How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me?
God “never tires of giving and his mercies cannot be exhausted; let us ourselves not tire of receiving them.” 
Year after year, we see the action of God in our very small Religious Family. The Father full of goodness, who is concerned about the birds and the flowers of the field and who does not abandon those who with so great a trust surrender themselves to Him, invites us to live with greater confidence and to receive his graces “with full hands.”
It would not be possible to enumerate all the goods that God has granted to our Institute because his mercy is not exhausted and his gifts are multiplied in each one of our religious and in the missions entrusted to us. I mention only a few so that together we can thank God and recognize that He is the giver of all good and that to Him alone is the honor and the glory.
The gift of vocations to the consecrated life
One of the great graces that God continues to grant us are the vocations. With immense gratitude we note that our Institute today has 119 novices, 102 sisters who professed first vows and 43 Servidoras who professed final vows throughout this year.
With great joy, we celebrated the anniversaries of some of our houses of formation: the Juniorate “Santa Catalina de Siena” (Argentina) celebrated its 30th Anniversary of foundation; the Novitiate “María de Jesús Nazareno” (Brazil) celebrated its Silver Wedding; the International Juniorate “Santa Teresa de Jesús” (Italy) and the Juniorate “Immaculate Heart of Mary” (USA) celebrated its 20th Anniversary; the Novitiates “Santa Thais” (Egypt) and “Nuestra Señora de Loreto” (Italy), and the Aspirancies “Santa Ana Wang” (Ecuador), “Santa Cristina” (Egypt) and “Beata Tarsykia Matskiv” (Ukraine) also celebrated 20 years.
It is an act of justice to thank God and to recognize that the vocations come from Him and that He sustains them, since by our own human strength we could not remain in the religious life nor give another a vocation.
“Vocations for us will always be a grace of God, unmerited on our behalf, since he grants grace to whom he wills and has mercy on whom he will have mercy…“I will show mercy to whom I will…So it depends not upon a person’s will or exertion, but upon God, who shows mercy (Rom 9:15-16)”.
Recognizing the origin of vocations will always be a way of thanking the One who sends them to us. For this reason, it seems appropriate to bring some texts from our own right that help us to remember that the vocation to the consecrated life has its cause in God, a reality that sometimes seems to be little understood in our days.
First of all, we must remember that “only God and God alone calls: whom he wants, how he wants, when he wants, where he wants, with the means he wants and for what he wants. It is He who chooses, with eternal election, without any merit on our part, before we were born, indeed, before the creation of the world. Jesus Christ explicitly taught this truth: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit …” (Jn. 15:16) and when he chooses the twelve: He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him…” (Mc. 3,13). A call that remains despite our numerous sins, “the gifts and the vocation of God are irrevocable” (cfr. Rom 11:29), “If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2, 13). As it happened during the earthly life of our Lord, so it continues to happen during His glorious life throughout the arc of the centuries from the Ascension to His Second Coming.”.
Therefore, “since vocations are the exclusive and marvelous work of God, there is no one on the face of the earth who can imitate, mimic or invent them. No man can give a vocation to another, not even a priest, a bishop or the Pope himself. There is no psychological or group technique, no retreat or spiritual exercise, no preacher, no matter how eloquent he may be, no brainwashing, nor the greatest temporal promises, that can make a young man or woman decide to do something so supernatural as to follow the vocational call, which exceeds the strength of all human nature, without the existence of the divine call. No one can falsify by simulating, for a long time, a non-existent call from God. No one can make the one who does not have a call from God to acquire it by human work.”.
And “God gives us everything -existence, his Son, grace, eternal life… but the honor is solely for Him: … my glory I give to no other … (Is. 42:8; 48:11), thus the chosen people sang: Not to us Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory…” (Ps 115:1).
It would be enough to look at ourselves to know that it must be so. Is there anyone who believes that he was born without original sin? Perhaps those who have never committed a mortal sin, do they not know that it is by the pure mercy of God? Those who have fallen, what do you have that you have not received? (1 Cor 4:7). O what our Lord says: without me you can do nothing (Jn 15:5). Do we consciously contradict the teaching of the apostle humbly regard others as more important than yourselves (Phil 2:3) considering ourselves superior to others? But it is precisely there wherein our strength lies: that power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9)”. “For all these reasons, it is understood why we do not consider ourselves nor the first ones, nor the last ones, nor the only ones, nor the best ones. Those who do not like us, demonstrate with their attacks that they give much more importance to us and their greatest triumph would be that we believe them. Perhaps they want what occurred to Theudas to happen to us: claiming to be someone important…about four hundred men joined him,…all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. (Acts 5:36)” .
