The United States Conference of Secular Institutes (USCSI) held their annual national meeting September 13-15, 2019, at the Marytown Retreat Center in Libertyville, Illinois.

The theme of this year’s gathering was “Heart Speaks to Heart.” Both in our relationships with Christ and with one another, it is so important truly to encounter the person from one’s innermost being.

The keynote speaker for the weekend was Father Marcel Caron, ISPX, Director General of the Pius X Secular Institute, President of the Canadian Conference of Secular Institutes and a member of the Executive Board of the World Conference of Secular Institutes (CMIS). Presently, Father Marcel resides in Québec, Canada.

On Saturday Father Caron spoke about the theme, “Heart Speaks to Heart”. In the afternoon Father shared about the life of the Canadian Conference of Secular Institutes and the mission of the World Conference.

At the business meeting Sunday morning Father George Hazler, Voluntas Dei Institute, was re-elected as vice-president and Claudette Cyr, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was re-elected as the Councilor. Due to the resignation of the treasurer, Evelyn Loyola, Deacon Paul Lang, Voluntas Dei, was appointed acting treasurer.

The United States Conference of Secular Institutes (USCSI) was established in 1976. Its membership is open to all canonically erected secular institutes with members living in the United States. The conference was organized to offer secular institutes an opportunity to exchange experiences, to do research in order to help the Church carry out its mission, and to search for ways and means to make known the existence of secular institutes in the U.S.

Dear Visitor,

Welcome! Have you ever had moments in prayer which give you the sense that God is leading you, asking you to reach higher, times when you felt you can offer more? Ours is “a life that is focused on the Beatitudes, that contradicts human logic to express unconditional trust in God, who wants human beings to be happy,” as Pope Benedict XVI wrote.

“At the heart of the world with the heart of God “– this is how Pope Francis describes members of secular institutes. We are lay persons or clergy who live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the world and for the world. While all people are called to holiness, we members of secular institutes make this our main profession as the Lord becomes the focus of our daily lives. We witness to Catholic Christian values by our way of life and love. We commit ourselves to a specific spirituality and life style together with other members of our institutes through a sacred bond accepted by the Church.

The exterior circumstances of our lives vary – some live alone or with their family, others live in a common house with other institute members. Some are known as belonging to consecrated life and others are anonymous. But always, imbued by the Holy Spirit we attempt to bring Christ into the midst of the world in order to lift the world into the heart of the Father.

Consecration, secularity, and mission are the words that define our call: Belonging to God and reaching out to our neighbors, for the sake of sanctifying the world. St John Paul II wrote, “The Church also needs you to give completeness to her mission. Be seeds of holiness scattered by the handful in the furrows of history.”

Marcia Vinje

President of USCSI

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