Recently, the German-based “Communio in Christo” community held an international conference for various priests, religious women and seminarians at the Sant'Anselmo Benedictine University in Rome. The theme of the conference was, “Consecrated life and mystical life according to Pope Francis and Mother Marie Therese.” It was also part of Communio in Christo’s ongoing contact and outreach programme.
Several seminarians, priests and religious women, especially from Asia and Africa, attended the conference. An official of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelisation, Fr. Geno Sylva gave the keynote address on, “Consecrated life and New Evangelisation.”
In order to learn more about Mother Marie Therese and Communio in Christo, Vatican Radio’s Fr. Paul Samasumo, spoke to Sr. Lidwina, a key member of the order.
Mutter Marie Therese
We asked Sr. Lidwina, who or what is Communio in Christo?
According to Sr. Lidwina, “Communio in Christo” regards itself as the religious order of the Second Vatican Council. It points out a path for all in a loving communal life “for-one-another” and “with-one-another” of priests, sisters, religious and laity. It was founded on 8 December 1984 by Mother Marie Therese who was born, Josephina Theresia Linssen in Oud-Valkenburg, The Netherlands. Mutter Marie Therese, as she is popularly known, was born on 21 March 1927 and died on 11 April 1994 in Mechernich, Germany.
The Mother house of Communio in Christo is in Mechernich, a town in the south of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located 55 km from Cologne.
Love of neighbour, living in God
The motto of the order is: “Caritas est vivere in Deo – love of neighbour means living in God.” The aim of Communio in Christo is the striving for the unity of the Church through the implementation of the Second Vatican Council’s resolutions. It is grounded in the fundamental idea of the Second Vatican Council with its spirituality of the practically-lived unity of love of God and love of neighbour in the People of God, being on the march through history in the imitation of Jesus Christ and in accordance with His word and example.
This message is meant not only to be reflected on but moreover to be concretely lived every day anew. Therefore, Mother Marie Therese also founded a number of social institutions among other things for the care of aged and dying persons and those in need of extensive nursing care:
The residents of the long-term nursing facility are patients suffering from serious diseases – some of them infectious or neurological – such as MRSA, AIDS, ALS, MS, Chorea-Huntington, as well as apoplectic or handicapped persons or patients suffering from skull/brain trauma, all of them in need of the most extensive nursing care and some of them requiring artificial respiration.
At Hospice “Stella Maris” dying patients are accompanied and cared for; at “House Effata” the aged and persons in need of nursing care are lovingly looked after. Mother Marie Therese regarded these services realistically: “We are aware of the fact that we cannot help wherever there is need and hardship. But we can point the way,” She said. This pointing the way in the German language is ‘Zeichen setzen.’
Working within existing Church structures
In accordance with the intention of the foundress, Mother Marie Therese – led by the Spirit of God – “Communio in Christo” regards it as its mission to do its utmost for the worldwide implementation of the Second Vatican Council’s decrees through the practically-lived love, i.e. within the existing structures of the Church and in collaboration with the local bishops, priests, religious and laity.
Worldwide contact and outreach
There are intensive contacts with Communio in Christo friends in Poland, Belo-Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Austria, Italy, England, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Canada, India, and Papua-New Guinea. This exchange is supported through the regularly published Circular Letters in German, English, and Polish as well as mutual visits and a lively correspondence.
(Source: Sr. Lidwina, Germany: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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