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The Religious Life and the New Evangelization

Interview With Sister Alda Malvessi, Superior General of the Scalabrini Missionaries

By Jose Antonio Varela Vidal

ROME, APRIL 4, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Sister Alda Monica Malvessi, who has headed the Saint Charles Borromeo-Scalabrini Missionaries since 2007, says religious have a key role to play in the new evangelization.

ZENIT spoke with the superior about her perceptions.

–ZENIT: In your opinion, what is the role of religious life in the New Evangelization?

–Sister Malvessi: The objective of evangelization, as that of the New Evangelization, is the proclamation of the Gospel and the transmission of the faith. The Gospel understood as a person: Jesus Christ, the definitive Word of God who became man. Christians are invited to establish a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus in the Church, and He leads them to the Father through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the role of religious life in the New Evangelization cannot be other than full participation, as walls of the Church, in this mission: either through witness or through the work of evangelization, which can consist in the proclamation itself and in works of charity.

–ZENIT: As Superior General of the Scalabrini missionaries, what do you ask of your Sisters in this regard?

–Sister Malvessi: In virtue of religious consecration, we carry out our work of evangelization as participants in the mission of the Church among migrants, who are the first recipients of our apostolic action. For this reason, I ask each Sister to be faithful to this mission, assumed in her religious profession.

–ZENIT: What is the present development of your Congregation?

–Sister Malvessi: The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo “Scalabrinianas,” is present on four continents, with 135 communities, where half of them work in different missions, carrying out their apostolate in many ways and among migrants of different categories. For several years we have been re-structuring our missionary presence to remain faithful to our charism, to adapt ourselves to the number of active members and to the decrease of new vocations. There are 14 active communities in Europe.

–ZENIT: And how can the migrants respond to the New Evangelization?

–Sister Malvessi: The document being prepared for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops, which, in fact, will address the New Evangelization for the transmission of the faith, states in number 13: “It is opportune to consider the new need  that stems from human movements and the migratory phenomenon, which opens new perspectives of evangelization, because immigrants not only need to be evangelized but they themselves can be agents of evangelization.” That is why I believe that migrants must be considered in these two possibilities, and they will respond positively to the New Evangelization.

–ZENIT: What is the state of the processes of canonization of Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and of Mother Asunta Marchetti?

–Sister Malvessi: As regards the cause of Blessed Scalabrini, the diffusion of his life and work continues, furnishing information to the public through publications and the incentive to devotion to the Blessed, in order to obtain graces and miracles through him. In this stage of the process, a miracle is a necessary condition for his canonization. As regards Venerable Mother  and co-founder Asunta  Marchetti, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI recognized her heroic virtues on December 19 of last year, and now an alleged miracle is being examined in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. We also have the Servant of God, Father Jose Marchetti, also a co-founder, hoping that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will declare the validity of the Positio. His life and work are being make known in different ways.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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