Over 260 Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi from the territories of the United States, Monterrey and Mexico gathered together from December 29 to January 3 in Monterrey to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It was a joy-filled time to reflect on the past with gratitude, share about the present and look to the future with hope.
Gloria Rodríguez, general director of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, welcomed everyone with a conference about the theme of the Jubilee: “I will put my spirit in you and you will live” (Ez 36:27). She encouraged the Consecrated Women to reflect back over these past 50 years and continue discovering the presence of God, knowing with certainty that He is the author of salvation history and thus, their own history. She reflected also on the sense of reconciliation that this Jubilee has highlighted, “It is also a chance to remember those who are no longer with us but who have suffered for and with the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi. We thank them. As we listen to God’s Word and trust in his promise: ‘I will put my spirit in you and you will live,’ we know that we, with his grace, will truly be renewed in the Spirit.”
That same day, Mons. Rogelio Cabrera López, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Monterrey and President of the Bishops Conference of Mexico, delivered the keynote speech and celebrated Mass, inviting the Consecrated Women to look back at these 50 years with gratitude – especially for the harder, but fruitful, times of purification. He encouraged them to live the present moment full of enthusiasm and joy, allowing God to surprise and lead them into the future.
On the second day they had two panel discussions with Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi from different territories, ages and nationalities. The participants on the first panel explored the key elements of the history of consecrated life in Regnum Christi from its origins and their current understanding and experience of core founding values. The second panel was dedicated to the mission, delving deeper into how the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi see their role in evangelization at the service of the Church.
In the afternoon there were several workshops on different topics related to evangelization. The objective was to share best practices, exchange experiences, challenges and create collaborative networks among the Consecrated Women. The themes included: ministry with married and divorced couples, education, youth work, gender ideology, prayer and vocational accompaniment.
On the third day they had time to pray. It was a moment to recognize the hand of God in the history of each consecrated woman and the Society of Apostolic Life and to thank, worship, intercede for and ask forgiveness. The day concluded with an “international rosary” which was prayed in different languages followed by a song in Spanish, English, German, French, Portuguese, Tagalog and Hungarian.
The following two days was a time to just be together and get to know better those from different territories and enjoy each other’s company.
On the last day they celebrated Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Monterrey. Legionaries of Christ, Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, lay members of Regnum Christi, family and friends attended, with Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C., superior general of the Legionaries of Christ, presiding. In his homily he reflected on consecrated life and encouraged the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi to live both a receptive consecration, understood as a gift from God, and an active consecration which implies a personal surrender and gift of self to God and others. The day ended with a ceremony honoring each Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, with a special mention for the first three Consecrated Women who made their vows 50 years ago. This was followed by a celebratory Mexican fiesta, featuring traditional Mexican dance groups and Mariachis.
The whole event was a special time of gratitude, praise, thanksgiving, reconciliation, formation and recreation. A few Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi share their experiences:
“I give thanks to God for this blessed time to come together with so many of my consecrated sisters in Christ. The Holy Spirit has been present, infusing hope and a great desire for fidelity. Realism has also been present as we look back at the history of our institution. It infuses a desire for a spirit of reparation for past sins, as well as gratitude for my sisters’ surrender to God and the mission entrusted to them. I see so many dedicated women who desire to love God and serve others to the fullest of their capacities. This is something to praise God for!”
Jennifer Ristine is from the United States and is currently serving in Washington DC. She has been consecrated for 22 years.
“I take away from this meeting gratitude, amazement and great joy to see so many sisters, so many Consecrated Women, gathered in one place striving to give glory to God. I think that the most beautiful times for me have been the moments of prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, seeing each one praying like we do every day of our lives. I think that this gathering has been for me, a moment of renewal and deep gratitude to God for each one of us here and for the gift of our call and vocation.”
Mariana Estévez, is Mexican and serving in the Monterrey territory.
“What I take away from this get-together is the joy of resonating again with the mission for Christ and that our happiness lies in our fidelity to our consecrated life.” Valerie McGovern, is from Ireland currently serving in the Mexico territory and has been consecrated for 40 years.
“This time has meant a time of recalling the passion that unites us, renewing the beauty of our vocation and charism that we are called to and, above all, thanking God for the perseverance, fidelity and grace that has sustained us through these difficult years. I feel so much gratitude for all those who have been part of my story. It was a time of reconnecting again with friends – talking, laughing, recalling memories. It rekindles my heart to continue being who I am called to be, remembering that it is precisely these past years that have made me who I am.”
Angela Restrepo, is from Colombia, currently working in the Mexico territory and has been consecrated for 17 years.