Leadership within religious life is primarily at the service of Mission.  It aims to find pathways which align and engage members and other persons, structures and material support, policies and processes, to the central purpose of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

In the person of Jesus, God is here, present in our midst, walking with us, loving us with a human heart.  Inspired by that love the founder, Jules Chevalier, and all Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, place an important emphasis on the incarnational nature of God’s life and activity among us.  We too are called to follow the way of Jesus in his seeking to know and do the will of his heavenly father, his compassion for the “little one’s”, his integrity and truth-seeking in the realities of life.  Our leadership is charged with promoting this way, living it as missionary witness, and continually reminding us all of why we have desired to share in this common life of mission together.  All this flows from our living of a Spirituality of the Heart, central to our lives as M.S.C..

It is said, “a healthy church is a missionary church”.  Leadership within the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart is underpinned by the principles and practices of; generative listening in Christ, accompaniment of members and others in their lived realities, communal discernment, accountability and transparency, co-responsibility, and subsidiarity.  

Of course, the Mission is not separate from the members, but is embodied in them and through their ministry.  Our Constitutions speak of “Brotherhood in Mission”, so, the vision of leadership is not one of walking in front of the Society, province, community, member, waving the flag, but rather, to discern, discover and encourage from within and among, to help all see the directions we are moving in. This highlights an aspect which is all too often forgotten – the leadership of the members.  Experience informs us that the mission is best promoted when our people have the freedom to choose their involvement in it, with a clear understanding of that involvement serving the whole, rather than being self-referential.  We seek to be co-creators of the realities we work in, ushering forth a new world modelled on the heart of Christ.

Just days before the conclave that elected him as Pope, Cardinal Bergoglio told the gathered Cardinals, “Evangelizing presupposes a desire in the church to come out of herself. The church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries.”  

M.S.C. leadership calls us to come out of ourselves. Coming out of ourselves is why we are M.S.C.. This is the ecstatic nature of religious vocation, to go out beyond ourselves, as did Jesus, following him. Jesus is at the door of our hearts, knocking, not so he can get out, but so that we will come and join him.  

Fr. Abzalón Alvarado Tovar – Superior General of the MSC

As leaders within the Society we are frequently called to the peripheries. We know the experience and how challenging it can be. Jules Chevalier recognised the egocentrism and religious indifference of his time; the mal moderne. In our time a new paradigm of leadership emerges that challenges that mal moderne.  The General Leadership Team began to engage with this when it took office and this has sharpened the focus of accompaniment of leaders and members across the Society. 

In the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, the international Leadership Team, composed of the Superior General and his four Assistants and other members of the General Administration, collaborate with the leadership and members of Provinces, Unions, Sections, Regions, and regional groupings.  We keep our eyes fixed on the “One who first Loved us” (Pope Francis to MSC Chapter 2017) and with the guidance that this gives we work as brothers together in the mission of the heart of Christ.