ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
In welcoming you, the members of the General Chapter of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, I am aware that you represent over six thousand Religious in more than thirty countries. Significant is the number of Delegates from the Provinces of Eastern Europe present at this Chapter and I welcome them with particular gladness. In 1985 I had the joy of beatifying your Foundress, Maria Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, and now I join you in commemorating the centenary of the death of Mother Mary Caroline Friess, whom you consider as the foundress of the American part of your Congregation.
I pray that the spirit of Blessed Maria Theresa will live on in your evangelical witness and ecclesial service. The presentation and fruitfulness of this gift, which God has bestowed on the Church, is entrusted as a responsibility and a task to you, the recently re–elected Superior General and the members of the General Council.
Religious life is an ecclesial reality. It exists in and for the service of the Church, the body of Christ, a living organism in which each part has a specific role, but only in so far as it is united with the whole and receives its life from the true source, Jesus Christ our Redeemer (1 Cor. 12:20-21). In the economy of grace, the effectiveness of all consecration and mission springs from union with Christ and his Church. I urge you to work for an ever greater communion of mind and heart with the Pastors of the Church, especially with this Apostolic See which is the guarantor of the catholicity of faith and mission.
Upon all the School Sisters of Notre Dame I invoke the loving intercession of
Mary and the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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