Recently a group of “under 10’s” were blessed to share a week with Fr. Pat Griffin, past Director General for the Daughters of Charity, focused on the theme “Follow Me: The Vows as Response to a Call.”
Sr. Roberta Treppa, DC shares the following reflection from the experience.
This week, the Daughters of Charity who are under 10 years’ vocation are gathered in Los Altos Hills, CA for the Vow Institute. This is a special formation experience where a facilitator leads us in reflections about the vows. Fr. Pat Griffin, past Director General for the Daughters of Charity, has prepared a week of talks entitled, “Follow Me: The Vows as Response to a Call.”
The vow formula for the Daughters of Charity reminds us that our vows are a response to the call of Christ who invites each of us to follow Him… And our motto, “The Love of Christ Crucified Urges Us” points out the motivating factor behind all that we do.
SERVICE TO THOSE WHO ARE POOR is a vow specific to the Daughters of Charity. (We also vow Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience). This week, we are looking at several scripture passages and Vincentian writings that allow us to go deeper into understanding this call and our response. Here is a real quick tiny peek at just one of our conferences.
The vow of Service to those who are Poor calls Daughters to give of ourselves TOTALLY, give ourselves in COMMUNITY, and give ourselves TO CHRIST.
What does it mean to give of myself totally? For starters, it means to love unconditionally…offer my time, resources, attention, etc. I am called to love God with all my being (heart, soul, mind, and strength). This may leave me frustrated or exhausted and spent at the end of the day, but love and service are renewable resources. St. Vincent DePaul writes, “If our perfection lies in charity, as is certain, there is none greater than to give oneself to save souls and to sacrifice ourself for them as Jesus Christ did.”
When I give myself in Community, I appreciate that I have other Sisters there to help me to become my best self, and to “re-fuel” when ministry drains me. Apostolic Reflection is a spiritual exercise in which we “unpack” an experience (maybe that tough situation in ministry) and find where God is found or how it is calling us to change/grow closer to God. Even in our daily Community life, we give ourselves totally in our sharing, support, encouragement, challenges, corrections, and forgiveness. As St. Paul writes, “If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:1-4)
Giving myself to Christ is how I take up my cross and follow Him. It challenges me to consider Christ alone as my motive-not MY wants, desires, or interests. Daughters of Charity see Christ in the person of the poor, and one way I give myself to Christ is when I serve those who are poor. “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25:40)
I am grateful for the gift of my call to the Daughters of Charity, and for the many God-experiences in ministry and in Community. All have deepened my relationship with God.
- What/who motivates you to do what you do?
- What is it that you have a hard time letting go of?
- What obstacles challenge you in responding to a counter-cultural call of consecrated life?