International Conference Charism and Creativity


Catalogues, management and innovation regarding the cultural heritage of institutes of consecrated life

From the Vatican, 7 December 2020

To the General Moderators

of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Council for Culture, in collaboration with the Pontifical Gregorian University's Faculty of History and Cultural Heritage of the Church's Department for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, and the Italian Episcopal Conference's National Office for Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage and Worship Buildings, are organising an international conference Charism and Creativity. Cataloguing, Managing and Innovative Projects for the Cultural Heritage of Communities of Consecrated Life, to be held in Rome, 30 September and 1 October 2021.

The organisers are convinced that the cultural heritage of communities of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life - buildings and furnishings, artistic and cultural goods, archives and libraries - is a field of great interest, still little studied and, for this reason, more fragile and exposed to risks. The first objective of the conference will therefore be to promote its knowledge both from a theoretical point of view, trying to identify historical, ecclesial, canonical and semiotic peculiarities, and from a material point of view, through cataloguing. The second objective is to bring out concrete proposals and experiences regarding the valorisation of these goods according to their primary aims - religious, pastoral, cultural - and with regard to their reuse, compatible with their nature, in the case of disused goods.

For this reason we are launching an international Call for Papers. This is a tool that will allow us to collect and present at the same conference the most up-to-date scientific research and the most interesting best practices in the field of cataloguing, managing, valorising and reusing the heritage in question.2

In fact, the Call for Papers is addressed to university professors and researchers, professionals, associations and foundations that deal with these assets in various ways, but above all to the communities of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, male and female. While university research centres are expected to make proposals on a theoretical level, the latter are invited to make concrete contributions of best practices and experiences already underway, which can be shared with those still looking for solutions. In fact, we know that some Religious Orders and Congregations are in the vanguard in this field and we therefore take the liberty of asking that the experiences of some be put at the service of all.

The Call for Papers and other useful materials can be downloaded from the conference website: Registration will be possible from spring 2021.

In the margins of the conference, we thought it appropriate to highlight what institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life are already doing for the protection and enhancement of their cultural heritage. For this reason we have drawn up the "Questionnaire" which we can be compiled at this link, an online form that closes on 31 January 2021. No institute should feel excluded from compiling it, not even those of more recent foundation, because all of them have at least one archive or are sometimes owners of historical property. We look forward to reading the responses which will allow us to have a summary overview of the context in which we are moving.

We would like to thank you from the outset for your willingness to make the conference a success, and in the hope that the subject will meet with your interest, we are particularly pleased to offer you our most distinguished greetings.

João Card. Braz de Aviz (Prefect)

Gianfranco Card. Ravasi (President)

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