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Religious want "to burn themselves to inspire others for Jesus"
"Religious in cloister almost always live in lockdown, but are automatically connected to the people through their prayer": The Salzburg Benedictine Sr. Miriam Eisl has this special access to the current pandemic in an interview with the media office of the Austrian Order Conference on the occasion of the " Consecrated Day "outlines. The day, which was celebrated worldwide in 1997, has to take place this year due to the corona without the traditional celebrations in the Austrian dioceses. However, it is very well committed in the individual communities, explained the nun of Stift Nonnberg.
The community has a special meaning for monks and nuns, explained Sr. Eisl. Actually, the members of their class are "lonely people, but still not hermits", because you pray and exchange ideas together. The love of one's neighbor and also of God becomes effective and visible in the community, for which one as a religious person dedicates a lot. In order to know that she is connected to people outside her own monastery walls and to the whole church as a "prayer community", she recalled "concrete images" as a reminder, reported the nun.
The "Day of Consecrated Life" is an initiative started by John Paul II, which, according to Sr. Eisl, focuses more on being "consecrated to God" and invites you to pray for spiritual vocations as well as to remember your own baptism. It is based on the same day church festival "Presentation of the Lord" (or "Mary Candlemas"), during which Jesus was brought to the temple by his mother and consecrated to God. The renewal of her devotion and consecration to God - her profession - she performs "actually every day at Holy Mass", said the Salzburg nun; on February 2nd this is of course particularly solemn.
As a symbol for the task and meaning of religious life, the Benedictine saint described a personal experience: On a "Consecrated Day" in previous years, after the evening celebration in Salzburg Cathedral, she and her convent sisters went home with burning candles through the city center and attended by young people been addressed: "Are you real?" so the question coined for the carnival season, whereupon the sisters declared, "that we want to be light bearers and want to carry the light onto the street". To burn for Jesus is important for religious, emphasized Sr. Eisl. "You have to burn yourself to get others excited about Jesus and to be able to be light for the people out there, so that they don't lose their hope."
As the Conference of the Order also announced, due to the current lockdown, most of the planned celebrations for the Day of Consecrated Life are canceled throughout Austria. Partly with replacement: For example, in the diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt, the chairman of the Carinthian Order Conference, Fr. Marian Kollmann, will send a YouTube video message. In Eisenstadt, the date was postponed to April 25th, when there should be a pontifical vespers at 3 p.m. with subsequent honoring of all jubilees among the Burgenland religious. In the diocese of Linz, Sr. Michaela Pfeiffer-Vogl from the Sisters of Mary of Carmel announced that the day would be celebrated in one's own community and, if possible, re-celebrated during the year.
In Vienna, the diocesan Vespers in St. Stephen's Cathedral on the Day of Consecrated Life takes place on Sunday (January 31) at 3 p.m., but only on a small scale. The service, presided over by Father Gerwin Komma, the episcopal vicar responsible for the religious of the Archdiocese of Vienna, will be broadcast on Radio Klassik Stephansdom and on the YouTube channel of the Archdiocese of Vienna (live stream at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4PWXemVmyE)
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