Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Jean Anne Moser and Sister Mariella Erdmann reflect on the 2018 Institute of Religious Life (IRL) National Meeting at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois held April 6-8.
The theme was Religious Life . . . Ever Ancient, Ever Beautiful. The days were filled with inspirational speakers, great sharing among other religious and those discerning a vocation to religious life as well as faith-filled liturgies. The meeting helped us to return home with renewed joy and dedication to carry on the mission given by Christ.
The two Keynote Speakers, Rt. Rev. Austin Murphy, O.S.B. and Father Cassian Folsm, O.S.B. were especially good in showing how there is a need for structure in religious life. This structure that does not go against the free spirit but rather allows for much expression of a spirituality that can become truly counter-culture and once again show that we have a God that is worth living and dying for. The life of common prayer, meals, recreation, and work fosters personal growth in Jesus Christ and leads to personal conversion. We need to return to the spirit of the founder. We do not need more documents from the Church. Perfectae Caritatis is a key source for the renewal of Religious Life. What we need is the personal conversion of each member in our Community. Without a radical return to the sources we cannot survive.
The above are only a few ideas from the talks. There were, also, workshop sessions with inspiring speakers on topics of Evangelization, Discerning, Religious Life, Asceticism and Beauty, God is not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture to mention a few.