On the occasion of the jubilee year of its 50th anniversary, a delegation of the Community of the Beatitudes went to Rome and had the joy, on Monday 17 April 2023, of meeting the Holy Father in private audience. This delegation was made up of members of the General Council of the Community, a Vietnamese brother and a sister from the Central African Republic, in order to demonstrate the important points of our charism: the communion of states of life and internationality. Brothers, sisters, lay people, family and children were present!
The Holy Father greeted and welcomed us warmly. Anna Katharina (president) in German, Sr. Eva de Jesus (general leader of the sisters who has lived ten years in mission in our house in Peru) read the message of the community to the Pope in Spanish. The Pope was very attentive and obviously happy to hear different languages.
Then, asking for a copy of his speech and laughing that we spoke too many languages for him to read it to us, he gave it to Sr Anna Katharina in person, inviting us to read it after the audience. In fact, the hearing had started late, so it was probably the lack of time that explained the change of programme… He then said a few spontaneous words to us: “Thank you for your testimony. Go ahead. Go forward with courage, with hope and with a smile always!
After that, the children of the General Assistant of the lay branch (Duane Stallard) offered him a bouquet of flowers and Sr Anna Katharina, the book of her meditations on the Beatitudes (in Gaudete et Exsultate) illustrated by the paintings of Sr Marie-Anastasia, c.b.
To conclude, everyone was able to greet the Holy Father personally before singing an Easter song to him together.
Here are some excerpts from his speech specially addressed to our Community on the occasion of its 50th anniversary…
“Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I am happy to celebrate with you the fiftieth anniversary of your community. I greet the General Council, the Apostolic Assistant, Fr Donneaud, and the members of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life who are present here.
Your charism, born of the impetus of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, is a gift for the Church and for the world. As we read in your Rule (cf. art. 5), the experience of Pentecost and the eschatological dimension have been at the heart of your charism from its inception and, under their impetus, it continues to develop and manifest itself through life in the Spirit, the communion of states of life and mission.
The eschatological dimension shows, through praise, the beauty of the liturgy, hymns and fraternal life, that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst. The experience of Pentecost is the heart of your spiritual life. (…) This life of prayer is the source of your fraternal communion, which is inspired by the Trinitarian source and which enables each one to fulfil his or her specific vocation.
The apostolate that you exercise is very vast and varied. (…) Dear brothers and sisters, all this is a reason to give thanks to God. In particular, your commitment to the service of the most fragile and marginalised people in a society contaminated by the throwaway culture. (…)
In this regard, dear brothers and sisters, I am grateful for the commitment you show in the consecrated life and for the service you offer to the Church and the world. Your community, founded on a spirituality of contemplation, prayer and mission, makes a valuable contribution to interreligious dialogue, the promotion of peace and the defence of human rights, and your witness is a source of inspiration to many.
In community life, you embody the gift of brotherly love, which is the basis of our Christian being, and you remember that we are not called to be alone, but to walk together, helping one another in faith and in the love of God. This is the strength of consecrated life: the sharing of fraternal life, of prayer and of service to our neighbour.
I therefore invite you to go forward and persevere in your mission with zeal and without fear, to bear witness to the faith with joy and hope, and to remain always open and obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit: He is the protagonist of the life of the Church and of evangelisation. (…) May the Blessed Virgin keep you always in the joy of discipleship, in the joyful and grateful wonder of having received the gift of being the disciples of the Lord. I bless you and all the brothers and sisters of the community with all my heart. And I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you. “