News from Christine Anderson FCJ
Greetings to you all at this time of the pandemic and I hope you, your families and communities are keeping well and safe. I am in Rome where I continue my ministry of supervision and spiritual accompaniment and also some mentoring for the UISG formation program. I also have named Duncan McLaren as my research assistant with a view to us writing together based mainly on my work with the Craighead Institute in Glasgow and Faith and Praxis. This project is on hold as Duncan cannot get to the archive in Glasgow where most of my writings are. Everything else is currently on-line just now and I am fortunate that my ministry can adapt easily to this. When I left Faith and Praxis, I made the thirty days retreat and then did some in-service for myself at the Ignatian Immersion Program in Manresa and Loyola in Spain. This gave me a great breathing space and the opportunity to renew and re-orientate myself so as to engage with ministry in a new way.
I was asked recently what I saw as the most important characteristics of Faith and Praxis for Global Leadership. Faith and Praxis was formally opened by the FCJs in 2011 although it had been developing informally since 2005 when the Congress Passion for Christ, Passion for Humanity took place. It was handed over to the Marist Brothers in January 2019 and Brother Emili Turú replaced me as Director. For me who was engaged in setting up the organization in the beginning, and still in my heart, the three most important characteristics are:
a) the commitment to work constantly to grapple with some of the current intercultural global world we are facing in the context of faith. Faith and experience are always at the heart of the work.
b) to work with integrity at the integration of life and faith requires a robust methodology and processes to carry this out. Sometimes both as staff and participants we can confuse methodology with ‘tools’ – it isn’t the same thing! By methodology I mean informed discernment processes based on prayer and inner freedom, the social pastoral process of experience, analysis, theological reflection and action, the Cardijn dialectic which isn’t just reduced to See-Judge-Act but comes out of a detailed study of the social teaching of the Church. The Christian workers movements from whom we arose are especially committed to areas of poverty and injustice and systemic analysis of seeing the interconnection of all things through different cultures, contexts and the cosmos.
c) Faith and Praxis has been concerned both through training programs and through consultancy to groups congregations and other organizations to work with both leaders and members to enable the organization to engage fully with their potential for apostolic ministry in the twenty first century. We learned more from the participants than we were able to share with them! Looking back now at the many people I have had the privilege to accompany over my many years in this ministry in Europe, Africa and Asia I know and have experienced that the greatest transformation has taken place in those groups for whom leadership, membership and holiness are one. They may not be the organizations with the greatest strategies and apparent outcomes but they are the ones who have dug deep into the treasures of God at work in our world and enable their members to respond to them especially the poorest and most unjustly treated as we contribute to the development of God’s Kingdom.
Holiness as wholeness, integrity and faith-filled commitment is at the center of our lives and our own efforts to live this and reflects the same efforts and graces of the participants and staff.
Christine Anderson FCJ
May 4, 2020