Holy Child Sister Gifty Abane is a panelist on The Life, a monthly feature from Global Sisters Report (GSR) about the unique, challenging and very specific lives of women religious around the world.
GSR asked this month’s panel to share their reflections on the following question, and their responses were deeply personal, poetic and moving:
How has the synodal process affected Catholic sisters?
Gifty Atampoka Abane is a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus from Ghana. She is a teacher in a Catholic girls’ high school in Ghana and serves their province in leadership.
The synodal process awakens in me a new consciousness of a journey in which the perfect, the imperfect, the seekers, the prophets, the weak and frail, the strong, the wise and foolish, the patient and enlightened, young people, older people, and children are united on a mission towards the Father’s home.
The synod has ignited in me an intentional and conscious practice of being, listening, acting and meaningful dialogue. This change in mindset recognizes that each and every individual is an integral component of the family of God, each offering his or her very presence, gifts, and skills in service of the church in ways suitable to one’s capabilities. It is a time to discard all forms of distinctions, segregation, discrimination, and exclusion based on limited human categorization of people, and instead, view all members of the same family, each gifted differently, with equal opportunities to serve.
The Holy Spirit could not have stirred the heart of Pope Francis at a more urgent time, considering the division, intolerance, indifference, exclusion, and inequality in our world. Since the onset of the synod, there has been a profound conversion experience across various groups in my community, deeply impacting our core values and ideals in religious life, a witness of the Catholic Church in glory. The synod has called for an overhauling of the systems of operation within the church and her structures, while preserving the rich traditions and cultures that have stood the test of time. There is a great sense of hope that the conclusion of the general gathering of the synod delegates will yield abundant fruits.
In understanding the signs of our time in my community, the synod calls us to listen wisely to one another, to learn through dialogue, and share our faith experiences with each other, the church and the world at large. In the spirit of synodality, each individual is called to deepen her responsibility as a full member of the family of God through our call to religious life, within the local church and ministry. This period of synodal conversation challenges us to creatively express our fidelity to Christ and his church, and to build solidarity with others, appreciating diversity and walking as fellow pilgrims.
It is evident that the synod aims to foster synergy and bring new insights into our way of life as a church, beginning from the individual levels and extending to all faith communities, parishes and dioceses. This marks the advent of a new era in the church that knows no boundaries, kindling an inherent need to embrace Gospel values and qualities, infusing a zest that is essential in all spheres of our lives.
Click here to read more responses from women religious on Global Sisters Report.
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