John XXIII’s opening paragraph really applies to any baptised Christian, and so does much of this extract. John concludes by reminding us that women were there from the beginning of the Church, and perhaps he challenges us all to act as one in what he calls a fusion of souls.
No soul consecrated to the Lord is dispensed from the sublime duty of continuing the saving mission of the Divine Redeemer.
The Church expects much from those who live in the silence of the cloister, and especially from there. They, like Moses, have their arms raised in prayer, conscious that in this prayerful attitude one obtains victory.
So important is the contribution of women religious of the contemplative life to the apostolate that Pius XI wished to have as co-patron of the missions—and a rival therefore of St. Francis Xavier—not a Sister of the active life, but a Carmelite, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus.
May the Church militant feel that you are present wherever your spiritual contribution is needed for the good of souls, as well as for real human progress and human peace.
May those who are dedicated to the active life … strive in obedience to study and obtain the degrees which will allow you to surmount every difficulty. Thus, in addition to your merited and proven capability, you may be better appreciated also for your spirit of dedication, patience and sacrifice.
There is, moreover, the presage of further demands in the new countries which have entered the community of free nations. Without lessening one’s love for his own country, the world has become more than ever before a common fatherland. Many Sisters have already felt this call. The field is immense.
Not even the Sisters dedicated to contemplation are exempt from this duty. The people in certain regions of Africa and the Far East feel a greater attraction to contemplative life, which is more congenial to the development of their civilization.
The consecrated souls in the new secular institutes should know also that their work is appreciated and that they are encouraged to contribute toward making the Gospel penetrate every facet of the modern world.
May the spirit of Pentecost prevail over your chosen families and may it unite them in that fusion of souls which was seen in the cenacle where, together with the Mother of God and the Apostles, several pious women were to be found (Acts 1:14).
We thank God for the families we have been given, but also for our friends who are sisters, especially the Littlehampton Sisters, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, who were all part of the community at the Franciscan International Study Centre.