.- During his meeting with participants in the plenary assembly of the International Union of Female Superiors General, Pope Benedict XVI exhorted female religious to make their relationship with Christ a priority in their lives.
Speaking to the body that represents 794 families of female religious around the world, the Pope said, "Only from the union with God, does the 'prophetic' role of your mission arise and find nourishment," a mission "that consists in announcing the kingdom of heaven, so indispensable for all times and all societies."
Benedict XVI encouraged the religious not to give in "to the temptation to abandon your intimacy with your celestial Spouse, letting yourselves be excessively drawn by the interests and problems of daily life. The Founders of your institutes managed to become 'prophetic pioneers' in the Church because, ... following Jesus' example, they strove to communicate with concrete words and gestures the love of God through total giving of self, always maintaining their gaze and hearts fixed upon Him."
"May your primary concern be to help your consoeurs to seek ... Christ and to put themselves generously at the service of the Gospel. Do not lose heart and dedicate every possible effort to the human, cultural and spiritual formation of the people entrusted to your care, that they may be capable of responding to modern cultural and social challenges," he added. The Pontiff concluded by exhorting the religious to "cultivate a sincere communion and close collaboration with bishops, who are primarily responsible for evangelization in the particular Churches."