Everything to God in a Consecrated Life
Saint John Paul II initiated what would become the instauration of February 2 as the annual World Day for Consecrated Life. The date is symbolic in using the same date as the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple.
In his address launching this World Day, on January 6, 1997, a few months following the publication of his post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the consecrated life, Vita Consecrata, the Polish pope reiterated the reasons for his decision. For him, the purpose of the initiative was threefold: he first saw it as answering the need to thank the Lord “for the great gift of consecrated life”; he went on to affirm that it would “promote a knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire people of God”; and, finally, he saw the day as regarding consecrated persons directly. They were invited to “celebrate together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them.”
This World Day for Consecrated Life is an opportunity for consecrated persons (members of religious orders, members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life, consecrated laity, hermits) to remember their duty to ever more give witness to God’s mercy and love in the world—a world that today is greatly in need of those gifts.
This was exactly what Saint Brother André did so beautifully on February 2, 1874, when he took his perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Holy Cross. February 2nd becomes for us, therefore, an invitation to walk in the footsteps of Saint Brother André.