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World's crises challenge religious, says head of Assumption nuns

Sister Rekha Chennattu, superior general of the Religious of the Assumption, is the first Asian head of the congregation

UCA News reporter, Pune

UCA News reporter, Pune

Published: February 26, 2020 03:28 AM GMT

Updated: February 26, 2020 03:29 AM GMT

World's crises challenge religious, says head of Assumption nuns

Sister Rekha M. Chennattu, superior general of the Religious of the Assumption congregation, addresses the Feb. 1-20 general plenary of her congregation in Paris along with Archbishop Michel Aupeti of Paris. (Photo supplied)

Catholic religious are experiencing the crises felt across the world, and it challenges them to redefine their mission and identity, says the Indian head of Assumption nuns.

Sister Rekha M. Chennattu, superior general of the Religious of the Assumption congregation, was speaking after concluding a 20-day general plenary of her congregation in Paris.

The congregation’s 23 provincials from 34 countries on four continents attended the biennial conference that ended last week in the motherhouse of the congregation.

“We live in a rapidly changing world and an evolving multicultural and multireligious environment,” said Sister Channattu, adding that the global changes also affect the religious.

“We experience tensions between globalization and localization, internationality and inculturation, secularised culture, and a longing for meaningful spirituality.” 

Sister Chennattu was a Bible professor in a major seminary before elected as the first Asian to head the Paris-based congregation in 2018. 

“There seems to be a crisis in the world today, and we religious are not above this global phenomenon which envelops our daily life,” the nun said.

The fast-changing technology in communications and the internet has redefined the concept of time, entertainment, education and business. These changes seem to have created crises of values and identity, and that affects the religious too, she said.

“How do we redefine ourselves and make our presence — our identity and mission — a source of healing and integration in a wounded, broken and divided world? That’s is the challenge,” Sister Chennattu said.

The congregation's discussions centered around the challenge. “New forms of religious life for our times” was one of the subjects discussed, she said.
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The new forms may rework structures for better animation, communion, greater life and deeper commitment to the poor and marginalized.

They also discussed ways for better collaboration with laypeople.

“Going to the peripheries and to be on the margins will be the identity mark of our congregation,” Sister Chennattu told UCA News in a telephone interview.

“As an international congregation, our experiences shared in the reports underline that living interculturality is not merely an intra-community call but an ad-extra reality within which we find ourselves today.” 

She said the congregation would remain deeply rooted in the Assumption heritage and discern new forms of “our presence” in the Church to extend the Kingdom of God.

“We need to continue our ongoing search for meaning and relevance, which implies not only restructuring but constant renewal. It seems imperative also to have a mindset focused on integration, inclusion, wholeness and holiness,” the nun said.

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