a cuore aperto

The meeting for community leaders from the entire Italian Province took place in Monza, in the Sacred Heart community, from 12 to 14 February.

In the first two days, through various dynamics, Fr. Flavio Bottaro – SJ guided us to reread the life of our communities through our charism. Starting from the question: what proclamation do our communities need?, he led us to look at the three areas ad gentes, ad extra, ad vitam addressed within our communities. They are the ones who are always in need of evangelization and therefore called to keep their hearts open to the newness of the Spirit in fidelity to the charism which, starting from sharing the gift of community life and enriched by the awareness of our diversity, sends us to bear witness to the fidelity of God who never fails. We had a strong experience of discernment, they were intense days of work, thanks to the reflections proposed by the speaker and the group work.

For me, the reflection on our mission was particularly relevant: it must be done with an open heart, in the heart we receive and from the heart we radiate love. We asked ourselves: How can I understand if I have an open or closed heart? Here are some ideas given by Fr. Flavio that can serve as indicators to read our hearts:

parlare con il cuore

The closed heart leads us to emptiness, there is no relationship with God and the person is self-centered, no love passes through. This is precisely what can happen in our communities, in our relationships, in our lives… We must watch over our heart and, when we feel it closed, we must open ourselves to the prospect of a conversion, of a reopening to Love.

Reflecting then on the concepts of AD GENTES, AD EXTRA and AD VITAM, always with the desire to live them in our communities, we were left with questions:

  • What proclamation do our communities need of the Gospel? AD GENTES
  • What conditions should be favored to build communion in community? FOR EXTRA
  • In what area can I work on myself to help the community evolve? AD VITAM

Seeing the richness of these days together, I feel like thanking the Italian Province heartily, which gave us this opportunity, we returned to our communities with many more tools to be able to help our sisters live our charism and our mission with an open heart!

A call that is not only addressed to missionaries, but to everyone, even to you who are reading this… Every day can be a new call to listen to our own heart, to discover if we face life with a closed, fearful, judging heart or with an open heart, available to new things, to goodness and to God… Moreover, every day can be an opportunity to take a step further in understanding and growth, to build that community founded on peace and mutual understanding that we are all waiting for!


Sr. Alessandra Bonfanti, Italy


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