“In short, we are hardly a drop of water in the ocean; but without us the ocean would have a drop less of water as Mother Teresa of Calcutta said. If we exist as a Religious Family it is purely out of the mercy of God that willed it so. And if it were not from God, we would be the first to not will it. Finally, the great secret of the vocational blossoming is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only one who has words of eternal life (Jn. 6:68)”.
On our part, let us do our best to be faithful to the vocation to which we have been called, following closely the Virgin Mary, who said to the servants at the wedding feast of Cana: “Do whatever He tells you … and let us heed what He tells us: Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers into His harvest: Let us continue to pray and ask for an increase in vocations. In this regard, the Adorations of the Blessed Sacrament that have taken place in both our apostolic and contemplative communities, the support and promotion of the 40 hours and other initiatives of prayer for vocations are of great value.
Along with the undeserved gift of vocations, we are grateful for the new and diverse missions entrusted to our Institute. The breadth and variety of our apostolates is in conformity with our specific end of evangelizing the culture, for as our proper law indicates “everything that concerns man in his body and soul, in his individual and social life, can and must be purified and elevated by the grace of Christ and, consequently, we can affirm that every form of apostolic activity is in conformity with our specific end, albeit in a hierarchical way”. In each of our missions, without excluding any of them, we must work according to the charism proper to our Institute to “prolong the incarnation in every man, in the whole man and in all the manifestations of man, in imbuing all human activity with the Gospel”.
In the variety of foundations this year, we have five new contemplative communities, the first mission in Scotland, the foundation in Macao (China) and the first community of the Institute that will work in a Melkite rite parish. To have been able to found in the midst of the current difficulties shows us, once again, that God’s providence continues to be at work in the history of our little Institute. In chronological order, the new foundations are:
- Comunidad “Santa Eustelle”, in La Rochelle, Francia, for parroquial apostolate. It is the third community of our Institute in France.
- Community “Nuestra Señora del Rosario”, dedicated to the care of the elderly and the staff of the Provincial Geriatric Hospital in the city of Rosario, province of Santa Fe, Argentina.
- Contemplative Community “Sor Lucía de Fátima”, in the Archdiocese of Évora, Portugal. Its particular intention is to pray for Christians persecuted for their faith and for every Christian to have the spirit of a martyr.
- Contemplative Community “Santa Mariana de Jesús”, in the Archdiocese of Guayaquil, Ecuador. This monastery is intended to console and repair the sorrows of the Sacred Heart and to pray for the rulers and the conversion of the Ecuadorian people.
- Community “San José”, in the Diocese of Petrolina, in Pernambuco, Brazil. This Community carries out its apostolate in the diocesan school “Don Bosco”, collaborates in the Diocesan Curia and in various parish apostolates.
- Community “Siervos de Dios Karol y Emilia Wojtyla”, in San Rafael, Argentina. It is part of the City of Charity of the religious family and is dedicated to assisting the parents of religious.
- Community “Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso”, in the Archdiocese of Quito, Ecuador, for the liturgy, sacristy and pastoral care of the Primate Cathedral of Quito, in the historic center of that city.
- Contemplative Community “Inmaculada Concepción”, in the city of Alhama de Granada, Spain. The intention of this monastery is to make reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Contemplative Community “San Juan Pablo II”, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Its intention is to pray especially for the evangelizing mission of the Church, so that all the peoples of Asia may come to know Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world, and thus taste the joy of life in its fullness. With this foundation we fulfill with great joy part of the vow we made to Our Lady of Lujan on May 8, 2018.
- Community “Nuestra Señora de Fátima”, in Macao, China. This city has a particular significance in the mission in the Far East because it was the place where the first Jesuit missionaries were prepared for their apostolic work, among them Fathers Miguel Ruggeri and Mateo Ricci. The main apostolate of this Community, whose co-patrons are St. Francis Xavier and St. Catherine of Siena, is carried out in the pastoral care of the Diocesan College “St. Joseph” and in the Cathedral of the “Nativity of Our Lady”.
- Community “Virgen de la Victoria”, Montalto di Castro, Diocese of Civitavecchia-Tarquinia. It carries out its apostolate in the parishes “Santa Maria Assunta” and “Gesù Eucaristico” attended by the priests of the IVE.
