Introduction, Sr. Diana

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Rooted in Christ, let us walk in Hope. This is the theme of the PGC 2009.

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Ouverture du CGP, Sr Diana

"At a time of world food shortage, of financial turmoil, of old and new forms of poverty, of disturbing
climate change, of violence and deprivation which force many to leave their homelands in search of a less
precarious form of existence, of the every-present threat of terrorism, of growing fears over the future, it is
urgent to rediscover grounds for hope.

Pope Benedict XVI

Walter Brueggermann [1] ended a conference on Effective Liturgy with an application of the Exodus story
to our times. He says :
So pharaonic oppression, deliverance, Sinai, and Canaan are still with us, powerful memories shaping our
perceptions of the political world. We still believe, or many of us do, what the exodus first taught, or what
it has commonly been taken to teach, about the meaning and possibility of politics and about its proper
form :
- -First that wherever you live, it is probably Egypt ;
- Second, that there is a better place, a world more attractive, a promised land ;
- Third, that “the way to the land is through the wilderness.” There is no way to get from here to there
except by joining together and marching. I dare imagine we are in a moment of acute readiness for such
remembering and reimagining. Where else could we turn ? [2]

PGCs and Chapters are always times for remembering, rereading, and reimagining. Reimagining or
recreating - a constant activity of the Spirit, who is always making “all things new”. God is certainly
listening to the cry of his people today no less than in times past. Hopefully, this time of listening,
reflecting and sharing together will allow God’s response to their cry to find a place in our own hearts..

Our General, Provincial and even personal Projects are written with the firm belief that “another world is
 [3]. Marie Eugenie was not short on Hope. She dreamed of a world where no one would
oppress another. Her vision of the earth as a place of glory for God [4] was foundational in her life. She did not spare any effort to bring that vision to reality both in herself as well as in the society of her times.

Jon Sobrino calls the battle for Hope one of the major battles of our times.

Those in power “The powerful and rich” realize that “Hope” in the hearts of the “poor” is not to their
advantage. If it appears, they move to destroy it. Simply said, it is necessary for them to spread the belief
that there are no alternatives to the present situation (of injustice, inequality, poverty.)
Our contemporaries need a hope that comes from Faith in order to act in the midst of their suffering, in
order to believe that another world is possible... A population that is poor, but has hope, is a people with
dignity and creativity. They can envision a plan for their own lives and for their society. They don’t think
of progress as “living like the rich”, but their hope is precisely “ to be able to live in another way.” [5].

Several of you have written recently your preoccupation with the fragility and poverty in your provinces.
This realization makes the true nature of our hope become even more apparent. It is Mary’s hope in the
Magnificat. It is the hope of the poor Israelite slaves as they marched through the desert. It is the hope of Marie-Eugenie when she acknowledged that her congregation was founded in great poverty. Our hope is
not based in our numbers and strengths, but in our faith in God’s Promise.

But of course we’re not going to just sit down and wait for what we HOPE for to happen. The word Hope
in the Scripture implies to act, to go forward, to expend energy, to take risks, to make one’s way through.

And the PGC 2009 is about all of that.
It’s about joining together and marching.
It’s about celebrating our Faith in the Pascal Mystery.
It’s about looking for an opening into a complex world.
It’s about finding life at the depths of reality no matter how small or insignificant. This has been called the
Mission of Hope.

To end this time of introduction I’d like us to listen together to a scripture passage from Matthew 12 : 9-21.
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.
Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath ?" He said to
them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it
out ? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep ! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored,
just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah :
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight ;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out ;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope. (Is. 42:1-4)

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Sœur Diana
CGP 2009 - Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

[1Walter Brueggemann is emeritus professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological seminary,
Decatur, Ga. He is the author of 58 books, including The Prophetic Imagination.

[2Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (New York : Basic Books, 1985)149.

[3GC 2006 Justice, Peace, Care of Creation and Solidarity

[4St. Marie-Eugenie, Letter to Fr. Lacordaire, not dated between 1841-1843,FT p.72.

[5Jon Sobrino (born 27 December 1938, Barcelona, Spain) is a Jesuit Catholic priest and theologian,
known mostly for his contributions to liberation theology.

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