A Church that goes forth, summoned by Christ in those who suffer
The 2017 Joint Biennial Convention of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) on Consecrated Men and Women, Joyful and Prophetic Witnesses of God’s Mercy and Compassion mapped out the path for the members of the Association, with the Joint Executive Board’s decisive leadership paving the way for the effective implementation of the Convention Resolutions.
Following the Spirit’s lead, on July 9 to 13, 2018 at the SEARSOLIN in Cagayan de Oro, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines, together with our Mission Partners, gathered as one body to address the challenge to be Renewed Servant Leaders of the New Evangelization.
In the Washing of the Feet and his example of humility, Jesus is our model-originator of servant leadership, a way of using authority without resorting to power. In Jesus, we recognize and embrace the authority of those who suffer. Our encounters with them propel us to act in behalf of justice, peace, and care of our common home. In so doing, we become prophetic witnesses for our times.
We are servant leaders confronted with the worsening suffering of our people, many of whom bear their troubles in silence; servant leaders of a country where those who work for justice and human dignity are often met with rebuke and hostility. We are faced with a formidable situation where respect for life is ignored and devalued as evidenced in the escalation of human rights violations, summary executions, extrajudicial killings, wars of attrition. Today, violence is the new normal with perpetrators going unscathed; democratic institutions are systematically weakened; and religion and women are mocked and disdained. Lies are peddled as truth through systematic disinformation. Subservience to foreign interest is given precedence over love of country and patrimony. Ecological degradation goes unabated, and homelessness and poverty continue to weigh on the majority of our people. The plight of the survivors of the Marawi siege is an urgent concern.
On account of these challenges, the AMRSWP strongly supports the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines’ Pastoral Exhortation Rejoice and Be Glad! (July 9, 2018). Owning our co-essential role with church leaders as women religious, we do our part to help build the credibility and integrity of the Church against the continuing destructive narratives against Her. We are encouraged to draw from the rich diversity of our charisms and resources, our prayer and discernment, and our gift for compassionate and healing presence.
The AMRSWP continues to strive to live “wholarchical” servant leadership – which, in contrast to the hierarchical model – upholds the values of collaboration, partnership, interconnectedness, equality, mutuality, and love – in order to evangelize, and help build lasting peace. As in previous gatherings, this way of proceeding was evidenced in this convention by the active participation of the local networks of AWRACO (Association of Women Religious of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro) and AWRI (Association of Women Religious in Iligan).
Appropriating for ourselves the theme of this Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, we, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines, make the following commitments:
- In mission:
a. Continue our thrust to go to the poor and the peripheries.
b. In particular, support the people of Marawi and the rehabilitation of their destroyed homes and city
– respecting the lead of the people themselves in realizing their aspirations, especially those of the United Mothers of Marawi and the youth who strive for a hopeful future,
– in collaboration with our local associations and other networks.
- Among ourselves:
a. Create empowering and transformative structures and spaces that foster friendship and participation in our congregations, ministries and the communities we work with.
b. Evolve formation programs for religious men and women for this kind of solidarity with the suffering.
c. Participate in the work of the Mission Partners and the JPICC.
3. For the AMRSP:
a. Expand the activities of the Mission Partners and JPICC in regions.
b. Provide regular orientation on AMRSP and the Mission Partners’ work for new members.
c. Have the Joint Executive Board review the relationship of the local women associations in the organizational dynamics of the AMRSP.
We take to heart the words of Jesus the Christ, whom we have vowed to follow:
“If I then, your Teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13: 14-15)
AMRSWP National Convention 2018
July 13, 2018
SEARSOLIN, Cagayan de Oro City