Tears of joy as public vows professed in Chch

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by MICHAEL LORETZ

A few months ago, there were tears of joy when consecrated members of the Beatitudes made their public vows in their chapel at Fourvière Sanctuary in Leithfield, North Canterbury, a few months ago.

It was part of a new chapter in the life of the Community of the Beatitudes in the world, which was recently recognized by the Holy See as the very first “Ecclesial Family of consecrated life”.

In the new canonical structure, the vows made by consecrated members, which were until now private, have become public vows, with the specific charism and mission entrusted to the community by the Church. This means that the more than 800 consecrated members of the Community of the Beatitudes – priests, brothers and sisters – will again profess their vows to be received, not only by the community itself, but by the whole Church.

Sr Thérèse pronounces her perpetual public vows, with Mgr Paul Martin, SM.

During a recent midday mass, Sr. Thérèse and Fr. Grégoire made their perpetual public vows in the hands of Mgr Paul Martin, SM. Sister and Father represented the Superiors General of the sister and brother branches of the Community of the Beatitudes who were unable to travel to New Zealand due to Covid restrictions. Sr Clare, Sr Marie-Jeanne and Sr Monica then made their public vows to Sr Thérèse. Emotions flowed as each member recommitted to following Jesus and renewing their commitments to poverty, chastity and obedience.

“The beautiful thing about this next step is that the Church, in her wisdom, has recognized the unique gifts of the Beatitudes, and we have been tasked with sharing these gifts for the good of the whole Church,” said said Sr Thérèse, community coordinator in New Zealand.

In his homily, Archbishop Martin noted: “I am sure that when history is written here, all the people involved, all the events, with their moments of grace and their difficult times, it will show the hand of God in it. ‘work in all of this. And today we see that embodied in the vows that these faithful followers of Christ take ”.

Although the Community of the Beatitudes was first founded in 1973 and has for decades been recognized and blessed by the Church in many ways, the journey to define their unique identity has been that of many. discernment, prayer, and sometimes a lot of “hard work”. Today, the Beatitudes are a Catholic community of over 800 members around the world, and are present in 20 countries, including a house near the Fourvière Shrine in Leithfield, New Zealand. It brings together, in the same family, consecrated sisters, brothers, priests and lay people, sharing a fraternal life, a life of prayer and a mission.

During the ceremony, Bishop Martin spoke of the “happy coincidence” that today’s reading was the one in which Peter and John went to the temple to heal the man who could not walk, and the man, having been healed, begins to dance all over in a scene reminiscent of the Monty Python scene. “One of the things I noticed about the Beatitudes,” said the bishop, “is a joy that is expressed through its members. It is also interesting that you [the community] are known for your use of dance as a way of praising God. To understand the power of what you have received and experienced in faith. . . is a wonderful gift ”.

A press release from the General House of the Beatitudes in France declared: “This important recognition is the fruit of a long road that the community has traveled through many joys and sorrows towards greater ecclesial maturity. . . Today, she gives thanks for the love and fidelity of God. More than ever, the Community of the Beatitudes wishes to continue to participate in the mission of the Church and in the new evangelization ”.

In New Zealand, the apostolic arm of the community is the Fourvière Shrine, a Marian shrine in Leithfield where people from all walks of life are welcomed for prayer, retreat, pilgrimage and rest.


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