On 29th July 2019, we Superiors and members of the Councils of Africa met together, to accomplish one of the activities contemplated by the last IMC General Chapters This gathering/workshop focused on Leadership and Authority But Why in a continental level have a meeting on the service of authority? In our modern times, it is a fact that many societies are experiencing a crisis on authority/leadership. This is true also to some of the religious congregations, including ours. In fact in these last years, as institute, we have identified it as one of the challenges hindering our missionary life and work. The loss of the sense of authority is manifested in a good number of missionaries. This leads sometimes to the crisis of leadership
It is worth noting that in its last three General Chapters (XIGC of the year 2005, XIIGC of the year 2011 and XIIIGC of the year 2017), the institute has continuously pointed to that. In a special way it has come out strongly in the XIII General Chapter of 2017 n. 99
Coming to Sagana, Kenya, we met, as well, our 15 young brothers led by Frs. James Githinji and Joachim Kamau, participants in the continental renewal course; it was a joy to see so many members of Consolata Family at Bethany House, on the day of St. Martha, the evangelic icon of the ministerial church.
Fr. Godfrey Msumange, General Counsellor for Africa, was the main animator of the event assisted by the superiors of the circumscriptions, being the course organized by the Continental Council of Africa.
The twenty-nine missionaries were together for one week sharing experiences with the help of some facilitators. The first facilitator was Dr. Aloys Ojore, who analyzed the leadership in the traditional and modern Africa. Although in the last decades in the continent we face many challenges and the greedy of the governors does not help a harmonious development, many values and characteristics of a healthy leadership we find in Africa also in today time. The second facilitators, Fr. Maurice Owinyo presented Leadership in Biblical perspective, focus on Moses and Jesus. Having trust and fidelity to the plan of God, as Jesus did, we have some characteristics of leadership that produces service, humility, unity and justice. Then, leadership in Consecrated Life: with focus on the document “Faciem Tuam, Domine, Requiram” was presented by Fr. Nyaite. The document was issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, in May 2008. Among other elements he encouraged us to rediscover the three religious vows as values in our experience. So, to see the personal and community experience in the plan of God, only in this way may we be witnesses of Christ to the world. Seeing our continue formation and transformation thanks to the experience with God, we rediscover our leadership as continue formation itself.
Fr. Ottone Cantore (IMC) concluded the first part of the course with the presentation of leadership in our Blessed Founder Joseph Allamano. He was father and formator of missionaries and he is model for his missionaries: open to the Spirit, the Founder encourages us to do everything well with responsibility.
On the 1st august 2019, we had as a break of the course an outing/pilgrimage to some of our IMC places, specifically: to Gikondi, at the Shrine of Sr. Irene Stefani, Nyaatha; to Tuthu, first mission of Consolata Missionaries and Nyeri/Mathari IMC Propaedeutic and IMC new cemetery.
The second part of the course saw us trying to find Conflict Resolutions in our Multicultural Religious Communities with the help of Sr. Eneles Chembali. Then, Father General Stefano Camerlengo introduced to us The Directory of the General Government and Circumscriptions, with many examples of life of our missionaries and there was an encouragement to improve the health and mission of our Institute in all its dimensions. In very familiar way we proceeded also with interventions of Fr. Godfrey Msumange and the presentation of Code of Conduct of the IMC, by Fr. Albert Kathare IMC. Our IMC Constitutions are values for us, but they have to be presented through the witness of our life to the today society, considering the Law of each country and internationally. It is our personal and community responsibility to achieve this degree of witnessing in the society. Sometimes we cause wounds to some individuals and the society, the process of healing is long and eventually we pay the consequences of our wrong doing.
Before leaving Sagana, we visited St. Mary’s Village, for poor and aged women and we met and prayed together with the twenty pre-novices.
The course concluded in Sagana will be a powerfully instrument to exercise authority in our circumscriptions. We needed it! And for sure, the formation offered will help to revitalise our religious and missionary life in our communities as disciple-servants of Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and model of life. The circumscriptions will in turn offer such a moment in the level of communities.