United States Conference of Secular institutes

2019 Fall Mountaineer

Secular Institutes

From the President:
Dear Friends,
As the leaves turn golden and ruby and
the winds become brisk and filled with the aroma
of fall (at least here in Nebraska), my thoughts
turn to some of my favorite feasts, that of All
Saints and All Souls. These are the day when the
Church remembers and celebrates the unsung
heroes of holiness throughout the millennia.
Above all, I like to celebrate those saints “with a
small s” that I knew personally: my Lutheran
grandfather Ole, Terese from my institute who
literally brought people into the Church through
her conversations over homemade bread, an
auxiliary bishop so humble and caring.
In Gaudete et Exsultate Pope Francis reminds us
that saints are not perfect:
“To recognize the word that the Lord
wishes to speak to us through one of his
saints, we do not need to get caught up in
details, for there we might also encounter
mistakes and failures. Not everything a
saint says is completely faithful to the
Gospel; not everything he or she does is
authentic or perfect. What we need to
contemplate is the totality of their life,
their entire journey of growth in holiness,
the reflection of Jesus Christ that
emerges when we grasp their overall
meaning as a person.” (22)
Isn’t that hopeful? It encourages us to
believe that even we can – and should – become
saints who will one day be celebrated on
November 1. After all, that is our mission as
consecrated persons, to reflect the life of Christ,
to radiate his love, to serve as he served. Our
circumstances are different, but God has
determined an original way for each of us to
climb the mountain of sanctity.
Many of you will remember the days
when we made numerous trips in and out of
church, and back in again, to pray for the
deceased on All Souls Day. Now the Church has
given us an octave to gain indulgences for them
(November 1-8), just by visiting a cemetery and
praying for them. I make it a point to alter my
drive home to pass by a cemetery, pulling over to
pray. In a special way we want to pray for all the
deceased members of secular institutes,
remembering that we build on their shoulders.
And that said, I want to let you know that
in the past two months I have received inquiries
from three different people who are interested in
founding new institutes. Perhaps it is the Holy
Spirit blowing those fall leaves around.
Wishing you a blessed time of harvest
and thanksgiving,
Marcia Vinje, President

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