Dear members of the Family of Murialdo:
After the completion of the III International Educational Seminar FdM: “In the footsteps of Murialdo … educators for the new Millennium”, held in Turin, Italy, from 21 to April 25, 2016, we want to continue our training on this fundamental aspect of our charism deepening gradually the ten final synthesis points emerged from this event.
To start, we will send you the text of the conclusions (many of you surely have already received and surely you have already pondered over it). Then, we will begin to send you fortnight an in-depth reflection on each of these points, also adding some suggested questions for dialogue or activity to share with educators and motivators of your respective works.
Hopefully, we hope, it will be a truly enriching contribution to our ongoing formation, between lay and religious people inside FdM and a useful aid to compare, illuminate and enhance our educational and pastoral practice according to the charism of Murialdo.
on behalf of
International Pastoral Commission
1. The charism is a living memorial open to the future. By keeping the memory alive, we open ourselves to the great educational challenges of today. At the same time, living the challenges, we feel the dynamism and the prophetic power of the charism. The themes proposed by Pope Francis (the suburbs, the culture of the encounter, the mercy, the Church in the suburbs …) they make us feel in tune and make us feel the relevance of the charism and the possibilities they open us to. Then we feel that the charism is first of all a matter of style and animation processes; more than to define it, is a gift to go along with.
2. We are called to renewal of attitudes and mentalities. Places and training tools need to be rethought with these insights. The cure of the processes, the dialogue, the sharing of good practices, the attention to the dynamics of communication and co-responsibility help us to change.
3. The issue of education is more and more a matter of relational context. We must not think the boys, their families and their territory, we educators isolated, but we have to think about it together in the educational context. We educate and change ourselves together. We are called to educate and to form ourselves in a logic of alliances (including educators, family, school and church community …), feeling ourselves into the social and cultural context, accustoming us to position ourselves in relationships and in a climate of mutual trust. All this takes into account the fact that the affective (the heart) is always more the pin of education , without taking anything away the attention from the integrality of the person.
4. The educational experience involves us deeply in our personal journey. Everything starts from personal experience, from letting ourselves be educated, from feeling loved by God. We are spiritually and emotionally involved. It is also very important to reconcile ourselves with our difficulties and our failures. These must also get more impact in the sharing between educators and training experiences. God loves us even though poor and sinners in this Murialdo’s spiritual experience has an extraordinary relevance.
5. The fragility can be a strength and a fruitful stage. Inside the fragility of youth many potentials are hidden. The culture of competitiveness and individualism emphasizes the fact that we have to do it alone and have to conform to the social and cultural standards. Sometimes the same ecclesial education is a victim of this logic. It must, however, spell out an anthropology of fragility and interpersonal ties.
6. Let ourselves be inspired by Jesus educator and the pedagogy of God. The Gospel is a source of inspiration for us educators and it nourishes our educational spirituality. By praying and realizing the Word we capture and become a sign of the educative action of Jesus. In the Gospel also, the special contribution of the educational practice of Jesus is above all a question of style.
7. The call of Murialdo: “Ne perdantur”, opens us up to all the boys and poor youths and makes us live their point of view. The Pope encourages us to know how to live in the suburbs, to learn to see things and solve problems from the perspective of the suburbs. Thus we distance ourselves from the left over- scrap culture and we too work for the culture of inclusion and encounter.
8. The document: Educating in the style of the Good Shepherd – Guidelines for the Josephan Ministry constitutes an excellent tool for keeping alive the educational Murialdine sensitivity, to build communion and co-responsibility, and to interpret today’s educational social and cultural problems. They can be approached and studied, in moments and training programs, from different optics: spiritual, charismatic, ecclesial, anthropological, etc.
9. Wherever we are present, we should know how to seize the new educational emergencies, for instance: in certain contexts, the immigrants and refugees Emergency. The Institute should not shut us down but must be open to the territory and to the new demands. New experiences and new attempts can lead to transforming the institute and to value the structures differently. This openness implies the willingness to measure ourselves with the great cultural themes of today: multiculturalism, the digital world and the network, the contradictions of world economic processes, the challenges of the environment and care of the earth …
10. Mercy is at the heart of our charism and it can give inspiration and perspective to our education. It is not only the heart of our spiritual experience but can be the key of a privileged interpretation of our educational activity. A need for mercy is in the heart of every young person and also in each one of us. It is the expectance of approval and free love, to receive trust, forgiveness and encouragement and support in growth. To intercept this expectation (and recognize it in us) helps us to give a positive tone to our educational action and opens us to God’s personal, free, current and merciful love.