- Community “San Juan Bautista”, in Amman, Jordan, for the apostolate in the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” Parish and in an elementary school.
- Contemplative Community “Santa Juana de Arco”, in the Diocese of La Rochelle-Saintes, city of Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde, France. Its intention is to implore from God the grace that the Virgin Mary may reign in all hearts: Rege O Maria!
- Community “San Juan Pablo II”, in the city of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA. This Community is made up of Ukrainian sisters who carry out their apostolate in the Byzantine rite parish of the Assumption and in the school belonging to the parish, which is part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
- Community “Santa Margarita de Escocia”, in Lochgelly, Scotland, Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. It will carry out its apostolate in parishes under the care of the IVE priests.
- Community “Santa María Magdalena”, in Maghar, in Galilee (Israel). They will collaborate in the Melkite rite parish of “St. George”.
- Community “Nuestra Señora de Iverskaia”, in Samara (a city in the southwest of Russia, on the banks of the Volga River) for the apostolate in the parish “Sacred Heart of Jesus”.
Anniversary of the First Home of Mercy
This year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the first communities dedicated to the works of mercy: the first Home for the care of disabled persons “Nuestra Señora de la Divina Providencia”, the Community “San José Moscati” (also founded in 1991 in San Rafael, Argentina) for the apostolate with the sick and personnel of the Schestakow Hospital and the Community “Santa Teresa Jornet e Ibars”, dedicated to the apostolate in the nursing home of Alvear.
As a memento of this anniversary, we have printed a magazine with information and photos of the communities dedicated to these apostolates. Of the current 230 communities of our Institute, 49 are dedicated to the works of mercy.
The experience of these years has shown us that the evangelical efficacy of the witness of works of charity is indisputable. There are few things that draw people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ more than seeing this concrete charity with the poorest of the poor. Charity is indispensable for the evangelization of culture and for this reason this type of work constitutes one of the non-negotiable elements included in our charism. To neglect the care of the poor and the sick would be detrimental to the life of faith and the evangelizing work of our Institute, for it would mean losing sight of the fact that it is Jesus who is served in the needy.
To help us remember these truths, in these houses we usually have the inscription “Behold, it is I!”, which are the words that St. John of Avila, Doctor of the Church, placed on the lips of Jesus Christ pointing to a poor man. We also usually find in these communities a crucifix with the inscription: ” This is how to love” and next to it, the figures of Saints Peter and Paul. This helps us to remember that if the Princes of the Apostles themselves were poor, how could we refuse to help anyone who comes to us in need? And to help them as if it were Christ himself who visits us, for “charity done to any brother, in any way, is done to God himself”.
In order to continue improving these apostolates, meetings on the works of mercy were held in the provinces. The principles that motivate us to these works and the way in which we want to carry them out were recalled. At the same time we have seen, with hindsight since the founding of the first houses of charity, how Providence has never ceased to work in them.
Anniversary of the Contemplative Branch
Also thirty years ago – when our Institute was celebrating its third anniversary of foundation – our first Monastery was opened. It was placed under the patronage of St. Teresa of the Andes, who left in her writings the profound and beautiful phrase “God is infinite joy” and who by the example of her life taught that charity towards God and neighbor has as its fruit a deep and sincere joy.
How can we thank God enough for having wanted to enrich our Institute with the contemplative branch? How can we thank our contemplative sisters for their manifest charity, for being a source of joy, for being at the forefront of our Institute with their prayers, “showing to all the primacy of the love of God and the value of the mortifying virtues of silence, penance, obedience, sacrifice and oblative love”?
Also on the occasion of this anniversary a magazine has been printed presenting the mission of our contemplative life. As of today we have 326 sisters of our Institute living in 28 monasteries.
Let us continue to pray for an increase in contemplative religious vocations, “who are witnesses of the transcendent”, who “contribute with their prayers to the missionary work of the Church”. who “contribute with their prayers to the missionary work of the Church”, who “contemplate and live the mystery of the Incarnate Word in the fullest expression of his annihilation”. May they contemplate and live the mystery of the Incarnate Word in the highest expression of his annihilation which is the cross.
