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Dialogue and share responsability

Dialogue and shared responsability
according to saint Angela

During the Last Supper, the Lord said to His disciples, I do not speak of you any more as my servants… I have made known to you all that my Father has told me; and so I have called you my friends (John 15, 15) In the same way, Angela has called “friends” the Colonelle who were superiors and formators : You will recognize me to be your faithful friend (Last Couns. 25), and, like a real friend, she shared with them her experience, her knowledge and her responsibilities.

Gabriel Cozzano has a beautiful example of this, when he recalls how Angela prepared the writing up of her Rule : Whatever she taught to others, she gave the sisters the opportunity to put it into practice. Then she consulted them and encouraged them to act in this way; finally she said that it was not she alone, but her daughters who did it together with her.

This example, as well as her writings, reveal how much she was a woman of dialogue, communicating with her Sisters and asking the formators or local superiors (the Colonelle), and Lady governors (the Matrone) to work together in collaboration and co-responsibility.

I. Communication and Dialogue

Angela lived this intensely, as she encouraged communication and dialogue with the families and the sisters, and between the formators and superiors: Before entering, the young girl was to acquire the consent of her parents, and the lady-governors and governors of the Company speak with them. (R 1, 6). It is important to know and visit the family of those who want to enter the institute, in order to create good relationship with them and learn from them some information about the candidates.

She also encouraged dialogue between the sisters themselves: coming together from time to time, so that together they might also meet each other as loving sisters, and thus talking over spiritual matters, rejoice together, and encourage one another. (Leg. 8, 1-6).

Furthermore, she invites the sisters to dialogue with their superiors, particularly if they encounter obstacles in their surroundings : If their mothers or other secular superiors should want to lead them into dangers or want to prevent them from fasting, or prayer, or confession, or any other kind of good, they should immediately refer the matter to the lady-governors of the Company, so that they may see to it. (R 3, 8-10).

Most of all, she expected the formators to dialogue with their sisters during their frequent visits to them, so as to comfort them and help them if they should happen to be in some situation of disagreement or other trouble of body as much as of mind(R 11, 8-12)

Formators are invited to give counsels according to the state of mind of the sisters: If you see one faint-hearted and inclined to despondency, comfort her, encourage her, promise her the blessing of the mercy of God; lift her heart with every consolation. And on the contrary, if you see another presumptuous and who has a lax conscience and little fear of anything, into this one instill some fear, remind her of the rigor of the justice of God. (Couns. 2, 8).

Dialogue and shared responsability

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