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Risking Hope

Justine Nalygga, IHMR explores the nature of hope specifically for women religious. This can be a call for all women to explore their prophetic gift to the church.

We know “hope is a gift of communion,” it is a gift from one’s encounter with community.


Gustavo Gutiérrez says “Hope is a gift, a grace, and when we receive a gift, it is not for us; it is for our neighbour.”  God promises a “future with hope” if we seek with all our heart (Jr 29:11-13). Abraham believed against hope, to the end and he became a father of many nations (Rom 4:18,22)


Religious women as mothers of the Church are women of vision: prophets of hope. This is a Risk, hoping against hope for a better future. So many people outside our convents have lost hope, we are the signs and instruments of joyful hope to those people for where there are religious there is Joy as Pope Francis says in Letter to Consecrated People. Joyful hope therefore is crucial in our journey of consecrated life.


What prompts the risk of Hope today then? In our present world, we are faced with moments of darkness, confusion, disappointments, pessimism and other forms of challenges that block the ability for the Spirit to flow freely through us and into the world. Each one of us has a share of the Holy Spirit, and we need to allow the Spirit to permeate and communicate through us and unto the world. Despite all worldly calamities, we need to risk hope!


  • A joyful hope presupposes faith, charity, courage, patience and perseverance for a better future.

  • The Hope may not alter one’s present situation, but it will expand the capacity to respond constructively, creatively, and courageously, opening up to the creativity and horizons of the Holy Spirit for a better future.

  • To look to the future is to be led by the Holy Spirit; possessing yet not possessing (2 Cor 6:10; 1Cor 7: 29-31). Those led by the Spirit are sons of God and authentic human persons (Rom. 8:14).


Sisters are called to prophetic witness and to be future prophets who see beyond with a vision of the ultimate. We are to take all risks to leap into the dark and the surprises of the present world, to accept the unknown and the uncertain future and that is casting into the deep waters trusting in only one, the Omnipotent!


Religious today have to be aware that risking hope involves painful experiences and sufferings and on the other hand it enjoys its newness and the unfolding discoveries of life that enriches our fraternal loving and communion.  The process of risking Hope involves two important elements: renewing communion in diversity and reincarnating the charisms of the founders following the breath of the Holy Spirit adapting to the signs of the times while keeping intact the particular religious patrimony.


It is another greater future risk that different institutes be ready to closely work together in projects of development and religious-spiritual growth where values inherent to religious life can commonly be shared and enriched by the giftedness and creativity of members. This will strengthen the sense of mutual collaboration and interdependence,  interconnectivity, interculturality, intercongregational developments to a global-religious collaboration.


Today unlike before the gift of consecration as religious women calls us to risk and go beyond our capacities having “the sense of being for others” availability to the one in need, be a voice of voiceless; the world today needs “a listening ear” and this does not change the charism of any institute rather enriches it.



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