The Protection of the Virgen Mary and of the Saints
Today we hear it said often that we live in “the time of the woman”, and we can think that it really is, that it is the time of THE WOMAN, the Virgin Mary. In his book Fundamentals of Marian Life, Father Hupperts says, looking to the future: “We are heading towards times in which heroism will simply be required to be faithful. It is the time of the Woman! She will put into action the masterpiece of her love, of her humility, of her incomparable holiness and strength, realized by her in the souls of her children, of her servants, of her apostles (…) To take part in the triumph of Woman, it is evident that it is necessary to be intimately united to her”.
In order to implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Triumphant in all the battles of God , numerous pilgrimages to Marian Shrines or Churches continued to be made throughout the year. At the same time, we have joined the novena of years to honor the Patroness of our Institute in preparation for the fourth centenary of the “miracle of the carts” on the Luján River, where the Queen of La Plata willed to stay.
We have no doubt that Our Lady’s Heart listens to the supplications of those who consecrate themselves to her in bondage of love. In the above-mentioned book, Father Hupperts brings a thought of St. Leonard of Port Maurice, which we transcribe here: “All the spiritual and temporal goods that you possess come from the blessed hands and merciful bosom of Mary. As for me, when I consider the graces I have received from the Blessed Virgin, do you know to what I compare myself? Allow me to proclaim it here for the glory of my august Sovereign: I justly compare myself to one of those sanctuaries in which one or another miraculous image of the Virgin is venerated, and whose walls are covered with ex-votos that always bear the following inscription, or something similar: For a favor obtained from Our Lady. I seem to see these words engraved in every part of my being. The spiritual strength that animates me, the divine ministry that I exercise, the holy habit that I wear: Favor of Our Lady! Read on, read on: from my head to my feet, in my body and in my soul, everywhere I am covered with this inscription: Favor of Our Lady! Blessed be forever my generous Protectress! And you, dear brothers, can you not give me the same testimony? Look at yourselves: all that you have, all that you are, you owe to Mary, who showers you with benefits to facilitate your salvation. Therefore, thank her, thank such a noble benefactress, and sing with me the mercies of Mary. »”.
To our gratitude for Our Lady’s protection we join our gratitude to the intercession of St. Joseph – in the year dedicated to him by the Holy Father Francis – and to that of the new saints and blessed proclaimed during this year, such as Blessed Fray Mamerto Esquiú and Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, gifts of the Church for all the faithful of the world.
Gratitude for the consecrated Life
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, we began a year dedicated to its study. At the same time, other circumstances experienced during this time gave us the opportunity to reflect on religious life and on the charism of our Institute, which belongs to the unique religious family of the Incarnate Word. We can never renounce this identity, since we were born as a religious family and we see that we bear much fruit the more united we are. As part of this family we consider not only the present members, but also “all those who once belonged to our Institutes, even those who seek to do us harm, unless they ask to be excluded. Even in this case, our obligation continues to be to pray for them and to do them good. Not because they leave our Institutes do they cease to be our beloved brothers. ”
Together with the gift of consecrated life, we thank God for the small and large crosses that make our religious life fruitful. “Let the cross be for you,” says our proper law, “as it was for Christ, the proof of the greatest love”. Our Constitutions encourage us to “be specialists in the wisdom of the cross, in the love of the cross and in the joy of the cross”, to attain the holy folly of the Cross which consists in living the beatitudes. Indeed, “the cross is the beatitudes in action and in deed. Mount Calvary refers to that of the Beatitudes, and the latter to the former. Cross and beatitudes always go together. The knowledge of the cross illuminates the beatitudes and the joy of the beatitudes enkindles the joy of the cross. Both are heaven on earth”.
In this sense, our Constitutions affirm that “the greatest grace that God can grant to our tiny religious family is persecution. “Long live Jesus Christ who gives us strength to endure all trials for the sake of his love. The works of God have always undergone struggles for the greater splendor of the divine magnificence”, especially that which leads to martyrdom. Always remembering that persecution, in order to be blessed, must necessarily meet two requirements: that we are “reviled for Christ’s sake”, and that “what is said against us is false”, being very careful not to go back to our evils, to entertain ourselves with delicate complacencies in them, to fall into “that Luciferian belief that we are something great”, that we are suffering a lot. Our pride leads us to “consider weeds as beams, stings as wounds, mice as elephants”.
Our concern should be to live our religious life in simple fidelity and love for Jesus Christ. “It is of little or no interest to us to spread to many countries or to have numerous members if we lose the spirit. Only to the Catholic Church, in the person of Peter and his successors, is infallibility and indefectibility promised. We will not lose the spirit as long as we are faithful to Her and the will and intentions of the Founder are observed in everything that constitutes the patrimony of the Institute”.
