What does “charism” mean for a religious congregation?

Why a religious congregation?

Charism refers to the distinct spirit that animates a religious community and gives it a particular character and identity, living in the founder and transmitted to the members, and over time. It is understood to be shared by those in relationship with a congregation. A congregation does not own its charism; the charism is entrusted to the congregation and is meant to be shared. The SNJMs are always mindful of the deep meaning of this spiritual heritage, and desire to entrust it to future generations.

This charism evolves throughout the history of the congregation while remaining faithful to the original inspiration. It must adapt and create newness in accordance with the spirit and needs of the times.

Here is the official charism statement of the SNJM charism as presented in the SNJM Constitutions book:

In fidelity to the spirit of our Foundress

We are a community of women religious consecrated to God

In the Names of Jesus and Mary,

Who desire to proclaim by our lives

The primacy of the love of God.

Moved by an active love, we collaborate in the

Church’s mission of education, with emphasis on education in the faith,

And with a special concern

For the poor and disadvantaged.

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