2016). Prophets of encounter eschew the “culture of indifference” so prevalent in the world today and seek to witness clearly to the gospel, offer a word of hope in our difficult times, and never hesitate to confront oppression and injustice.