To conclude, expressing our gratitude for religious life, I would like to quote numbers 214 and 215 of our Constitutions. Our proper law states: “We want to form religious souls who are not “tributaries,” religious who will fully live the Christian and priestly kingship and lordship. Since they have Jesus Christ, may they feel this phrase resounding in their ears: “I am your Father because I am God, I am your firstborn brother because I am man. I am your payment and ransom. Why do you fear debts, if you with penance and confession beg to be absolved of them? I am your reconciliation. Why do you fear wrath? I am the bond of friendship. Why fear the anger of God? I am your defender. Why fear adversaries? I am your friend. Why are you afraid of lacking what I have, if you do not separate from me? My Body and my Blood are yours. Why do you fear hunger? My heart is yours. Why do you fear forgetfulness? My divinity is yours. Why do you fear miseries? And for further assistance, my angels are yours to defend you; my saints are yours to pray for you; my blessed Mother is yours to be your attentive and pious Mother; the earth is yours for you to serve Me on it, the heavens are yours because you will come to them; the devils and hell are yours, because you will humiliate them as slaves in prison; life is yours because with it, you win what lasts forever; good pleasures are yours because you offer them to Me; hardships are yours because for My love and your [own] profit, you suffer them; temptations are yours because they are the merits and cause of your eternal crown; death is yours because it will be your nearest transition to life. And all this you possess in Me and for Me, because I have gained this not for Me alone, neither do I want to enjoy this alone; because when I entered into fellowship with you in the flesh, I assumed it to make you partakers in what I would work on, fast, eat, sweat and weep, [participants] in My pains and in My deaths, if it was not given to you to do. You who have so much wealth are not poor, if you who lead a bad life, do not want to lose it knowingly. ”.
“We religious must be convinced, as St. John of the Cross was, that “mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine, and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me.”240 Our religious must understand and live that vibrant expression of Saint Paul: Everything belongs to you, Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or the present or the future: all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God (1 Cor 3:21-23).” .
We ask the Mother of all the vocations of special consecration to help us to be a good testimony of the religious life, that it can be said of each of our communities as was said of the first Christians: “See how they love one another.” And may our sisters who have departed this year for the Blessedness of Heaven, María Gloria da Igreja, María de la Natividad and María Ana de la Cruz, serve as models of fidelity and perseverance.
I send you all a big hug,
In Christ and Mary,
M. María Corredentora Rodriguez
 Saint Teresa of Jesus, V 19, 15.
 Constitutions SSVM, 63.
 Cf. Why so many vocations?
 FR. Carlos Buela, IVE, Las Servidoras I, III Part, ch. 1, 2.
 Ibidem, ch. 1, 3.
 Cfr. Ibidem, ch. 1, 6.
 Cf. FR. Carlos Buela, IVE, Las Servidoras I, III Parte, ch. 2, 2.
 FR. Carlos Buela, IVE, Ladrones de vocaciones, point no. 6.
 Jn. 2:5.
 Mt. 9:38.
 Cfr. Directory of Evangelization of the culture, 152.
 Directory of Evangelization of the culture 152, Op. Cit. Constitutions, 5, Cfr., Constitutions 26.
 Cf. Official Bulletin 2020-2021, pg 1.
 FR. Carlos Buela, IVE, Las Servidoras II, V Part, 12.
 Cf. Monastic Rule of the Contemplative Branch, 12.
 Cf. Monastic Rule of the Contemplative Branch, 13.
 Monastic Rule of the Contemplative Branch, 1.
 Cf. Monastic Rule of the Contemplative Branch, 6.
 J.M. Hupperts, Fundamento y práctica de la vida mariana, V Part, ch. VIII.
 J.M. Hupperts, Fundamento…, I Part, ch. 1. FR. Hupperts clarifies that this phrase is from Pope Pius XII.
 Ibidem, op.cit. Sermo XVIII de Beata Maria Virgine.
 Constitutions, 3.
 Constitutions, 177.
 Directory of consecrated life, 195.
 Constitutions, 42.
 FR. Carlos Buela, IVE, Las Servidoras I, I Part, ch. 2, 3. 10-e.
 Directory of Spirituality, 37.
 Constitutions, 35.
 Constitutions, 214.
 Constitutions, 215.