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The Pope invites us not to exclude any frontier, and to act without fear



Br Emili Turú speaks of the meeting of the Superiors General with Pope Francis

05/12/2013: General House

From 27 to 29 November the Assembly of the Union of Superiors General (USG) was held in Rome. At the end of the meeting, they were received by Francis, who announced that 2015 would be declared the Year of Religious Life. Br Emili Turú was interviewed by Religión digital about these meeting.


Can you tell us about the theme of the 82 Assembly of the USG?

In continuity with the previous Assembly (May 2013), which had as topic "Leadership in Religious Life 50 years after Vatican II", this one was dedicated to the same theme, but attempting to deepen its content and study the concrete consequences for our service in the different Congregations. In this case, moreover, we allowed ourselves to be challenged by the clear leadership of Pope Francis, who has given much inspiration to all of us.

The whole Assembly developed in a way marked by participation and group work, and at the end we drew up together a series of “strong points” we identify in the Pope’s leadership and which we would like to incorporate in our lives.


Can you indicate some of these "strong points"?

At the end of our meeting, we summed up our reflection in a couple of pages which will be published in a few days. But I can give the main outlines.

We feel a call to conversion in our service of authority, under three aspects:

- Conversion of personal attitudes: a service centred on the essential; a service whose authority comes from authenticity; a service which is expressed with deep humanity.

- Conversion of relationships: a service which knows how to express itself in a simple and direct manner; a service which is a journeying with the brothers; a service which seeks the will of God in junction with the brothers.

- Conversion of perspectives and style of the mission:a prophetic service; a service which has the courage to "move and get moving"; a service which expresses and spreads the culture of encounter; a joyful service, bearer of hope.

These are the main themes, something like "the profile" of what we want for ourselves, inspired by the Pope. As I said, each of these points is developed at greater length in the document drawn up.


The great novelty of this Assembly was the meeting with the Pope on the last day. What can you tell us about this moment?

There was great expectation within the Assembly at having the grace to live this historic moment. To me it seems that the fact of the meeting in itself, beyond what the Pope said, already held some important messages: he did not want to reduce this time to a normal audience, but gave us the whole morning, and then he did not want prepared speeches but preferred an open dialogue, fraternal, very intimate.

While I was listening, I imagined to myself a conversation by the fireside, unhurried, speaking about things which matter to us. By his accessibility, the Pope succeeds in immediately breaking down any sort of   "barrier" and making you feel at ease and at home.


What struck you about the message the Pope left you?

The transcript of the essentials of those hours of dialogue on many different topics which affect Religious Life will be published soon. I will confine myself simply to underlining some elements which have already been mentioned in the press release following the meeting.

In the first place, the recognition of the Religious Life as an invitation to live the Gospel in a"special" way. I avoid using the word "radical", because all Christians are called to radicalness. "Special", in the sense that we embrace a way of life and incarnating the Gospel different from the majority of the People of God. But, in any case, it should be like "a wake-up call", something like an "alarm signal" which invites us to go to the essential.

Another aspect I would like to underline is the call to go to thefrontiers, more in line with what he has been saying on so many occasions, and most recently in Evangelii Gaudium. He invites us to exclude nofrontier, and to act without fear, always in accordance with the charism and mission of each religious family.


Any other aspect you want to emphasize?

I sensed a great appreciation and interest in the Pope for the vocation of religious brothers, and I have the impression that he will help us to make it better known and appreciated in the whole of the Church.

I also much appreciated his encouragement to those of us working with young people in education, a very current "frontier".

Something that caught us all by surprise was the announcement that the year 2015 will be dedicated to Consecrated Life. Obviously, it was a very agreeable surprise!

From Religión digital, by Jesús Bustamente

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