EWTN Vatican
The Future of Consecrated Life

Pope Francis highlighted the importance of perseverance for religious life and for the courage to make room for God’s action.  

Pope Francis during the Mass for the World Day of Consecrated Life speaking to religious said, “I think of you, consecrated sisters and brothers, and of the gift that you are; I think of us Christians today: are we still capable of waiting? Are we not at times too caught up in ourselves, in things and in the intense rhythm of daily life to the point of forgetting God who always comes?” 

Instituted in 1997 by Pope Saint John Paul II, the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life is “intended to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels.”  

The consecrated life, Pope John Paul II wrote in his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, “is at the very heart of the Church,” and ought for this reason to be celebrated.  

Father Martin Wolf OMI, Official of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, discussed with EWTN Vatican the various fruits of Consecrated life, he said, “The heart of the Church is prayer and charity, the apostolate. In religious life, in consecrated life, both are there: there are men and women who really devote their lives entirely to contemplation, prayer, and adoration, who withdraw from the world to pray for the world and the Church.”  

In addition to these spiritual fruits, Father Martin noted that, “The other pillar of consecrated life is concrete action, the apostolate. Many communities have been founded to help people in schools, in hospitals, in missions, in development aid, in many areas of life. [...] And in the consecrated life, this is lived in an exemplary way.”    

The Catholic Church celebrated the World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, that is, the day when the Blessed Mother presented her Son in the temple and consecrated Him to God.    

EWTN spoke to Mother Paloma of the Congregation of the Mothers of the Abandoned and Saint Joseph of the Mountain of her experience in the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. She explained, “We come from Spain, we are the general government, we have come, the general government of the Mothers of the Abandoned and Saint Joseph of the Mountain. Well, we have come precisely to take advantage of the Day of Consecrated Life here in Rome to introduce ourselves a bit as the government, at the feet of Peter to strengthen that faith and thus be able to help the congregation.”  

Mother Paloma explains the importance of giving visibility to the social work of the consecrated and the need to celebrate Candlemas to make known the good that is done in the Church. Father Alejandro, on the other hand, recounts his vocation since childhood, a deep desire to become a priest, a calling he recognized from a young age.  

Father Alejandro, a Religious Priest from Barcelona, shared with EWTN, “Well, basically, considering vocation, it's something that comes from God. In my case, I had the grace to feel it since I was very little, around 6 or 7 years old. It's like this, you have that kind of desire, like a child who wants to become an astronaut; I wanted to become a priest. And although, back then, I didn't really know what it meant. As one grows, I was fortunate to grow up in a Catholic family; we used to go to Mass on Sundays.”  

Father Miguel, Priest of the “Of the Work of the Church” association, spoke to EWTN about the commitment of the vocation, saying, “The vocation itself is a call; it is God who calls us. Well, I felt that call, that vocation to live solely for God and the vocation is a commitment in that sense to consecrated life.”    

In Rome, also on February 2nd, the Irish College of Rome held a culture night to celebrate the World Day of Consecrated Life and one of Ireland’s most important saints, St. Brigid. There were singers, poets, and artists coming from Ireland to perform pieces of art that were in some way inspired by St. Brigid. 

Father Paul Finnerty, Rector of Pontifical Irish College, spoke with EWTN about the saintly inspirations for the consecrated life, saying, “St. Brigid has been one of the patronesses of Ireland, along with St. Patrick. So, in terms of that, the balance, and I suppose the inspiration that she has for many women around the same time here in Rome, just last night they had an exhibition celebrating the life of religious and the contribution that they made over the last 100 years. St. Brigid, for many women, was an inspirational woman, a pioneering woman.” 

On this important day, let us remember to pray for the religious men and women and heed the Holy Father’s advice and always be open to be moved by the Spirit and reawaken our longing for God. 

Adapted by Jacob Stein 

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