After years of sharing the charism of St. Jeanne Antide Thouret on behalf of the lay groups scattered around the globe, in 2007 an International Meeting entitled “Friends of St. Jeanne Antide and Sisters of Charity” is organized in Rome, at the General House, between the 25th and 29th August. Similar to a big tree, even within the Congregation, new and unexpected branches are being inserted.
The insertions are always delicate and they need attention and time in order to bear fruit.
First of all, one must keep in mind both the common elements that the charism creates among the lay Friends and their specific characteristics. As a loving father, Mgr Lucien Daloz, archbishop of Besançon, is ready to lead the Movement’s first steps between 1981 and 2003. Therefore, with his help, one tries to define the identity of the lay friend starting with the question
“What is important in the life of the lay person, both as a christian, and as Friend of Jeanne-Antide?”.
During the reflection, one perceives the necessity of having a common foundation for everybody. Starting from the reflection offered by Mgr. Daloz, one manages to set up a draft of a Founding Text recalling who are the Friends, what are their beliefs and which are their aims and objectives.
At this stage, all the representatives of the existing groups are invited to offer their personal contribution in view of drawing up a founding text for the Movement of JAF.
Later, a coordinating team, elected from the participants of the International meeting, evaluates the attained contributions and elaborates the into one single text, edited in Rome at the General House of the Sisters of Charity dated 17th February 2008.
The Founding Text is henceforth the common text for the Friends throughout the world. It needs to be read, deepened and lived.
THE FOUNDING TEXT
“I need you to accomplish great things”
(Manuscript of Sr. Rosalie)
We, friends of Jeanne-Antide, form together with the Sisters of Charity, one same spiritual family, to live and to share the charism of Jeanne-Antide, each one according to his/her vocation in the Church for the service of the society.
As baptised persons, in order to be faithful to the Gospel, we orientate our life towards Christ, whom we want to serve in the poor, “his suffering members”.
We want to engage ourselves to live in sobriety, in solidarity and with fraternal love.
We want to be attentive to the poor, in the various cultural contexts of the current society, acting according to our possibilities.
We want that the dignity of all human beings is acknowledged, so that the development of our world won’t take place to the detriment of most vulnerable.
We learn from Jeanne-Antide to rely on God Alone to find in Him the courage to love and to witness.
Therefore, we reserve in our life an important place to pray and to deepen the charism.
We choose the most adequate means for our human and spiritual formation.
We want to help each other to live this call, at an international dimension, while respecting the freedom on everyone’s journey.
We want to involve young people in our journey, while giving attention to their creativity.
Let’s welcome the message of Jeanne-Antide: may it help us to remain faithful and open to the Holy Spirit.
Rome, 17th February 2008