Leadership as a service of love following the example of Jesus the servant
“FOR THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY.” (Mk 10:45)
“Governance in our Congregation is a ministry of love inspired by the example of Jesus Christ, who came not to be served but to serve.”
Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd, imitating Jesus who being God humbled himself and became the servant, is a model of leadership for our Nazareth’s communities. Mother exercised her ministry of leadership as a sister among sisters. She showed herself as a person who serves selflessly and was fully involved in community life. Mother listened to the sisters in order to get to know their needs. Disregarding personal comfort, she shared the burden of others. She led them on the right path, constantly pointing to the Holy Family as a model of doing God’s will. She was conscious that the superior is just a tool in God’s hands, while the one who truly guides is God. “The Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd Himself, leads and guides all the sisters, as well as all souls. The superiors are to assist the Lord Jesus in this action as He indicates in the given circumstances. The superior is a mother, a guardian of the sisters, and as such should care and watch over the sisters as they follow the Lord Jesus.”
Christ, the One who came to serve, is at the center of our Nazareth community: “I am among you as the one who serves” (Lk 22:27). He is also the One in whom we believe: “I know the one in whom I have believed” (2Tim1:12), and the One we obey. Leadership in our congregation means service for the community. Jesus Himself calls us to such an attitude. He said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant” (Mt 20:25-26). St. Paul expresses how we should respond to the leadership of others: “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves” (1Thes 5:12-13).
“As spiritual leaders, our superiors seek to inspire and challenge us to be faithful to the Gospel values we profess, to live as sisters in Christ, and to incarnate the love of God in service to God’s people.” The role of the superior is to help the sisters in the fulfillment of their vocation according to the charism of Nazareth.” “Authority has as its main task building in unity the brothers and sisters of “a fraternal community”, in which God is sought and loved above all.” Superiors assume the role on three levels: the common good, the good of others and the good of the Congregation – Nazareth. The most important tasks of the superior are fostering the spiritual life, nurturing the community life, developing apostolic activity, and coordinating the mission in the spirit of Nazareth’s charism. The superiors strive to fulfill their mission in a spirit of trust and truth, and above all in the spirit of charity. They guard the unity and fraternity in the communities, trying to strike a balance between different aspects of life: prayer and work, apostolate and formation, duty and rest. We are aware that we all create the fraternal communion in Christ. The effort of the superior is not sufficient. Much depends on the maturity and holiness of each one of us.
Way of Love, Ratio Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth