In March 2019 the Constitutional Review Process began a work of great significance for the entire Congregation during this six-year term. The purpose of the process is to revisit our “Book of Life.”
PROCESS, OBJECTIVE, AND SCHEDULE
The 21st General Chapter, held in Rome in June 2018, resolved to implement the Constitutional review process, taking into account the “proposal” presented to the Chapter that includes the work undertaken by all the sisters of the Congregation.
We will recall and examine the Constitutions of 1882. These were written by Father Menni in an attempt to capture the experience of the sisters in the early years. The Constitutions are “books of life” because they depict the action of God in the Founders, revealed as the path of sanctity, or of configuration with Christ in living with Him, among us and for those who suffer.
If we retrace the milestones of the Constitutions we see that they progress in response to the needs of the Congregation’s life and mission, to the calling of the Church, and to the demands of socio-cultural shifts.
The Constitutions of 1983 include doctrinal content and the tradition of the Congregation in response to the Church’s mandate under the Second Vatican Council. They were updated based on the decree of Perfectae Caritatis, n. 2 and Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae, and approved on 10 June 1983.
Urged by a desire to respond with creative fidelity to the practice of hospitality, having witnessed the socio-cultural changes, the development of theology and human sciences, and the deepening systemisation of our heritage, as well as the demands of organising and managing apostolic work, we intend to review the current Constitutions and subsequently do so with the governing board in the second half of the six-year term.
We will apply a methodology that will help us revitalise our identity as consecrated Hospitallers exploring the origins of our calling and mission, contemplating the charismatic and spiritual experience of our Founders and re-interpreting our personal and communal life in light of this history of mercy and compassion.
This is the first stage of work. The second will introduce contributions from communities, assessed by experts, to the draft Constitutions to be studied and approved at the special Chapter.
The Committee created to facilitate this process has developed a methodology and a work schedule in the form of a spiritual path presented to all communities as a way to help reach the intended objective.
The text of the Constitutions is presented in 12 subjects, one of which will be studied every month. Each subject will include the numbers that refer to it, even if they appear in different sections of the Constitutions. The Fundamental Constitution will be reformulated at the end of the schedule. Each reflection dossier is organised into four steps; each occupies one week and includes personal work and communal sharing:
- Illumination: Reflection on the topic, from the Word of God, the ecclesiastical magisterium, and our spiritual heritage, helping to deepen the transcendent knowledge of our identity as consecrated Hospitallers; we propose a period of communal prayer on the subject.
- Review: Confronting life itself and the community from the perspective of prayer, in light of prior reflections, and shared as a community.
- Contribution: Suggestions to enrich, expand, and clarify the text of the Constitutions, a written summary of which will be sent to the Provincial Superior the following week.
- Observance: Time of prayer and celebration to conclude the analysis of each dossier.