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25 years

 

srgiannagiovannangeliSr. Gianna GiovannangeliFive years ago, when I presented in Chapter, I told the Sisters that I love life and that there is a circle of life which I follow wherever it goes. Even after 25 years as a member of our religious family, I feel myself evolving and changing. And certainly I cannot make a proper summary of my experience as a religious since it is still far from over. It will likely continue to evolve and change many times! I have done all with passion -- from ministry to formation, to leadership.

Perhaps the words that best express my experiences are: transformation, evolution, new life. The symbol with which I most closely identify has always been the butterfly, but I’m not sure it still is… I identify with this phrase from Pope Francis: “The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of people, to walk in the night with them, to know how to communicate and even to descend into their night in their dark without getting lost.”

I have walked a little in the night, not only in my religious life, but most particularly with my mother in her profound illness. I have also learned to walk with women who have suffered and are suffering – some of them suffering violence; others the midnight of the soul. I have walked with many people and on many, many nights … and they helped me learn how to truly dialogue with those facing heavy burdens of physical, psychological and spiritual trauma – without getting lost in their darkness. All this has taught me that if one side of the door through which I must walk is a dark color, even black -- on the other side of the same door I also found the beauty of many colors.

This has given me the courage to walk on through the dark, with hope in my heart. Thus I can, in good conscience, do as Pope Francis commands -- to ‘warm the hearts of people, to walk in the night with them.’ This is the precious gift I have earned over the last 25 years .

I know God will bring me more challenges, more things to learn, in the next 25! You know, I am thinking that ‘my symbol’ for the next 25 years will be the kaleidoscope – a mandala of shadows and colors.

 

Sr. Gianna Giovannangeli, SFP

Published: December 9, 2013