The Sisters at the Generalate hosted an international meeting of the Sisters responsible for the Association of the Holy Family from 3-10 March, 2017. The meeting was attended by Sisters representing all seven Provinces of the Congregation and from the Ukraine Region. Mother Jana Zawieja, Superior General, presided over the meeting.
The aims of the meeting were to determine the current situation of the Association in the various provinces, review the Statutes and formation programs of the Association and above all to listen to the voice of the Church on the pastoral care of families today. The introduction to the last issue took the form of three conferences presented by Father Dr. Jacek Golen, from the University of Lublin. Father Golen spoke on the principles of accompaniment, and the directions and forms of renewal as ways of accompanying engaged couples, married couples and families in the light of the Exhortation Amoris laetitia. The topic of discernment was also very valuable from the point of view of personal formation as well as a means of helping those whom the Sisters who are accompanying, to discern the will of God.
The second speaker, Father Dr. Albert Warso from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressed the topic concerning the accompaniment of the young as they prepare to those their vocation in life.
The participants also touched on the issues of formation for the Sisters and the involvement of lay persons in the pastoral care of families as well as the role of the Association in the implementation and continuation of the mission of the Congregation.
The outcome of the week’s work resulted in the sharing of new ideas and concrete actions for better development of the Association and the appreciation of its role in the mission to families, engaged and married couples as well as those living in irregular family situations.
During the summary meeting the sisters expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to better understand one other and the specifics of the Association in individual countries and the exchange of materials and methods of work.
The Association of the Holy Family of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth is a practical expression of Blessed Frances Siedliska’s desire of including the laity in the Religious Congregation which she founded. The first Statutes of the Association, called the Brotherhood of the Holy Family, were formulated during the life of the Foundress.
Members of the Association receive a solid formation and the possibility of sharing in the spirituality and apostolic mission of the Congregation. Through their efforts to live a life modelled on the example of the Holy Family they witness to Christian values in their family environment. For the Congregation the association is a means for a more widespread presence in the world, especially among families.
At the present time the Association numbers 880 permanent members and several hundred candidates and supporters, who meet in 53 formative groups. They are accompanied by over 60 Sisters. Increasingly, the experienced members are taking responsibility for the formation and apostolic activities of their groups.