This month illustrates the almost infinite variations in the organizational relationships one congregation can have with others. The uniqueness of congregations makes a difference in their history, ministries or plans for the future — whether helpful or complicated. The questions for the panelists were:
How unique is your congregation? Is it the only one like it in the world, or do you share a charism or a founder with another group of sisters? Has it made a difference, and do you have a special way of collaborating with them?
Joeyanna D'Souza is a member of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul in India. She has worked with Pauline Press in editing and has authored six books. Presently, she is marketing manager of Pauline Publications & Communications, India.
My religious community, the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul, and the Society of St. Paul, carry out a new form of evangelization that lives and witnesses to the faith through communications across all forms of media.
We are unique in the ways we follow the advice of our founder, Blessed James Alberione, as he described the mission of St. Paul. He would use the greatest "pulpits" fashioned by modern progress — the press, cinema, radio, television — the greatest discoveries to transmit the doctrine of love and salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Working with other religious institutions in the field of communications has been an experience of sharing and, to some extent, competition. Healthy competition! There is always a lurking desire to do better than they, and though we are all working in the vineyard of the Lord, there is the human weakness of wanting to excel and win the hearts of people in the field.
Other groups that share our charism of bringing the Gospel by means of communication are the Salesians and, more recently, the Jesuits, who have begun to establish communication centers. (Previously, they concentrated on youth centers, educational institutions and grassroots-level works.)
Sharing resources has been the best advantage of collaborating with other communities as well as networking at meetings and seminars on related topics.