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“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;
be it unto me according to your word” (1:38).

A Word from The Superior General, Mother Theresia Buretta, CDNK

The invitation of Jesus to those who asked Him where He stayed was “Come and see” (Jn 1:39). This has become the golden rule in all religious congregations. We believe that God calls a Christian to a special way of following Christ. He does not use force (St John Paul II VC 64b). He only invites. He respects the freedom of the person (Mk 10: 21).

In summoning disciples to share fellowship and mission in His company, Jesus invited them to come and see. Those who feel called must be formed in such a way that they become convinced of the fact that "we have to find salvation within the world as it exists" (extra mundum nulla salus) but that we also have to die to the world as Jesus did.

Theologically speaking, “the evangelical counsels are first of all a gift of the Most Holy Trinity”. Vita Consecrata takes up this point and develops it further in order to emphasise the central role played by God himself who wishes to have more labourers in His vineyard.

The religious, in as much as possible, tries to imitate Christ who surrendered Himself to the Father to the point of saying that “my food is to do the will of my Father”. Through consecration the religious becomes a “new creature” by fully entering into the mystery of Christ whereby she tries to “self-empty” herself, that is, she embarks upon a kenotic experience hoping that by this self-emptying Christ will fill her and then make her His instrument to transform the world and to incarnate the Gospel values in a constantly changing world (Phil 2:7).

I would like to recommend to those in charge of formation that they should accompany the candidates in their spiritual, pedagogical, and psychological formation, because this helps in the integral maturation of the person and offers skills for dealing with particular situations and problems. The formators must know how to teach discernment, docility and obedience, they must read the signs of the times and people’s needs, and teach their charges to respond to those needs with solicitude and courage, in full ecclesial communion.

We, the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Kilimanjaro, need to have the ways and means which will enable us to impart a serious and solid preparation to our sisters, culminating in a generous and total dedication to the service of their brothers and sisters in the present world, always following the example of their Lord and Master.

I have dedicated myself to the study of one of the documents of the teaching Magisterium of the Church, namely the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, in order to show how it can be put into practice in a given socio-cultural context, namely, the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Kilimanjaro.

The challenge placed before us is a life-long challenge. The wish, however, to give our candidates an up-to-date formation in the spirit of aggiornamento while preparing them to serve their brothers and sisters is more urgent now than ever before. We cannot run away from it or offer a fuga mundi (“run away from the world”) type of spirituality to our sisters. We have got to courageously face reality as it presents itself. With the help of His grace we will emerge victorious.

Having chosen Our Lady as the Patron of our Congregation, it is our duty to imitate her virtues and her life. For a religious, the secret of her fidelity to her vocation is to be found in filial devotion to Our Lady, and this applies to all its aspects, theological, Christological and apostolic.

Oh Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us!

Pope Francis urges, “Consecrated Life is the ‘gospel’ for today’s world. “Everything we do is at the service of the Gospel, and you, in particular, serve that ‘gospel’ which is consecrated life, so that it may be the gospel for the world today” (Robin Gomes). Therefore, the identity of the consecrated person, beginning with his or her complete self-offering, as being comparable to a genuine oblation together with the true sacrifice of Jesus.

Mother Theresia Buretta, CDNK, November 12, 2014.