Elena Lasida invites SNJM to “decolonize their imagination”

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Elena Lasida’s remarks, during her presentation to the 35th General Chapter of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM), resonated with her audience on July 19, judging by the comments made afterwards.

The guest speaker presented her vision of the world in relation to the theme and orientations of the 35th General Chapter. After defining the concept of “Kairos” time as an opportune moment, she emphasized that there is a choice to be made, either to cling to the past or to invent the future. She then addressed the theme of “The Call of our Lives” by highlighting two ways of living: by continuity and by renewal.

Finally, she had the “genius”, as one participant put it, to build bridges between the four rules of Pope Francis and the four orientations of the Chapter.

Orientations of the 35th Chapter

Rules of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium

Seeking new worldviews, attitudes and ways of being through engagement with young adults, other religious and a diversity of collaborators in mission

·         Reality is greater than ideas


Invitation to decolonize our imagination

Intentionally living out our unity and interdependence with the entire Earth community.

·         Unity is superior to conflict

Invitation to disarm our rivalries

To be a catalyst in creating new forms of community and partnerships to foster a more just and ecological way of life.

·         The whole is greater than the part

An invitation to open up our private spheres

To open ourselves to personal and community transformation, leading us to be a dynamic and prophetic influence in religious life and in the world today.

·         Time is superior to space

Invitation to “unmaster” the future.


Recalling the history of the Congregation, particularly in associating education with artistic and musical creation, Elena Lasida emphasized that the Congregation was well placed to use its long experience to help us rethink living together on our common home.


She spoke of:

  • “To make room for beauty in a world ordered by utility and efficiency”…
  • “Making room for the unexpected by developing one’s capacity to welcome in a world obsessed with prediction, anticipation and security”…
  • “Making room for letting go in a world marked by mastery and control” by explaining that “letting go” does not mean giving up and resigning, but rather surrendering and letting yourself be transported.

She concluded on an optimistic note by saying “through this world that is disappearing, you have the sensitivity to detect the seeds of the new life that calls.”

Elena Lasida is a professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris (ICP), a doctor in economic and social sciences, and director of the master’s degree “Solidarity Economy and Market Logic” at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of the ICP. She has written several books including “Le Goût de l’autre : La Crise, une chance pour réinventer le lien“, she speaks regularly at conferences and participates as a researcher on social utility evaluation processes.