By charism we understand a special gift of grace of the Holy Spirit given to an individual, or a group of persons taking into account, the needs of the time, the society where we live and the world at large for its service and growth and well being.
Charism of the founder / foundress of a religious congregation is a special gift of grace given to the founder / foundress to live and exemplify a particular aspect of the life of Christ and make his/her particular contribution to the building up of the Church and the people regardless of cast and creed, by responding to the signs of the time and the needs of the people of God.
Common Vision and Charism of SRA
Our common vision is the vision and mission, which is transmitted to us by our first Founder, Fr. Bodewig and the pioneering members. It was his love and zeal for the mission that prompted our beloved founder Fr. Antonius Maria Bodewig to lay the foundation for our congregation for the work of evangelization of India. (Cf. Memorandum, p. 1)
Compassion in Communion
Fr. Bodewig was gripped with the compassion of Jesus who said, "I have compassion on the crowd…”(Mk.8: 1-10) This experience of Christ echoed in his vision of founding the Congregation for the evangelization of India. “We have compassion on the plight of the children, the Indian widows and we bring to them the living and life giving bread of the soul in the Word and Sacred Host.” (SRA Dir. 56, cf. Const. 66) “They are like sheep without a shepherd.”(Mt.9: 36) “To make my aim a reality, I perceived that it was an absolute necessity to found a large religious society to promote Christian faith with zeal and dedication, that is, the evangelization of India.”(Ref. Fall and Rise.. p.31) God's own compassion is the basis of our compassion. Jesus is the embodiment of divine compassion.
Inflamed by Love and Zeal
His burning zeal and single-mindedness is expressed in the following words. “As to myself I have long ago given up all other endeavors and concerns and devoted myself wholly with all I am and have and can, to the apostolic end of working for the evangelization of India and in particular of Benaras. I have been led or rather compelled to this resolution by an interior necessity and by the thorough conviction that this is God’s will with regard to me.
Captured by the desire of bringing the message of Jesus to the people of other faiths, he worked incessantly towards the realization of his dream, come what may. He made best use of his eloquence, literary talents and his ability to transmit his vision effectively to his groups and set them too ‘on fire’ with his missionary zeal. He wrote to the Bishop Gramigna of Allahabad in 1911 “I am burning with the desire of carrying out the longings of my heart.” Here was a charism at work Our special call is the direct proclamation of the Good News of the compassionate love of God. (Ref.Const. 70) Inculturation and dialogue are two important elements of our charism.
We are a Missionary Congregation devoted to the proclamation of the Word of God and the manifestation of His compassionate love. (Dir.1) Mary under the title “Queen of the Apostles” is our patroness. The image we look up to is the docile spouse of the Holy Spirit who pondered the Word of God in her heart. Mary, the ‘Queen of the Apostles’ who waited in prayer with the apostles for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is the icon that spells out the name of our Congregation.
Our Spirituality: Walking in the Footsteps of Christ
This is how Father Antonius Maria Bodewig and the Pioneers expressed it. “Whoever comes to us considers that he/ she is the disciple of the Lord, who wherever he went, carried the fire of love and goodness and who wanted “that it should burn”. Accordingly we strive to be one in spirit and heart with Him, who said “I have compassion on the crowd”
◊ Like the apostles we are called and set apart to be with Him, to reach the full stature in Christ, to possess His passionate Love for the Father and then to be sent out to be the witness of God’s compassionate love through works of mercy and through direct proclamation. To work and live for the greater glory of God. (Const.3-4) Through renouncement of self in solidarity with poor, we make ourselves available for the needs of our brothers and sisters and surrender ourselves totally to the Lord (Dir.11)
◊ Inflamed by this love, we want to be the bringers of the Good News of Father’s unconditional love to all. Healing to the sick, freedom to the prisoners and justice and peace to the downtrodden. “Through the works of mercy we shall win the hearts of the people for Christ.” (Fr. Bodewig)
◊ “Indian to Indians”: Our call is to be incarnated into the culture of the people, where we are sent. India holds the first place and also any part of the world wherever God opens a door for the evangelization. (Const.4)
◊ We are called to set aside the comfort and security of the enclosure; and to walk into the lanes and streets and to the enclosed homes of the women “Zanana” for the direct proclamation of the Gospel. (cf. Const. 1945) The key to the hearts and homes are the works of mercy. (cf. Const. 1985)
◊ To go where the need is great and even to the places, where others dare not to go. To serve in love by ‘becoming all things to all!’ To be his gentle hands and feet to be totally available to the lonely and broken hearted. “… We want to give up everything at the service of Evangelization.” (Fr. Bodewig)
◊ We are to be Pioneer missionaries who pitch their tent among the people to prepare the ground for evangelization, when ready handover to others and move like pilgrim without a lasting home. (Fr. Bodewig)
◊ We become the true disciples of Jesus in the company of Mary imitating her life of faith and fiat that led her from Bethlehem to Calvary. (Const.2)
◊ She the humble handmaid of God and Queen of the Apostles is our Refuge in doubt and darkness; she is our teacher, mother and model. (Const. 37)
◊ Inflamed with the love of Jesus we live as an international community gathered in His name, to carry the flame of hope and love to the oppressed women, the homeless children, to the marginalized, yes with a preferential option for the poor and in solidarity with them we empower them.
◊ SRA Identity is Communitarian, not living or working as isolated individuals, but walking together in the Foot Prints of Christ to bear witness to Christ. Our community gathered in the name of Jesus has as its centre the Holy Eucharist, the sign of unity and bond of charity. (Const.50)
◊ Dependence on God’s providence
◊ Readiness to Take Challenges to go where the need is great
◊ Christo centric
Die Patronin ...
... unsere Kongregation ist Maria, die Königin der Apostel. Unter ihrer Führung nehmen wir teil an der Sendung Christi und Seiner Kirche. Durch ihr bedingungsloses „Ja“ zu Gott hat Maria am Werk der Erlösung mitgewirkt. Durch diese Hingabe, die ihren Höhepunkt erreichte, als sie am Fuße des Kreuzes stand, wurde Maria die erste und vollkommenste Jüngerin Jesus. Sie ist für uns was sie für die Aposteln war, Mutter, Lehrmeisterin und Vorbild! (Konst.2)
Es ist unser Auftrag ...
das Evangelium in den unterschiedlichsten Lebenssituationen zu verkünden. Dabei sind uns Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und besonders das Eintreten für die Würde und Rechte der Frauen besondere Anliegen.
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