A Mass was celebrated yesterday in Grottaferrata, by General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), Fr José Carballo, for the opening of the 22nd General Chapter of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM). Agenzia Fides reports that the theme for the Chapter is: 'Franciscan women called to live the kenosis of Christ in creative fidelity and solidarity with the suffering World.' The working document, which is a result of the evaluations and reflections gathered from all the FMM, focuses on a deepened knowledge of the Charisma and the response to the new situations in the world today, which are present in the locations of the various communities of the Institute. One important moment during the Chapter will be the election of a Superior General and Council Members. This event will take place at the end of September, beginning of October. The Chapter, which will be attended by 116 sisters of 44 nationalities, from the 50 provinces of the Institute and in representation of the close to 7,000 sisters of 81 nationalities present in 77 countries, will conclude October 31. The Institute of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, a religious congregation of pontifical right, was founded by Blessed Mary of the Passion (Hélène de Chapotin de Neuville, (1839-1904) in India, in 1877. It was the first female religious institute founded specifically for the missions, with the Eucharist as the center and with the entire world as their field of labor. The religious community seeks to live in simplicity, like Mary and Francis, and seek to evangelize primarily in those areas of the world where Christ is least known and the Church is least present, especially among the most poor and marginalized in society. On December 31, 2007, the FMM numbered 7,074. They are present on all the continents (1,052 in Africa, 854 in America, 3,128 in Asia, 72 in Australia, 1,968 in Europe), in 816 houses in 76 countries (156 communities in 23 countries in Africa, 125 communities in 14 countries in America, 345 communities in 18 countries in Asia, 17 in Australia, and 173 in 20 countries in Europe). Their activity varies according to the circumstances, place, and needs of society and the local Church. As the mission of the institute is to serve the universal mission, the FMM can be found in large convents or small rural communities or in the broken-down neighborhoods of the inner city, working in schools, health facilities, social services, and pastoral care. Today they stand out for their presence among immigrants, refugees, and victims of various forms of violence. Source: Fides
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