What is restructuring?

A general look at the reality of the world and above all at our missionary awareness has led us to the task that is expressed by an apparently dry word, restructuring. However – and most importantly – this word holds some important spiritual consequences.

As the Congregation has understood this word in the last few years, restructuring means putting our present structures (General Government, Provinces, Vice-Provinces, Chapters, Regions, Formation, etc.) at service of our mission. This allows us to understand that restructuring is not a goathel in itself, but a means, an attempt to respond better to the urgent needs of the mission. It concerns, first of all, an evaluation of our structures; then – if it is necessary – to question and re-think them. This requires an exercise of creative fidelity, what in recent years the Magisterium has frequently asked from religious women and men.

Restructure, re-think: there is a risk here to reduce this great task to a mental operation, a strategy or simply reorganization. When we speak about restructuring, we are in fact thinking about something more profound, motivated by some concrete needs that the Congregation faces today.

First of all, we are dealing here with a spiritual conversion, “a change” that is a gift from God. Sometimes there is a lack of an authentic missionary joy in our work and in our communities. This can be a sign of fragile theology and weak spiritual motivations. Frequently this lifestyle expresses an implicit resignation, a prelude to letting oneself die. At times we fall into a trap of individualism that leads each to look for “his own” solutions. We have to return to our faith in the Spirit who makes all things and persons reborn, who makes life blossom again where our eyes do not see it, who opens a way in a desert and creates rivers in a wasteland (Is. 43,19). It is necessary to be born again and it is only the grace of God that can perform such a miracle.

Conversion must put the focus on our mission, leading us to understand that God shows us new urgencies and opens new venues today. It is God who stirs up in us a new freedom, new availability, a courageous imagination and a greater agility in our structures.

We need a mental freedom to liberate ourselves from certain forms of mission, which in the past brought us to a “definition”, hence a limitation, of our identity. As a result, when these forms entered into crisis, the depths of our being were questioned. This was experienced particularly in Regions where parish missions were seen as “the primary expression of our charism”. The need for the Gospel and for bread that the world of today presents calls for a serious revision of our methods and of the content of our proclamation.