The international meeting of Pallottine Sisters – Sisters and Missionary Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate – took place 3-8 July 2023 at our Generalate in Rome as part of the discernment process towards unity and collaboration of the two Congregations. Representatives of both Congregations from Italy, Brazil, Tanzania, Rwanda, DR Congo, South Africa, the USA, Cameroon, Poland and India, the Superiors General Sr. Josephina and Sr. Ivete and the General Councillors gathered to know each other, to reflect on our spiritual inheritance and to explore places connected with St. Vincent’s life and ministry.
The meeting aimed to integrate and build our relationships as daughters of the same founder. Walking and working in groups allowed personal encounters, learning each other’s names and stories and sharing experiences. The most joyful moment of unity in diversity was the intercultural evening full of singing, dancing, laughter and delicious snacks from all around the world.
Sisters reflected on our Pallottine inheritance from the perspective of the two Congregations’ history, which raised desires for further explanations to better understand the course of events that led to the development of the two Congregations. The inspiring talk by Fr. Daniel Rocchetti SAC made the Sisters ponder on religious womanly vocation, empowered with strength able to influence the history of all humanity. Referring to the example of St. V. Pallotti and the faith courage of some religious, the crucial question arose in the discussion: “How did we Pallottines become so small and what can we do to grow again in fruitfulness and in spiritual fertility?”
Both the Missionary Sisters and the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate searched for answers in the following days, making pilgrimages to St. Francis and Claire in Asisi and visiting the Church of Santissimo Salvatore in Onda with the tomb of our beloved Founder. Fr Kupka shared his incredible knowledge of Pallotti’s writings, and especially the letters sent to him, and took us to his room and museum. That day all could feel the presence and assistance of St. Vincent Pallotti. The spiritual longing for holiness, unity and following in Pallotti’s charism was expressed and offered in the Eucharist. During lunch, thanks to the great hospitality of the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers, we saw the abundance and diversity of the Pallottine family. The completion of that experience was the visit to the Pia Casa di Carità and the welcoming openness of the Sisters living there. Rector General Fr. Zenon Hanas, who celebrated Mass that day, called on all Pallottine family members to be “durable and flexible wineskins” able to preserve patient, forgiving and invincible love to heal wounds and restore dignity.
As a treasury and inspiration all participants in the meeting took on the task of discernment, which according to Fr. Daniel is to recognise where grace and temptation are at work and to make courageous choices, both in our community and personal lives. Authenticity, honesty, generosity and humility are needed to hear and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit. As all the Sisters assured, they will carry that message and testimony to all the members of their Provinces and communities.
Sr. Danuta Przybyłek, SAC
Photos: Sr. Adelheid Scheloske, SAC