“Embracing vulnerability on the Synodal journey”

International Union of Superiors General, 22nd Plenary Assembly

Today, Friday, April 29, 2022, took place the presentation of the XXII Plenary Assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG),  which will be held onsite and online, at the Press Room of the Holy See. , from May 2 to 6, 2022.

“Embrace Vulnerability on the Synodal Path” 

Speakers: Sister Jolanta Kafka, President of the UISG); Sister Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary of the UISG; Sister. Mary Kudiyiruppil, UISG Deputy Executive Secretary, and Sister Franca Zonta, Superior General of the Marianist Sisters.

Read Sister Mary Kudiyiruppil intervention:

I would like to explain a bit more the theme of vulnerability which will accompany the Plenary participants the first two days. Vulnerability is a common human predicament which calls for compassion, solidarity and support. Usually, people like to hide their vulnerability, put up a brave front and try to give the impression that everything is under control. This is because being vulnerable can be embarrassing, and seemingly a sign of weakness. We are barely out of the Covid-19 Pandemic and are still in the midst of a war – both these realities have laid bare the façades that everything is under control.

For religious congregations, it is even more difficult to appear vulnerable because of the assumptions on which consecrated life is built such as faith in God, prayer, assurance of being called and sent by God and the Church. For centuries Congregations of women religious have been bastions of strength and have enjoyed considerable influence.

Today, religious Congregations are experiencing vulnerability from several quarters. We experience vulnerability in numerical strength. For many Congregations, a decline in numbers is making them vulnerable. We experience vulnerability from the inner structure of religious life itself, exposed as we are, to questions, challenges and attacks. We are being asked tacitly or aloud, about our professedly coherent positions and values, and the inconsistencies in practice. We experience vulnerability from within our own members in the communities who are looking for change and relevance.

It is important to note that the plenary theme says “embracing” vulnerability which is different from merely tolerating or enduring. “Embracing” happens when there is warmth and closeness in a relationship and a good rapport. It is about recognizing, owning, befriending and being at ease with being vulnerable. And in this honest encounter, there is power, healing and hope. Embracing vulnerability is embracing the Cross in the hope of the resurrection. The goal of the UISG Plenary is not just to lament our vulnerability, but to see how we, as religious women, who are still a formidable force in the Church and society, can keep alive the flame of hope through our presence and mission in the world.

As congregational leaders we are aware of our role of animating and fostering this dimension.

See the complete video below: