John Paul II in ‘Vita Consecrata’ writes, ” ‘In Spiritu’: consecrated by the Holy Spirit. A bright cloud overshadowed them. (Mt 17:5) A significant interpretation sees this cloud as an image of the Holy Spirit. Like the whole of Christian life, the call of the consecrated life is closely linked to the working of the Holy Spirit. In every age, the Spirit enables new men and women to recognize the appeal of such a demanding choice, Through his power, they relive, in such a way, the experience of the Prophet Jeremiah: ‘You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced.’ (Jer 20:7) It is the Spirit who awakens the desire to respond fully; it is he who guides the growth of this desire, helping it to mature into a positive response and sustaining it as it is faithfully translated into action; it is he who shapes and molds the hearts of those who are called, configuring them to make his mission their own. By allowing themselves to be guided by he Spirit on an endless journey of purification, they become. day after day, conformed to Christ…With penetrating insights, the Fathers of the Church have called this spiritual path philokalia, or love of divine beauty, which is the reflection of the divine goodness. Those who by the power of the Holy Spirit are led progressively into full configuration to Christ reflect in themselves a ray of the unapproachable light…The same Spirit, far from removing from the life of humanity those whom the Father has called, puts them at the service of their brothers and sisters in accordance with their particular state of life, and inspires them to undertake special tasks in response to the needs of the Church and the world, by means of the charisms proper to the various institutes. hence many different forms of the consecrated life have arisen, whereby the Church is ‘adorned by the various gifts of her children…like a bride made beautiful for her spouse (Rev 21:2) and is enriched by the means necessary of carrying out her mission in the world.”(19)
Antonio Romano in his book, ‘The Charism of the Founders’ writes, “Analyzing the birth of a religious institute, Girardi isolates three fundamental moments when the Spirit intervenes: the first phase, which looks at the moment of the Spirit’s life giving impulse. This corresponds to the original inspiration and is rooted in the action of God. The second phase, that moment when the Spirit works through history or on the person of the founder. The Third phase, which considers the witness of the Church, acting through the hierarchy to guarantee the authenticity of the divine impulse and God’s historical intervention….The action of the Spirit never directly touches the people who make make up the community but passes through the founder. In this way the founder is like a root through which there rises the sap of the Spirit…The charism of the founder is not a private gift belonging only to the one to whom it is given. Rather he sees it as given with a community clearly in view, either because a new community is to arise, or because the charism for the common good and so has the capacity more people into a single family…So by the expression the charism of the founder…the original inspiration of the Spirit which was given through the mediation of the founder, and in that mediation lies the initiative of God focussing on a new community. The person of the founder who began the institute is the one, unchanging element…always present in the dynamic historical incarnation of the charism. If the charism is to be understood in depth, then the members of the institute must periodically return to the founder seeking understanding. They must study how the founder accepted, described and lived this gift project of the Spirit, taking due account of the cultural, ecclesial and social context in which he or she lived.”
The grace of an entire religious family is given to the founder. You can never separate St Francis from the Franciscans, or St Ignatius of Loyola from the Jesuits. That is why men and women with a Franciscan heart will always find themselves reading the life and writing of St Francis, and praying before the actual cross where Jesus told Francis to rebuild my Church. In the same way, Jesuits the world over will always be coming back to Rome to pray before the body of St Ignatius.
God choices certain men and woman for certain task in the Church. Jesus choose St Faustina to spread the divine mercy message. Jesus calls her, ‘The secretary of the divine mercy message.’
Let us end with these words of St Francis
“And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I had to do, but the Most High himself revealed to me that I should live according to the pattern of the Holy Gospel. And I have written down simply and in a few words and the Lord Pope confirmed it for me.”