Address of Sr. Evelyne Franc DC to 12th Synod of Bishops

From Vincentian Encyclopedia

The Poor are sacrament of Christ among us

1. The Word of God at the heart of our lives (Instrumentum laboris no. 24, 38, 52)

The Word wakes us every morning and follows us throughout the day, in the liturgy of Hours, the Eucharist, the times of prayer and the service. It is at the same time sweet as honey and bitter as bile; it comforts and moves, makes us go forth, and disorients us. Sharing the Word (Lectio divina) reanimates our apostolic commitment, it is the unifying factor and the way to forgiveness, reconciliation and discernment. It is even more necessary today when, in the five continents, the Sisters close to the heart and the lives of the poor, are sometimes confronted by situations of extreme difficulty. Sharing the Word then strengthens their feeling of belonging to Christ, ties them once again to the community that sends them, to the mission of the Church.

2. Proclaiming the Word through our service for the poor. (Instrumentum laboris no. 36, 39, 43, 44)

The Word moves us to serve not only to fight material hunger, poverty, it moves us to work for a world where all are respected, it moves us to denounce injustice. A dual reading of the Word imposes: to live the life of the poor in the light of Scriptures and to read Scriptures from the viewpoint of the poor. They are sacrament of Christ among us, these poor who evangelize us.

In conclusion, two words on the proclamation of the Word in the pastoral ministry of youth and popular piety.

The youth from the five continents enthusiastically answer the challenges mentioned during the World Youth Day: “You are salt for the earth... You are light for the world.” (Mt 5:13-14) in Toronto, we “have come to do him homage” (Mt 2:2) in Cologne, “you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will come on you, and then you will be my witnesses” (Ac 1:8) in Sydney. The young persons await these challenges from us and are ready to pick them up when we walk by their sides, living of this Word and knowing how to explain it to them.

Number 36 of the Instrumentum laboris mentions popular piety, let us give an example: The miraculous medal offered to so many persons throughout the world is a humble catechetical instrument, a summary of the history of salvation that allows the proclamation of the Word of God.

This Word, Mary, the Eucharistic woman, our model of spiritual life, fully received and shares it with us completely.

Sr. Evelyne FRANC, D.C.