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13 July 2019

Interview with father Saverio Cannistrà on his nomination as a member of the congregation for the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life

Dear Father Saverio: We are delighted with the recent news of your nomination to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. What does this mean for you? Did it come as a surprise?

 It was a great surprise. I learned about it through a message to the Procurator General.

Could you give us some idea of the details of your role as a member of the Congregation?

To be truthful, I do not know exactly what specific roles are assigned to members of the Congregation. We are not speaking of the work of Consulters who are experts summoned to deal with certain specific matters. I do know that every Congregation has ordinary and plenary sessions in which the members of the Dicastery participatate.

 It is always an honour to be called by the Pope to take on a special responsibility in the service of the Church. What do you think your contribution to Consecrated Life can be as Father General of the Discalced Carmelites?

I am so grateful to the Holy Father for his trust, not only in me personally, but particularly in regard to the Teresian Carmel. Concerning the contribution I may be able to offer, I think a lot will depend on the particular themes that are under consideration at the meetings of the Congregation. Obviously, I would be more competent and experienced in dealing with some matters than others.   It should certainly prove to be a personal experience of enrichment and of a more intense involvement in the life of the Church.

 We feel sure that your experience in the service of our Discalced Carmelite Nuns will be invaluable in your new role. What do you think? In your opinion, what are the challenges and problems of contemplative life today?

This theme of the contemplative life, effectively, is probably where I feel I have the most specific contribution to offer. At the present moment, with the publication of the Apostolic Constitution “Vultum Dei quaerere” and the       

 Instruction “Cor orans”, contemplative life, particularly its feminine branch, is called to a renewal that involves so many questions. I believe that the most important challenge is that of greater maturity and a change of mentality. Every community, while respecting its juridical autonomy, is asked to become an active member of a more enlarged body, of an extended sisterhood. It will be possible to unify strengths and find suitable solutions to today’s problems from within such an amplified organization.

 Thank you, Father Saverio. We are praying for your new mission and wish you every blessing.