An Interview with Sister Tiziana Merletti





                                            Sr. Tiziana Merletti, sfp

                                                       25 Years

                                   Entrance Date: August 9, 1984

                                   First Profession:  May 18, 1986, Pentecost

                                   Perpetual Vows: April 28, 1991


What in your experience makes religious life as a Franciscan Sister of the Poor worth living?

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of my first profession has been a great opportunity for me to look back and be grateful for the gift of the call to be an SFP. Religious life has given me the opportunity to experience the breadth and depth God’s love through the small things I encounter in my daily life and the brothers and sisters I am connected with in every moment.
Since the beginning of my journey, I have been attracted by these words in the Gospel of St. John (12:32): “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everything to myself.” It gives me meaning and a sense of direction in what I am doing and who I want to be: an instrument of healing within the community of life, as Jesus the Risen One continues to reveal to us.
Being a member of our SFP community gives me the grace to walk on this journey with humility in my struggles and trials and with gratitude for God’s mysterious attraction. I know we cannot solve the problems of all poor and suffering humanity, as I dreamed in my youth, but I believe in the power of a small seed planted together in God’s name.

How do you see the gift of our healing charism being needed today in our world?

I know that we are living in a very difficult time of transition, but I believe that our charism is as crucial as ever. The challenge I see is more internal. As Mother Frances would say: the fire of the love for God and neighbor was burning within me…  The question is how can we keep this fire burning within ourselves and among us? I have been asking myself what we need to change, to let go of, and to let into our lives as SFPs. We want to be real, inclusive, and close to the people and their problems. But at the same time we face disillusionment, sadness, discouragement, and a sense of loss.
I believe that this daily conflict can be hazardous for us: we can serve our egos seeking great successes, stay passively in the background, complain with anger and bitterness toward the injustice of institutions… In spite of the diversity of challenges we face, I am so grateful to see women around me so devoted and faithful to Mother Frances’ vision and mission; it reassures me that our presence is truly needed and will continue in the future.  

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor? For religious life?

My hope for the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor is that we will increasingly become ministers of anointing, as a sign of God’s healing presence. Our call is to embrace the wounds of poor and suffering humanity, and I believe that we can do this through meaningful, respectful, and profound relationships such that we are able to bless and anoint our brothers and sisters whenever we can and are welcomed to do so.
My hope for religious life is that we will find new and more meaningful ways to share our treasure within the larger ecclesial community.  Numbers in religious life are necessarily decreasing, but the power of our legacy is not.

Sr. Tiziana Merletti, SFP

published: december 2011

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