The Plenary Assembly for General Superiors takes place every three years in Rome. “Weaving Global Solidarity for Life” was the theme of the XX Plenary Assembly, at which 860 Superiors General of women congregations of Apostolic Life, assembled in Rome from May 9 -13, 2016.
The Sisters gathered together from 80 different countries. Some were from countries, which are well known areas of conflict and war where people endure suffering and deprivation on a daily basis. Others came from countries where to be Catholic is seen by some as a threat and a reason for their persecution.
This Plenary Assembly was an important ecclesial event for women in religious life. Collaboration, co-responsibility and solidarity among these Congregations seems to be the most prophetical answer, to meet the global challenges in terms of the Gospel.
Sr. Carmen Sammut, msola, the UISG President said, “Our first aim is … getting to know from the inside the contexts and situations we are living in all the corners of the world”. The speakers helped us to reflect on what apostolic communities live worldwide, many of them in geographical and existential peripheries, and especially to see how together they can be more effective in their actions. They deliberated on what it means to be a religious today, living and acting in the manner of Jesus. Listening to each other, the Superiors General decided on some orientations and actions in favor of the life of our planet, of marginalized people, and for a more concerted and inter-congregational commitment as Religious.
This was also an occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UISG, which took place on the 8th of December 2015, remembering with gratitude all those who since the II Vatican Council have brought it to its mature existence today.
A strengthening experience was the private Audience with Pope Francis in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican, where he gave much of his time to answer the questions of the Superiors General, prepared by the UISG Assembly. He highly appreciated the service of women religious in the Church and placed importance on not leaving out any of their questions.
The Plenary Assembly concluded on May 13 with the Celebration of the Eucharist, presided over by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The UISG Plenary Assembly supported and encouraged the Superiors of Women Religious to continue to be a prophetic voice and witness in the Church and in the world and to strengthen inter- congregational action.
Our Superior General, Sr. Izabela Świerad, as a member of the UISG Board since 2013, was one of those engaged in this successful event, from the very beginning. The UISG team members had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis personally and to express their gratitude. Sister asked him for prayers and his blessing for our coming General Chapter.
Among the twelve translators from all over the world, Sr. Marta Siłuch of the Polish Province was one of those who served as a translator from the Italian to the Polish language.